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Why You Should Say Yes To Pain

“A worthwhile purpose outweighs any kind of struggle.”- sundaewrites

 

Nobody is immune to pain.  Everybody has it or had it, at one point in their lives.  So if you are suffering right now, know that you are not alone.

 

Pain is cruel, yes, but pain can also be your friend.  Like any gift, it can come in any form or package. You need to unwrap and accept it and know what is it trying to teach you.

 

From pain:

  • comes strength you never thought you had
  • comes wisdom, you wished you always knew
  • comes courage you wished you clothed yourself with earlier in life
  • comes resilience, with life teaching you how to bend
  • comes pruning, stripping you of weak strongholds and false dependencies.
  • comes the fulfillment of your purpose and realization of things you value the most

 

 

 

Not all pain in the world is worthy to endure. Choose the ones that truly serve your purpose- make you better, make the lives of those around you better. Choose the kind of pain that when you look back years down the line, you could proudly say, “Yes, I did that, I suffered that because I truly loved”.  Choose the kind of pain that consumes all your strength, yet at the end of the day rewards you with so much peace and settles your heart.Whether or not you wake up to another day, your heart is free and content.

 

I have my share of pain. It may not be as much as the rest of the world is currently suffering for, but it is real to me, as much as your pain is real to you.  Don’t deny pain or just go about life like it isn’t there.  Even at the peak of one’s success, it can still be present. Even if you’re surrounded by loved ones, drowning in wealth or blessed with a good health, there’s always a piece of you that knows pain. That’s the price of being human, or should I say, the gift of being one.

 

How can it be a gift, you ask. In my own journey, pain has been and will always be a great teacher. It helps me grow, learn, and discern what’s worth suffering for and gives me the courage too to forge ahead. It reminds me that I’m fully alive and breathing, and that life is real because I can feel it, it’s happening and I, am in it.

 

Of all the things I have or have accomplished, I’m more proud of the ones that required me to sacrifice much.  Pain can be a character builder, you know, and a great teacher.  And character is something that nobody can take away from you.

 

Whatever pain you’re suffering right now, maybe it’s good to ask, “Is it worth it”?

 

When you show up for work, for a cause, an activity, or someone, ask yourself why you do. Is the reason, something you really care about?  Is it something that serves a greater good? Does it make you better as a human being? Does it equip you to bless the world more? Is it worthy of a day in your life? If yes, then go and embrace pain. A worthwhile purpose outweighs any kind of struggle, and embracing that is giving yourself the privilege to live a bigger life.

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Closed Doors

“Life is all about the dance. The colors. The sunny afternoons and cold mornings. The starts and stops”.- sundaewrites

 

 

What are Closed Doors?

For some, it could mean an end of a chapter while for others, an end of a season.

End of a chapter means you’re finally done and you’re supposed to carry on to the next. So the story keeps on unfolding, and it’s altogether new to you. It is possible though that you could have brought along characters from the earlier chapters of your life or maybe lessons from your past.

End of a season means you could just be taking a break or a sabbatical. It’s the journey of hills and valleys. After a while, you come back to the same season, but this time, you know better and you‘ve grown stronger.

In life, we will come face to face with a lot of closed doors:

  • Graduating from College
  • Graduating from Singlehood
  • Graduating from parenting small kids
  • End of a career
  • End of a project
  • End of a relationship
  • Failure of a business
  • Failure of a lifelong dream
  • Failure of a marriage

 

Though some doors are meant to be closed forever, some are just waiting to be reopened for you to come back in and finish what you’ve started.  Every closed door presents an opportunity, to grow, to rest, to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go. It gives us space to think, a chance to reboot, to renew, regenerate and refocus.

So how do we deal with closed doors?

We welcome it. We don’t resist it.

 

 

At some point, we need to stop fighting battles that we are not meant to fight.  We need to stop holding on to things we’re supposed to let go. We need to stop anything that doesn’t serve us or make us better.

What we’d rather do is begin to summon that courage to step into unfamiliar waters or cross that river. We need to feel the ground we’re standing on and focus on the road up ahead instead of looking back. We need to run through the rain instead of wishing it to stop. For life, is all about the dance. The colors. The sunny afternoons and cold mornings. The starts and stops.

Do we need to worry about closed doors?

 

Four years ago, I lost someone. There was no way for that loss to be reversed. So I questioned life, I questioned God. Demanded answers that in my heart, I already knew but refused to accept. So I kept banging on heavens doors for answers to my “Why”.

Then, I got tired. I lurked in darkness until I realized dwelling in that state is not serving me anymore. So my “Why” turned into, “What now”. As I opened my self to receive answers to this question, new things started to unfold.  Things I never thought of focusing my life on. Things that allowed me to re-ignite my desire to live and do it to the full.

Some of us live through two seasons during the year, some four.  Regardless of the number, you have to live through them to understand and appreciate one full year.  If you’re reading a book, at any point you’d know how many chapters there are to go before you reach the end. But if you’re the character in the story, you don’t know that.  So you do the best you could to make the best of what you have, relish it and still give something away.

 

In life, you don’t show up just to get, you show up to give. Trust me, being able to give, is a much better place to be in.

Everybody loves a happy life. But a life story with no struggles, setbacks, detours and closed doors, is not as exciting to hear compared to a life story that has.  Nobody can relate to a life with no pain, and nobody can be proud of a life lived devoid of meaning and purpose.

 

Are you still staring at a closed door? If it belongs to the past, leave it. There are still plenty of new doors waiting to be opened. In God’s universe, there’s an abundance of everything and it’s ours for the taking.

 

 

Question:

Are you looking at a closed door right now? What choice are you making? Comment here.

How To Breeze Through Your Day Weightlessly

Admit it.  If you’re living in the city or working in a fast-paced environment, it’s normal to end the day feeling exhausted.  Yet when you reach home, there are household chores to finish, priorities that need to be invested in like relationships, personal growth, and side hustles. You need to have ounces of energy left to do these things before you hit the sack.

Truth is, in this day and age, when computers and electronic advances were meant to make things easier and faster, people are feeling more overwhelmed.  We get too much information and too many distractions so we get comfortable with getting things done in an instant-  instant messages, instant food, instant report, etc.  While these are all good, we often times overlook the essential, the basics, the natural, the simple and the quiet.

 

I am living in this environment too and through time I have learned the value of slowing down. And by that I mean slowing down:

*the pace–  focusing on what’s important

*the heartbeat– letting go of temper outbursts

*the talk– taking more time to listen and get into real, meaningful conversations

*the automatic defenses– to proact and not react

In the process, I have learned and practiced four maneuvers which allowed me to breeze through the day with ease and with a subdued feeling of being weightless. You can try them and see how it’ll give you more freedom- in mind, body, and soul.

1) Stop Complaining

Being a bystander won’t really accomplish you anything. You are not contributing and often disposed to either being critical or indifferent.  Why not become part of a solution or be a champion of change? What if instead of bashing or blaming, you choose to help or fix things?  We can all be more useful to the world by being more helpful and being more caring.

2) Focus and Let Go

You need to focus on things that you can actually do something about, and let go of those that you cannot control. At every point in our lives, we need not know or figure out all the answers before we act or do something. Else, you’d be stuck and end up seeing opportunities pass you by. Letting go also means you need to take calculated risks. Only the person who risks in life is truly free. (taken from a famous poem).

3) Forgive

It’s okay to fail if you do it “leaning” forward.  Take one step at a time. For each step, even if you fall to the ground, take the lesson with you. Important things are, you grow and you keep growing.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, so you don’t get too hard on other people too. When you are more accepting and forgiving of yourself, you become more accepting and forgiving towards others.

4) Restart

Each day is a new day. Don’t compete with anyone. Just be better than how you were yesterday.  The thing of the past, is actually what it is. Today is another chance, and privilege to write another page in the story of your life.  It’s a blank canvas. You can do anything. But fulfill something that you can really be proud of at the end of the day.

Life is short. We already know this but we keep living our lives as if our days are not numbered. So choose wisely and decide now how you want this journey to unfold. At the end of this race, you want to look back and feel glad about what you have accomplished.  Make sure that what you do today, will someday make you feel proud.

“Dear future self, wherever and whenever, I want you to be pleased and really delighted when you think of me”.

Question:

Are you practicing a habit that helps you go through life with ease and more peace? What are those occasions that these habits helped you? I’d love to hear your story. Comment here.

Where Is Your Road Leading To?

Dreams.

What are they?

Vision.

Picture of the Future.

What you long for.

Your Happy Place.

No matter how you describe it, dreams are powerful. Everybody strives to achieve them. Everybody desires to fulfill them.  Why?  Because we made a decision to pursue a happy life. Painting our life’s canvas with passion, relationships, and stability. But more than just happiness, each person has a burning desire for MEANING. The point of it all.  I call it the 3 Gs.

What we Get.

How we Grow.

What we Give.

It really is a cycle. We take, we nurture what we’re handed, then we put it back to the world.  We name it…. Stewardship- the best of its kind.

These three elements are undeniably intertwined:

Learning– We should enjoy being a  student.  There’s a lot of good things in the world that can nurture our mind, our heart and our spirit.

Experience– This is acting on all good things we already know and have learned. This is where “creating wonderful memories” come in.

Legacy– Help. Give. Contribute. Serve. Make this world a better place for the kids in your own home, in your own town or city, in your own country, wherever they are on this planet called earth. Think of them and make them happy.

I was with a group of beautiful, positive people yesterday and we spent some time working on our Life Plan, our personal Dream Board.

A stimulating discussion came up about wanting to talk about or not talk about our personal dreams.  Well, I’ve been in both states of desire. I’ve crossed over from not wanting to share to wanting to share.  Each of us would have to weigh the pros and cons of each choice. Then from there, we decide.

I made a list of helpful pieces.

Why you would not want to talk about your dreams. 

1) It’s Personal.  Case closed.

2) Fear-  of rejection, failure, criticism

3) Shyness-  you might be teased, ridiculed, laughed at

4) Hesitation-  you feel you’re not ready to either talk about it or to work on it

5) Belief- sharing your dreams early on might hinder its fulfillment

 

Why you would want to talk about your dreams.

1) Law of Attraction- putting it out into the world for the universe to conspire and bring the right opportunities to your doorstep

2) Inspire- you want to encourage people to have and work on their own dreams to give them something to look forward to.

3) Accountability-  you want to push yourself a little bit more to fulfill them since you’ve already “worn your heart on your sleeve”

4)  Tribe- You want to find yours.  The group of like-minded people. Those who share the same dream passion as yours. Those who can and will inspire you. Those who would stimulate your brain to create and stir your heart to keep going.

5)  Support from loved ones-  you would need this especially if your dreams include your own family.  You would appreciate their help. Surely It’ll lighten the load when the going gets tough.

6)  Remind yourself what you value the most-  Thinking and talking about your dreams helps you focus on them once again, especially when you get off track.  With lots of distractions around us, it helps to cleanse our lenses now and then and set our sights on what really matters to us in the end.

We already know that dreams have to be time-bound.  But obviously, we’ll never know how powerful this aspect is until we try it.  So put a month and year next to your every dream or goal. You can be more specific and narrow it down to the day or time.

However long it takes, you can always do something about it right now.  One decision at a time. One choice at a timeStart now with what’s in front of you.  Ask yourself, “What is one thing that I can do right now that will bring me one step closer to my dream”?

Try it.  You’ll see.

 

Question:

Have you thought deeply about your dreams? What steps have you taken to fulfill them?What motivates you to pursue these dreams? Share your thoughts. Comment here. 

Happy New Year From A Stranger

“There was a moment there when his eyes were almost red and teary. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I felt there was a glimpse of sadness, and at the same time-  a glance of reassuring hope”.- sundaewrites

 

 

 

The best surprise you’re ever gonna get is just around the corner, waiting to land on your hands at the perfect time! Trust me, you’re gonna love it!

Mine came in a package I never expected, but deep down I knew it’s meant for me like Somebody really had me in mind when the gift was picked, wrapped, and finally shipped for delivery.

The working hours have been cut short today. Major roads are going to be closed before dusk. People are rushing to strategic places to witness fireworks, light shows, and water shows. Phones have been ringing nonstop for restaurant and cafe bookings.  Malls are crowded with locals and tourists, and groceries, oh yes, queues are longer, trolleys are stuffed more than ever, check out scanners are beeping faster than I could even blink!

The New Year!

Yes, the last day of the year has arrived, and everybody is looking forward to greeting the new year with a bang! You hear music, and noise everywhere and almost everyone is pumped up and induced to talk louder. But for one still moment, a kind gentle voice caught my ear.

“Happy new year”, he said.

“Happy new year to you too!”, I answered back, hurriedly.

Man: “I really don’t know how to cook, but I will try. My family is coming over”.

Me: “Oh, that’s great. So what do you have in mind”.

Man: “Some potatoes, salad, some meat. How about you?”

Me: “Just bread, cheese, and chips. No cooking required”. I smiled. “So you said your family’s visiting”?

Man: “Yes, for a few days, and then they’re going back. I’ll be left alone here. It’s always work, work, work for me. How about you”?

Me: “That sounds like me too. But I made up my mind to find sort of a balance, starting next year, or tomorrow, if you may”. I’m struggling with it, but I’ll do my best.”

Man: “Read books. That’s what I do. I don’t watch tv shows, and I don’t even have a smartphone but when I read even just a few pages, I feel happy. When you get closer to knowing, and learning, it really feels good. It makes me feel good. And I have God, you know. All these are going to go away anyhow, but I have God, I’m happy and I know I’ll be happy”.

Me: “I agree. I’m a believer too”!

Man: “I know. (smiling with approval). I wish you again a happy new year!

Me: “Same to you. Can I shake your hand”?

Man: “Yes”!

He had a huge grin and even placed my hand on his forehead. I bet if he wasn’t shy at all he could have given me a hug. I know I should have. But the encounter just caught me by surprise!

Did I tell you that during this conversation we were actually at the check out counter, and my card has been rejected maybe four times? The card machine showed an error message and I had to key in my PIN every single time. That gave me like a five-minute delay.  A delay that has been purposely used by the universe for this stranger and me to talk.

There was a moment there when his eyes were almost red and teary. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I felt there was a glimpse of sadness and at the same time a glance of reassuring hope.

God’s divine appointment. I guess that was one of mine. Sometimes these appointments are disguised in disruptions.  But when I heard that kind gentle voice, I felt the sincerity of the man’s heart.  I knew then God was at work in that ordinary but magical moment. The world stood still as he and I exchanged words about our cares and sentiments, but in that small window, of time and space, we’ve given each other a genuine sense of comfort, unadulterated love and the highest form of respect one soul can give to another.

It was unexpected. I was unprepared. And the best part is, I was blessed.

A chance encounter.

A meaningful experience.

An extraordinary way to end the year.

Warmth overload.

How To Handle Negativity At Work

“Your inner peace, like everything that’s personal to you, is your responsibility. Don’t let anyone or anything outside of you disturb that peace. It’s too precious to be annoyed”.- sundaewrites

 

 

So you show up for work, happy and excited. You open up your email and see three glaring entries.

-from your boss, disappointed with results, urgently demands improvement
-from a colleague, urgent demand for an explanation why something was not —-done or not done right
-from a customer, angry, dissatisfied with your service, urgently demands action

 

Do this email entries change your mood? Oftentimes, yes. Will it affect your good intentions? Well, It shouldn’t.

 

Though we did not assign weight or intensity in the three cases above, we can agree that most of the time, they come with a lot of anger, blame, and loads of negative energy.

 

If you’ve seen that facebook video about people carrying emotional garbage and dumping that to everyone they come in contact with, the cases above are classic examples of it.

 

In this fast-paced world, where most of us are expected to work like machines and process floods of information all at once, the pressure that people get is too much, the stress, intolerable. And oftentimes, pressure and stress get the better of us. We forget the reality that we’re actually dealing with human beings.

 

In such an environment, the fight or flight mode is activated in people’s mind. That’s what causes bosses to shout at subordinates, employees to find someone to blame, clients to harass service providers or the other way around. We obviously want to lift the weight from our shoulders and demand other people to carry it for us. Bluntly, yes, we dump our garbage on to other people.

Photo Credit: Tim Goedhart
Photo Credit: Tim Goedhart

If you are at the receiving end of this relationship, what do you do? Personally, my used-to-be default tendency was to retaliate: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But now, I know better.

 

One of my mentors taught me to change the rules of the game. Not any more to react, but instead, to influence. To change the atmosphere of whatever room I go into.

 

Call it taking the higher ground, changing your normal stance, attitude and intention will do a lot of benefits not just for others but more so for you.

-to give rather than to take
-to help rather than to restrain
-to serve rather than to hurt
-to understand rather than to strike back

 

Recently, I was faced with a blaming game at work, and instead of defending myself or highlighting the other person’s negligence, I thought to myself, “This is not one of the battles I want to spend my energy on”.

 

So what did I do? I changed my stance. I thought about where this person is coming from, what is he going through and what made him say the things he said.

 

I believe that inherently, people are good. So understanding where this person’s anger and blaming are coming from, allowed me to see through him and the situation. Then I asked myself. “How can I help this person”? “How can I best serve him”?

 

So I end up pacifying the guy and we were able to work out a solution to the situation.

 

If only I could replicate this approach every single time, then I’d be someone who becomes a part of the solution instead of a contributor to a problem.

 

Sure, losing your cool is the easy way out. But that comes with a price. While patience and endurance, you get a far more fulfilling reward.

photo credit: Denise Altindas

Your inner peace, like everything that’s personal to you, is your responsibility. Don’t let anyone or anything outside of you disturb that peace. It’s too precious to be annoyed.

 

Question:
Have you encountered someone who’s dumped their garbage on you? How did you react? What did you learn from that experience? What insights did it give you regarding people you work with?

What's Stealing Your Joy?

Photo Credit: Romeo Conilas

 

Imagine this:  You wake up to a beautiful Saturday morning, eager to start your day with a perfectly planned home-cooked breakfast.  After a few stretches, you get on your feet and head to the kitchen. Egg, sausage, pancakes, a bowl of fruit, and a  cup of freshly brewed coffee, one by one perfectly laid on the breakfast table. You grab a bottle of ketchup from the cupboard, and remembered- – Bistro! Oh no! You look over your shoulder and see your fear actually happening! Big Bistro gobbling down a big breakfast!

Joy stealers are like that. They’re cunning. While you get so self-absorbed and unaware, they come out and take something you really value. There’s an army of them, but let’s talk about two that may seem non-threatening, but prove to be strong enemies of your time.

Laziness

– you say you want to get fit, but you don’t get up early in the morning to exercise.

– you say you want more sunshine, but don’t make an effort to go to the beach or just outside your home

– you say you want to be more productive, but you linger for hours on social media

– you say you want more income but don’t find ways to get one

– you say you want stronger, healthier relationships but you end up with just intentions, no effort, no actions.

Indecision

– you want to accomplish a lot of goals but you don’t start working on a single thing

– you want to explore opportunities, but actually, don’t pick one of several choices that come along

– you want to change something in your circumstances, but you get stuck at wishing and not doing

My brother once told me that completing a marathon is more of a mental thing, not a physical one. The strength lies in the mind, not in the body.  I believe this applies to almost everything.  We are stronger, more able and better than we think we are.

When I see old people dancing, running, biking or doing yoga it inspires me and makes me happy.  When I see them accomplish their greatest feat ever in their old age, it drives me crazy!

Philippe Dumas, a 60-year-old man who took the fashion world by storm in 2016 after growing a beard.

80-year-old Deshun Wang, who killed it on the catwalk during the 2015 China fashion week.

Greta Pontarelli who started pole dancing at the age of 59 and at 61 won first place in 2014 pole sports world championship.

And who can ever forget Paddy Jones who wowed the world and the audience of  Britain’s Got Talent in 2014  with a salsa dance when at that time she was turning 80!

If older people can do it, surely the young can do better!

Laziness. Indecision.  Nip the problem in the bud. Both can kill your dreams. Both can waste your time. Both can stop you from discovering an ocean of possibilities laid down your path.  Both will hinder you in accomplishing something more than what you’ve hoped for in this life.

Why did we call them joy stealers?  Because they stop you from becoming the best version of yourself.  Embrace them and you end up being unable to give your best gift to the world. You retire with a wealth of regrets. You’d fail to finish strong.  You take your dreams to your grave.

Let me leave you with this quote:

The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”-  Les Brown

You don’t want your dreams to end up there, do you? So move and win this life.

Question:

Have you identified your own joy-stealers? How is your battle against them? Are you winning or are you losing? What steps are you taking from here today to move you closer to your dreams?

Comment here.