Depression, it’s not all bad. Actually, there’s benefit.
Is there something wrong with you? Or is the world just not ready for you?
It’s time to harness your truth for all that it’s worth.
Depression, it’s not all bad. Actually, there’s benefit.
Is there something wrong with you? Or is the world just not ready for you?
It’s time to harness your truth for all that it’s worth.
We don’t honor ourselves enough. You and I are designed to accomplish great things, we’re built to withstand tough challenges and we each have a unique purpose for being here. We do ourselves a great dishonor whenever we allow anything, or anyone for that matter, convince us that we’re not worthy enough or that it’s not possible for us to follow our true calling in life.
We often talk of purpose as if it’s some cosmic gift from above or some declaration that society hands us and because of this thinking, we never feel like we’re quite good enough unless someone else affirms it. We’re constantly doubting ourselves and we’re seeking validation through notifications to which hold no real value. We diminish our self-belief because we’re not seeing purpose as a natural birthright; we’re to own who we are and to be free to explore life, so that we can grow into our purpose and courageously stand by it.
What I’ve written already may sound a little cryptic, but I’ve recently experienced a shift in perspective and discovered why so many of us struggle in our daily lives. A lot of us don’t feel supported enough to share how we truly feel and therefore we burden ourselves with our truths rather than opening up about them. We then learn to cope with our burdens instead of overcoming them and we hide away our truths under a guise of denial; resentment; anger; sadness; frustration; silence; avoidance and so on, always a guise nonetheless. I’d bet that many of you feel misunderstood, but that feeling isn’t going to shift until you drop the guise, set free your truth and allow the healing to begin.
Too many of us are good people working hard and trying even harder to build happy and fulfilled lives. Even at our lowest of lows, we muster whatever energy we have left and rise out of bed in the morning to live through another day. I’ve coached enough people to understand that this statement resonates within a lot of us, as it did with me for a very long time. I’ll even admit that I’ve thought about ending all this despair too, because if I can’t live openly then for me there’s no reason to live at all.
I grew up in a Sikh household and the very first words that appear in the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy text) are “Ik Onkar, Sat Naam” which roughly translates to: There is one God, Truth is his name. Now anyone reading this believing that there is a mystical being in the sky shaping our lives really hasn’t understood what this ancient teaching is trying to clue us into. The only thing we should live our lives by and the very thing we should actually honor, seek out, respect and worship is the truth. It really is that simple.
It’s said that the truth will set us free and my God does it ever. Think about it, the reason why many of us feel isolated or alone, outcast or trapped, or even misunderstood and lacking purpose is because we’re not living truthfully. We lock up how we truly feel; who we truly are; what we truly desire from life because we’re too attached to mass produced ideologies that misrepresent us. Our attachment to these ideologies cause us to judge one another as we’re conditioned to follow each other like sheep and lead the same old meaningless lives over and over and over again. You and I are worth so much more than that and if you ever want to get over your burdens, you need to liberate yourself from them and live life with integrity, if you genuinely want to feel like you matter.
The day I felt self-realized and more confident was the day I decided to live true to my nature and embrace the very traits that make my identity as exceptional as the mind I have. Just as exceptional as you are with the remarkable mind you have. So I’ve decided to write this post today to encourage you all to free yourself from any burden you feel buried under, because you are way too valuable to live your life in vain.
You all know me as Terry but not many know that my true name Is Talwinder Singh Sidhu, a name that I’ve only recently learnt to be proud of and respect. I believe we are all born equal in an unequal society and the only way we’re going to make positive change, is if we stand up and continue to fight for equality on all platforms. On that note, I’ve also recently accepted that gender isn’t a factor for me when it comes to relationships and sexual attraction. However, sometimes I’m not even attracted to anyone at all and although you may associate me with a specific label (trust me I’ve tried on many) I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m free-sexual and so are you. Furthermore, in any relationship albeit personal, professional or intimate, I only hold onto people who have crystal clear integrity, so you can imagine how long it took for me to build a positive relationship with myself. I don’t believe in God, well not in the traditional manner anyway. I do believe in rebirth and I reckon evolution is a profound indication of it. I no longer fear people who judge, because I know those who do judge ultimately fear being judged themselves. I know I’m really good at what I do because I’ve accepted that there is always so much more to learn. Lastly, I believe that every single one of us on this planet is destined for greatness, but only those who live truthfully will achieve it.
Living with integrity will help you uncover your purpose and give you the courage to pursue it, because you’ll no longer feel bound to the same life design everyone else is following. Your relationships will improve because you’ll only support ones that are mutually supportive and as a bonus, your tolerance for ignorance will increase too. Finally, when you do step out from underneath your guise, you’ll finally give people the opportunity to understand you fully. Although it can seem incredibly terrifying at first and there may be some ‘consequences’ to face, in time you will realize that you’ll have nothing left to fear and that freedom will get you to wherever it is you need to be.
I’m going to march on forward with my own life now and continue to live each day trying to fulfill my purpose, because when the time comes to guide the next generation, I’ll do so with pride, honor and without regret.
I’ve been meditating on and off for many months now and I’ve recently become more disciplined. I’ve been dedicated every day for the last two months and I’m noticing an increased sense of peace of mind and I’m finding it easier to maintain a positive mindset and focus.
I feel that I enter a semi-conscious state when I meditate, a place where extreme reality meets extreme wonder. My troubles and difficulties dance with my hopes and dreams, until the two realities co-exist and become one, which I define as truth. When I arrive at this truth, balance and serenity is achieved, relinquishing fear and doubt. Meditation allows me to pick myself up and confidently continue work towards my aspirations.
It sounds beautiful and poetic ‘n all, but I’m still eager to experience this “awakening” that I keep hearing about. However, I think last night I came incredibly close to experiencing something I can only describe as sensational.
Last night I prepared as normal: my clothes were warm and loose, I sat crossed legged and began breathing deeply, in and out. With the amount of practise, I’ve gotten closer to perfecting a technique that settles my mind quickly; I tend to focus on the sound of my breath.
After the serene dance between two realities, I experienced something very different and I couldn’t feel my body. It didn’t feel like I had lost the sense to touch, it was more like that feeling you get when you hold your hands really close together, without them actually touching. Maybe it was brought on by sitting crossed legged for such a long time, but it wasn’t a numbness, nor did I feel the tingling of pins and needles. It was very bizarre.
I wouldn’t call it an out-of-body experience, I’m still skeptical of that, but I did sense that my mind was lost and trying to navigate itself somewhere. I felt as if a veil or layer of something had been dropped and it caused my physical senses to weaken and my thoughts to escape rather than silence.
Was I experiencing awe?
A moment frozen in time?
Was I awake in my sleep?
I had no idea, but I reckon it could’ve been an experience of complete and genuine detachment. It felt like I had officially let go of something, more accurately, I felt I let go of everything and that I had finally accepted some sort of peace. Needless to say it was comforting yet peculiar.
When I awoke, I awoke with an incredible awareness of consciousness. I seemed to magnetically re-attach to everything I had let go of: the fear, the hope, the good, the bad, the sadness and joy…I felt like I was a giant electro-magnet surrounded by an assortment of metals, which had been switched back on.
I’m still unsure of what this all means, but it’s definitely contributing to the case for meditation and its role in awareness and positive impacts to mindset. It’s a personal, self-driven influence over your own identity, it’s taught me more about myself and it’s helping me better understand my place.
I highly recommend it to you all.
Image Credit: digitalbob8
“I’d like to see our species come together and use our amazing potential to live in harmony with all life on this planet. If I had to leave an impression, I’d like it to be a smile.”
– Markus Pukonen, Founder of Routes of Change
On 3rd Ave. and Main St. Vancouver B.C. is where I last saw Markus Pukonen; a man on a mission to “circumnavigate the planet without a motor.”
Founder of Routes of Change; a registered non-profit organization, with the intention of raising support for organizations that are creating a healthier planet, Markus began his adventure around the world on foot. Since then, he has already hiked, skipped and danced his way through the first few kilometres and according to his live, online GPS, he currently appears to be canoeing down Lake Ontario towards Prince Edward, ON.
I first got introduced to Markus when I gate-crashed his fundraiser during my recent visit to Tofino, BC. An intimate event, I spoke to several people who knew Markus personally and from what I had learnt, I was eager to understand the mindset of this man with an ambitious goal, derived from noble motives.
Markus loves our planet and “all of the beings on it.” He found himself burdened by the unfortunate state of our planet six years ago, when he lost his beloved father to Leukemia. Around the same time, his sister was pregnant with his niece. This cycle of death and new life caused Markus to wonder what type of future his niece would have, if we continue to pollute and ruin our planet. It also caused him to question the legacy he’d leave behind, if he were to face the same fate as his father. “It was time for change” and it was during this poignant time in Markus’ life, which jolted him to act upon one of his ultimate aspirations.
Over the last six years, Markus has been carefully planning, fundraising and generating awareness and support for his organization. Now that ‘Routes of Change’ has officially launched, he’s beginning to feel both the positive and negative impacts of this mission. The pressure is definitely on and as deadlines loom, the reality of his aspiration is settling in.
To keep himself motivated and focused, Markus doesn’t overlook his emotions. He realizes that they are a key component towards navigating himself towards success. He also practises communicating openly for others to understand him better, especially during moments of high stress and anxiety.
“I’m planning on dancing every day to make things happy and positive and keep the silliness of everything in focus. I practice belly breathing, moving meditation, and yoga as well.”
Also, Markus occasionally finds himself “nervous and stressed.” On top of raising funds to support himself throughout this 5 year mission, he’s set himself a “huge goal” of raising 10 million dollars towards supporting positive change. So naturally, he’s finding himself questioning how it’ll all “come together.” Furthermore, Markus has been pretty independent his entire life and for the first time, he’s asked for support from his community in a “big way,” causing further thoughts of concern and uncertainty as he doesn’t want to let anyone down.
“I overcome these concerns and doubts by focusing on the positive, on the fact that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I know that things have a way of working themselves out if you move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”
Markus has also become mindful of the fact that not everyone understands his mission, nor can everyone empathise with his passion. He’s learnt that staying true to himself and standing by his own identity, will guide him towards the success and fulfillment he desires. He adds:
“I also remind myself that I was willing to do this trip without any money.”
His strength and encouragement also comes from gratitude, he genuinely values community, oneness and family. Even though he’ll be without his nearest and dearest for some time, he only has to think about them to trigger motivation.
“I think about the love they have for me. I think about doing my best in order to make them proud. I don’t focus on the fact that they aren’t with me, I focus on the fact that they ARE with me. I feel their love and support and I gain inspiration and strength from it. I focus on that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”
Markus sets a great example of how to use your identity towards bigger aspirations. He’s combined what he loves to do (his passion), with what he has to do (his purpose) and as a result, he’s well on his way towards reaching levels of self-actualization.
There are many lessons to be learnt from Markus and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with him. He’s confirmed that staying true to our own identities, engaging in what we’re passionate about and maintaining gratitude for the very things many of us take for granted, will steer us towards a life of bliss and fulfillment.
Have a great time Markus and thank you for raising awareness to make our home a better place to live.
To learn more about Markus Pukonen and ‘Routes of Change’ check-out Routesofchange.org. You can also support Markus along the way, by sponsoring a ‘penny per kilometer’, joining him during a leg of his trip or simply by offering him words of encouragement, advice and support.
I’d recently took a trip away to Tofino, British Columbia, to complete some work and escape the distractions of everyday life. When I arrived I was ready to churn out pure productivity, I could already feel my ego withering away as my inner-desires activated, engaged by thoughts of freedom, fun and accomplishment.
It was late, dark and very quiet. I immediately felt a slight anxiety as I entered this small town as lone outsider. I pulled up and greeted my AirBnB host with very quick hello and was given a 2 minute tour of the property, not even 10 minutes had passed by and beers were already being poured. I could already tell that this town had adopted a ‘live-in-the-moment’ mentality and any thoughts of anxiety were soon forgotten.
My host was an energetic character originally from Alberta, Canada. He’d given up his lucrative career working on an oil rig, to pursue his passions. He became an artist and had moved to Tofino to seek liberation and to freely create. I had told him about my initial anxiety and how quickly it was dispelled, I mentioned my work and my writing and my reason for visiting. He talked about how many of the people living in Tofino weren’t really from there, many of the people he had met and many of the people I had interacted with, seemed to have similar reasons for being there.
My first day though was pretty amazing, normally when I wake up my first thoughts are to check my Blackberry for any new emails from potential clients, and to check my blog-stats. The internet connectivity was awful so right way I was forced into mindfulness. I got up early, caught the sun rise, meditated, went for a run and had my first Vegan breakfast (it was delicious) all before 7am.
After I had showered and changed, I took my laptop down to a waterfront restaurant and within minutes I was tranced into a flow state. Usually I would check all sorts of social media platforms and spend the first hour catching up with the rest of the world. This time was very different.
Later that day, I explored the neighbourhood and struck up conversations with random people. It became apparent that many people who come along to Tofino, although initially motivated by escape, were really there to just be themselves. To engage the capabilities of their identities in order to discover bliss. Nobody seemed too focused on status, money, popularity or anything else that bound people to lives that lacked fulfillment.
Nobody really cared about anything else other than making the most of every moment and that didn’t really mean partying and having fun in the traditional sense. It meant making the most of one’s passions, perfecting skills and becoming the best individual one can be. Investing every spare moment engaging an inner spirit and tapping into a self-confidence that came with true independence. Many people had visited from bigger towns and cities, only to remain there after experiencing some sort of detachment. Towards the end of my trip, even I was contemplating the thought of calling it home.
I couldn’t help feeling empathy for those that sought freedom and liberation there. Many people seemed to have detached from their old lives, only to attach themselves to Tofino. I wondered how many will learn to carry this experience with them as they re-enter the lives they’d left behind.
My mum had incidentally given me a book called “why —– mind matters.” It explored Buddhist philosophies concerning the mind. It was an easy book and within the first ten minutes I came across this quote:
“Man is essentially the manifestation of his thought forces.”
I thought I went to Tofino to work, to finish some writing as I embark on yet another goal. I thought I had to be there to bring back the inspiration and motivation I sought, to complete my book. Truth is, Tofino just allowed me to calm my mind and had given me time to think. It reminded me of the importance of focusing internally.
Prior to this trip, my mind seemed to be in several different places at once, I couldn’t focus on writing and output seemed to lack passion. I had all the same ideas, but at home I couldn’t bring them alive because I kept trying to focus with an external intention.
In other words, I was focusing on an outcome of a task rather than the purpose of carrying the task out. So when I would attempt to write at home, I was driven more by thoughts of getting my book published and the possibility of new opportunities and travelling more. When writing in Tofino, I reconnected with the internal intention; I wrote because I enjoyed it and because I’m passionate about what I want to share.
Now that I’m back on the ferry heading back home to familiarity, I’m returning with my intentions intact. I feel I understand what it means to put my mind to something now. We can be anywhere in the world physically, but what truly matters as we embark on ambitious goals, is where we allow our minds to travel and where we can take the world.
Post by VanCityLifeCoach.com
“Attachment is the root of suffering.” – The Buddha
I’ve been reading a lot about detachment, or non-attachment if you rather and like most, I’ve always believed the philosophy of detachment simply meant not letting material possessions have rule over your life. Which I guess is true, but teachings suggest that detachment roots much deeper than that. That one must detach oneself from people, emotions, thoughts and desires…basically, all the things we latch onto that give our lives meaning and purpose are none and void, if we wish to experience true freedom; liberation.
I was beginning to feel a little bewildered by the concept because it conflicted with a lot of my own ideas and beliefs. For one, I thoroughly enjoy connecting with people, so does this also mean that love keeps us from ever reaching this experience too?
After raising more questions and failing to firmly grasp the concept, I continued on with my day. It was only when I began my daily meditation that the concept re-entered my mind. As I sat there, cross-legged and awkwardly ready to achieve stillness and serenity, I was overcome by answers.
Detachment doesn’t necessarily mean living life a recluse and closing off connections and interactions to the world around us. Nor does it mean finding a spiritual place to live out the rest of our days trying to reach a higher level on consciousness. I began recognizing detachment as building a more mindful relationship with life, and how that journey towards mindfulness begins from within.
I always talk about identity and living life by the true values of who you are, by doing so you guide your life in a more fulfilled direction. I still believe this and it aligns with everything I’ve learned recently too.
Detachment is not about creating distance, I feel it’s more about understanding the true significance of life so that we better connect to it. For instance what do my possessions mean to me? Well if you think about it, they don’t actually mean anything. As a living organism; as a force of life, my possessions really have no value.
So feeling like I learned something amazing, I shared this conclusion with a friend of mine and he said “well what if you were on a life support machine, you’d need that wouldn’t you?” Ah…that got me thinking and the thought kept me up for a couple of nights as my mind was once again riddled.
A few days had passed and I was writing a letter to a client of mine. I was fully engaged in a state of flow and out of nowhere I found the response to my friend’s question: ‘Well why am I, or would I, be afraid to die?’ That one realization blew my understanding of attachment wide open, particularly how attachment causes us to fear/avoid one of life’s uncomplicated and inevitable outcomes. At that moment I felt completely present. I finally understood the significance of detachment and how it fits in with life’s most basic principles, right up there with death and breathing.
I started to look at my life much more closely, everything from brushing my teeth in the morning through to picking up my nephew for a cuddle after work. What does it all mean to life, not my life, just life in general? My nephew has only existed for several months and now I feel I can’t live without him…how and why does this impact my life so much? How and why does this rule my life? Each answer only raised these same questions.
The more I broke down my life and especially as I delved into my past, I noticed how little control and influence I had over it. I clearly wasn’t grasping what life meant at all. I was living life attached and as a result, I was indeed suffering: from my lack of confidence (controlled by what other people thought of me), to the fear of paving my own path (expectations from and responsibilities to those around me)…it all made complete sense.
I’m thinking that maybe we could all use a little less attachment in our lives, to step away and embrace actual life. Maybe I’ve got it completely lost in translation or just maybe, I’ve stumbled upon the beginning of something more definitive for myself.
I am also realizing that detachment has just as much, if not more to do with the physical realm than it does with the spiritual. I think detachment isn’t this glorious concept that I’ve always thought it to be, I think the true beauty and power behind this philosophy lies within its simplicity.
Either way, this recent experience has at the very least, taught me to keep my mind and my eyes wide open; to be more mindful and aware, and that outcome alone is priceless.
I began to feel as if I was entering a new era of awareness and I was waiting for my reality to catch up. I felt as if my life and my mind were out of sync.
At first I thought I was detaching from myself and my identity, I felt I was consciously stepping off my own path and moving towards a realm confusion and doubt. Everything appeared the same but the engagement felt very different. I’d be writing, listening to music, or having a conversation but I’d feel mindfully disconnected.
I’m not saying I experienced some sort of out-of-body experience, it was much more subtle than that. Also, when it comes to meditation I’m still very much a rookie. However the time I’ve invested in focusing on my own mind and concentrating on myself, has allowed me to become more aware of the strings that hold me back.
My feelings of detachment were not from my passions or my identity, I found myself detaching from my doubts and my uncertainties. The sensation of unfamiliarity and unease was my adjusting to an experience free from any puppet strings that controlled my life.
I felt unleashed. My identity felt affirmed; I felt free to explore so that I could grow and expand my work, build better relationships and discover new opportunities.
The conversations seemed different because I was being more open, the music had a different sound because I related better and my writing seemed clearer because I was being more honest. The actions I performed were the same, the schedule was too, but the mindset behind it was different.
The sensation of detachment came over me because my body was on autopilot, and my mind continued on to evaluate and understand what I had just learned. I was waiting to resync.
Sometimes when you select a vice to evaluate your life you can experience this detachment. As you look inwardly with an objective lens, with the intention to re-align yourself with what you set out to accomplish, what you realize can be unsettling.
As your mind begins to open up and your identity begins to free itself, you can end up experiencing this sensation of detachment. An “aha” moment that requires you to take a step back and comprehend what you have just learned.
To learn how much doubt and fear you held onto, how much energy and time you wasted and how much negativity you nurtured for a cause of no significance, can be difficult to grasp. You often spend a lifetime learning to live with low self-esteem and emotional torment, therefore when you realize these things were holding you back, unlearning it all takes some getting used to. You consciously step away from yourself as you figure out how to introduce this autonomy into your life.
I liken it to that yearning for travel, you fantasize about it and you expect to connect to new places right away. In truth, the first time you step into a new environment you almost feel as if it isn’t real. You have to take a minute to adjust and take it all in. It takes a while before you can let yourself be completely present again.
Any detachment you experience in life is an opportunity to evaluate and reflect. Consider these moments as an indicator to avoid complacency or even procrastination. Use these moments to trigger a motivation and evoke your spirit to take action.
I’m learning to meditate as a vice to prompt this practice, however these moments are always hiding in pockets of experience everywhere. When you’re running and lose yourself in the activity, when you listen to live music and experience an emotional shift, or even when you’re with loved ones immersed in bliss. Use these moments of conscious escape and understand the negativity that controls you.
Prepare for the ultimate break from negative captivity; listen to your mind as it detaches itself from your reality to learn from your spirit.