What is Mindfulness? – The Philosophy of “I don’t give a damn Sh*t”

My mum hiking The Stawamus Chief, Squamish, BC

My mum hiking The Stawamus Chief, Squamish, BC

I have very cool parents. A father with the ability to dream big, despite life’s knock backs, the man still has some big aspirations. His encouragement is limitless and he has every confidence that, no matter what I do, I’ll be okay.

My mother on the other hand, she lives by one philosophy which she insists on passing down through generations. A guru in her own right, my mother never ever gave a “damn sh*t!” We, we being myself and my siblings, all used to laugh at her funny sayings, this one in particular.

My parents grew up in a generation surrounded by very strict Indian traditions and extremely outdated cultural practices. Also, one of the first generations to genuinely experience the struggles of integrating into a western society, from racial prejudice through to raising children that adopted very different values to those she and my father were raised with.

An avid reader, my mum grew up reading books on philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. She generally read anything that allowed her mind to explore, to escape the realities she was forced to surrender to. All our lives, during the troubles that came with financial turmoil, crooked family politics and the bullsh*t that came with living an arranged life, she never let her spirit die.

We all grew up hearing “I don’t give a damn Sh*t!” around the house, as she belted it out during stressful moments. In her charming in-glish accent (an Indian accent with an English undertone), followed by a delightful laugh that made any unfortunate situation seem small and insignificant. It’s only during the last few years, having figured out my own path in life, I connected with what mum actually meant by the words she uttered.

My mum has practised mindfulness her entire life, before the world began trending it, mum was living it. In every difficult situation, she would never let negativity infiltrate her mind. It was like this mantra shielded her from turning into a bitter old lady; resenting the world and everyone in it.

I always thought she held onto a hope that things would get better one day, as many do in unfortunate circumstances. I thought that was where she drew her strength. In actuality, that one-day was always her present day, the here and now was the time to laugh off her troubles and focus on whatever bliss currently existed, however big or small. Be it the fact that we had a day with a full healthy meal on our plates or, at the very least, love and closeness in our family.

Today, at 64, mum continues to share lessons of mindfulness to any person she meets. It makes complete sense why people warm up to her very quickly. She lives life as if life is literally the only thing she owns, and so long as she maintains control over her own mind, the force that drives her life, she’s the most fortunate person she knows.

So no matter what situation you’re faced with, no matter what your current circumstances are, practise having full control over your mind and be aware of your thoughts. That’s what mindfulness is. Mum taught us to focus on everyday bliss, however big or small, it exists, we just have to start paying attention to it.

Negativity can only affect us if we allow it to and what mum actually means by ‘not giving a sh*t’, isn’t that she doesn’t care, it’s that she’ll continue to fight for the one thing that can’t ever be taken from her; she will never surrender her mind to negativity, no matter how hard life tries.

VanCity

Advertisements

10 Ways to Engage A State of Flow

Staying dedicated to your passion can be an everyday challenge. Between fighting off the temptation to procrastinate and giving up all together, it isn’t easy to maintain momentum and prolong productive activity, when life is so distracting.

Being in the “zone” is a term used when focus doesn’t require a technique and you’re naturally plugged into your own genius. Where you can enjoy work for several hours straight, unaware of time and space. However when life jolts you back into play, trying to return to a zone of fluid productivity is an unbearable frustration.

So here’s ten tips to help you plug back into your brilliance.

  1. Set Your Passion as a Priority

When I mean priority, I mean place it way up there with eating, drinking and sleeping. However, rather than simply telling yourself you need to work towards your aspirations, liken it to how you feel without your basic needs. Such as the impact of hunger and sleep deprivation on your body and your emotions.

Liken your passion as a means to survive, if you’re not working towards fulfillment and self-actualization then you’re on a long, painful road to your demise.

  1. Develop a Fear of  Not Fulfilling Your Potential

I’m all about conquering fears, however there’s one fear everyone should develop and embrace – a fear of not fulfilling your potential. Dying without purpose, wasting your life not having tried and wasting time on things that simply do not matter.

Remind yourself of this fear when you wake up in the morning. Beat procrastination and use this fear as power against those seven deadly sins.

  1. Remind Yourself of Everything That Makes You Miserable…

….then smile and give it the finger!

Your time is way too precious for negative infiltrations, so that list of misery you’re working on reducing, empower the fact that you’re working towards eliminating it. Remind yourself; while others complain, you’re making a conscious decision, and effort, to do something about the misery in your life!

  1. Measure Your Successes and Celebrate Them

First of all shatter your illusions of success if they’re only linked to monetary wealth and shiny, fancy new things.

How much have you learned? How has the quality of your work improved? How much have you personally developed? These are measurable levels of success just as much as the traditional pay-off.

Remember you can only welcome and enjoy your definitive success if you have nurtured the genius behind it. Encourage yourself to progress by measuring how far you have already come, there may still be a long road ahead, but your closer to the destination than you ever were before. 

  1. Find New Sources of Encouragement

Listen. Learn. Support.

Although encouragement from your nearest and dearest is precious, the novelty tends will wear off. Seek to grow your support network by wearing your passions on your sleeve, define your life by your aspirations and encourage others to do the same and notice how you’re attracted to like-minded people, like bees are to honey! 

  1. Stay True To Yourself

Not only are you an individual with a dream, you’re an identity full of potential and you’re a “bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!” Let others worry about following trends and fulfilling statistics, stay true to who you are and what you want from life.

You are your only asset – protect it.

  1. Help Others

Fulfilled success and helping others are closely related: they make you share your identity with others and it demonstrations what true fulfillment feels like.

Do yourself a favour and help others. Helping others also humbles you, it keeps you from getting carried away with your desires and helps you maintain your own purpose and focus in life.

  1. Reward Yourself and Make Time to Unwind and Relax

After a marathon of work, don’t retire exhausted, reward yourself. Be it a cheeky Netflix binge or spending good times with good people, whatever you choose.

Reiterate the message of fulfillment; life is an abundance of joy so long as you maintain a healthy balance. Rewarding yourself after work is much more fulfilling than indulging for the hell of it.

  1. Schedule; Don’t Idly Live By Routine

I don’t believe in following routines, they bore me. I make schedules.

So long as you meet the deadlines you need to make, mix up your schedule and help your mind remain active, so that life doesn’t become dull.

Humans are good at adapting, tap into this trait by mixing up your week. Revive your energy week by week and move tasks and responsibilities around. Change is good, change stimulates the mind and change is experience.

  1. Work With/Near Others Just As Hungry for Fulfillment as Yourself

It’s amazing how people can connect to one another, although your journeys may differ significantly, the thirst for life can measure up the same. It encourages you to work towards your own aspirations if those around you are doing the same.

 

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

5 Things Every Relationship Should Have

I often get asked why I post about relationships on this blog; it’s because relationships are a huge part of an individual’s success. People can hold each other back and people can propel  each other  forward. If I can provide my input to help others achieve the latter, then I believe this post fits right in.

Take what you will from the following list, but my entire relationship history has taught me to look out for the following 5 components.

1. Vulnerability. You need to be 100% yourself and honest around each other, be vulnerable enough to bare each other’s soul and share each other’s spirit. Being vulnerable is also being honest, which makes room for trust and to be easily read and to be easily understood. It keeps the relationship raw.

2. Identity. There’s nothing worse than getting into a relationship when you haven’t figured out who you are yet. Make it a mission to stay individual and embrace each other’s individuality. Strong identities in a relationship make it apparent when the other is not around. Make it easy to miss each other.

3. Support. Be each other’s biggest fan and support each other’s dreams. Ignite each other’s passions and beliefs and make it a passion of yours to watch the other become whole. Understand that you both began your own journey and rather than getting in the way of someone’s path, offer the support to help finish it.

4. Encouragement. Encourage each other  to become the best version of yourselves, rather than a version of a person that isn’t true.  To offer the encouragement to live life to the fullest and actually want to push each other to succeed towards individual goals and help each other overcome any crumb of doubt.

5. Challenge. Challenge each other, nothing turns loyal lovers to promiscuity more than the lack of a challenge. Challenge is at number five for a reason, if 1 to 4 are satisfied then challenging each other becomes second nature. It’ll encourage you to always keep the relationship fresh, to consistently remind, to prove and to embrace the reason the two of you stuck together.

If you review the list you’ll notice it’s actually really simple.

VanCity

Music: The Paper Kites – Bloom

Avoid Becoming the Bad Apple – Break the Cycle That Breeds Irritated Souls

It still irritates me to see how many people are afraid to say or admit what it is they want or wanted out of life. They bury their dreams and continue on with life with the mentality that “it wasn’t meant to be” or that “it will never happen” and they will share this view with anyone else that has the balls to actually go for it.  The ones that adopt the same mentality will carry on this cycle and continue to fill the world with irritated souls with lost dreams. Adopting this attitude will only distance yourself from the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Despite what others have said, I had managed to push on and continued to pursue my goals and passions because I was never afraid to say what I would accomplish. Being able to say what it is I wanted got me to where I am today and to the distances I will go tomorrow. I remember my year 11 science teacher saying to me that I wouldn’t make it to sixth form let alone obtain a degree. I remember my friends laughing at me when they said I wouldn’t make it out of my hometown when I said I will be living abroad one day. I remember relatives saying my goals were too ambitious and that I needed to ground myself and live in the real world.

Now if I had listened to them I would have probably stopped believing in myself and end up as another irritated soul waiting for something to happen and trying to make ends meet in the ‘real world’. I may have just waited for someone to save me from an irritated life to just sit and wait until I venture onto the right path. Well that’s what I saw of the ‘real world’ and the people in it, what people said I shrugged off as hearsay, what right did they have to determine my life for me? I couldn’t understand their advice so I couldn’t adopt it. There’s this bizarre mistake that the majority of people make, they try to fit their lives into an idea of what success is and what success looks like because no one ever told them that we determine our own success. Not many people had the guts to say to me “that will definitely work” or “Terry, you will get what you want” for any support that I did receive there was always a slight hesitation with a concerned undertone and you’ve probably heard these words before, they go along the lines of “good luck” and “I wish you all the best”.

Whenever you dream and share that dream with others, voices of negativity will always tell you not to pursue it. Discourage you from believing and placing doubt on your passion. I had so much of that growing up; even to this day many people still cast this negative shadow, despite my successes. I have come to terms with what others do not understand and I have come to terms with why others have such opinions. However I will refuse to come to terms with closing the door to my ambition and turning my back on my dreams, to reiterate, they got me this far and they’ll carry me further and I urge you to follow your dreams and encourage others too. Break the cycle that breeds irritated souls and aim to live in a more fulfilled world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach