Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cross Stitch - Casio Key Board Cover

I have been away from blogging for a while. Besides other things, I have been working on making a cover for our Casio key board. I had a cross stitch matty cloth with me and other stuff like cross stitch floss and needle. After my school home science project to cross stitch a small table cloth, this is my next cross stitch project. And boy, am I not proud of the result!

In school, my motivation was points and grades. But this time it was something else. I have a liking to cross stitch, I won't deny that but unfortunately it has only been restricted to school assignments. It has been 20 years since the time I took up something on stitching!
I always thought that I should take up some stitching project. But never made time. It took me 20 years to finally pick up something I liked and work on it!

Our Casio was getting dusty and I was always complaining about it. But this time, the moment I complained, I knew I could do only two things. Continue complaining or dust it and get back to what I thought I wanted to do from a long time. I am glad, I decided the later.

Here's a picture of the final version. Took me 2 weeks, a trip to the library for a cross stitch design book, digging old suitcases for the all the material, and of course a 'decision' to work on this Casio cover to get to this.
I picked the pattern from - 
treasury of cross stitch samplers by Sharon Perna

Thursday, August 16, 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 26 - Something you don't like

Hola! Time to go back to something I started out doing :-) Day 26 of the drawing challenge. Had almost lost the link to the pinterest link. Hope I don't need to keep looking it for long. I want to get to my congrats finish banner of day 30 soon.

Today's topic is 'Something you don't like'. Well, I sat down to draw a day before and I could not decide. What do I not like. At that time, only thing on my mind was how my close friends and family were making strong desires in the name of better future and losing out on the today we could make beautiful. I was feeling bad I could not make any difference. I could not explain to them how to let go and in turn was getting disappointed. I thought it was too complicated thought and since now putting attention to simplicity was my new mantra, I instead went to bed.

But the following day, I had a meeting with my manager. It was too noisy at my desk, so we went into a conference room so that there was no disturbance. It was a serious discussion for me, as it was of more value to me than the other person. And regardless of the purpose of discussion, I do demand undivided attention. But he was getting late and needed to co-ordinate with his car pool folks. Just imagine this moment. I am talking, and he texts and starts making calls. I say, 'we can talk tomorrow, if you need to leave'. And he says, 'no, I am listening, you keep talking'. Really?

This is very annoying. I have seen this happen at lot of places. Even I do that, many times in fact. And I also know that, I tend to do this when I give more importance to the phone call than the conversation with the person with me.

This drawing is a lesson to all of us, that we need to make proper judgement on when we make/take calls, send texts, check FB on phone etc. Also, that we need to respect the company that we are in. The use of cell phone has brought a lot of convenience in our life but has also made us insensitive to the 'human' interaction. Something to ponder. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Live your life Now

After we were back from the trip to Salt Lake City, I got to know the terrible news of a fatal accident on a busy street near our house that took the lives of two young cousins. Both were driving back from a baptism ceremony when a car hit theirs at a signal. I was surprised to know that this street where cars don't go more than 25 or 30 mph could kill someone in an accident. We pass that road very often and cannot stop thinking of the lives lost and their families.
On talking about this accident to another friend, she told me of her Aunt who was killed in  an accident crossing a road. She was walking back from a grocery store and the truck driver turned on a free right not seeing her. Her son still goes to the grocery store hoping to find her there.
We all heard the shooting at the Colorado theater. People had got together to just have some good time but for those few it was their last.
And then we heard of the shooting at the Gurudwara in Wisconsin.
I met a colleague of mine whose Mom was diagnosed with Cancer couple of weeks back. I could not imagine the stress and emotions going through the young girl's mind.

For a moment think of these people. What goes through your mind? You feel sad I am sure. What do you feel about your life?
Do you still want to worry about the chores left incomplete? Or keep the grudge for a friend since college days? The extra pounds on your hips? The exam you could not clear. Your life long wish to have kids, in this year and these many. Your dream of spending your life with Mr right going wrong. The job I could have got if only I applied at the right time.
I cannot stress enough on the importance of 'now', the moment we have. The tragedies listed above is a reminder to live the present moment. That's all we have. This very breath you took in, feel the warmth, remember your relation to the Being, feel grateful. As you breath out relax your mind and be assured all is well, everything is going to be OK. 
Don't wait for the perfect conditions to learn something new. Start now. If you are thinking of a friend you want to talk to, call them now.
You are feeling this is the end of world, nothing is going right for you? Remember, it is just a moment that will pass too. You are part of this universe that has gone through infinite changes and continuously does. You have that power of change in you. You have the power to be happy.

If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

We own every situation we are in and should take full responsibility for it.
You cannot control all life events, but you can control how you feel. Believe that every problem has a solution. If you continue to get lost in your egoistic endeavors, you will remain in the constant cycle of loss and pain. Break this cycle of unrealistic hopes. If you feel emotionally down, don't look for answers now. Wait till your mind is clear of all the noise. For now, just be aware of the thoughts that come to your mind. Don't fight them. And don't glue yourself to them to continue crying for what happened.
Welcome every moment as the last you will have or the first you ever had.

There are many times I feel lost and doubt God's power. The meditation, the knowledge I get from reading books or meeting people, of what 'use' is it to me? But every time I have come to only one conclusion - and that is, as soon as you keep yourself separated from worldly 'norms' and 'pleasures' and 'the rat race', the fear of 'something bad' and your mind is in the 'Now', there is place for only peace and happiness. And that is the aim in life isn't it?
You ease into the worldly 'norms'. You experience the 'pleasure' of being alive. You win your 'rat race' because these are your own mind made. The 'something bad' you think will happen is ALL in your mind. So just relax your mind. Your present moment was your future in your past. Got it? So you have the choice how you want to live it or rather I should say, how you want your future to be. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't give up

With practice, you come to realize that our life experiences relate directly to our psychological wellness, habitual consciousness and our understanding of the purpose of life. Practicing meditation takes you closer to your inner self and makes way to live life with the higher understanding and maturity.    

However, many times we tend to go back to the old patterns of crying and wining and worrying i.e. shifting attention from 'now' to that unreal moments of 'what ifs' or 'whys'. 
Our lives and minds are trained to go back to the relentless circle of worry, regrets, chaos, sadness, fear. Being on the path of spiritual awakening can be a continuous struggle. But don't give up. 

When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’ ~ Unknown. 

There are so many energy flows around us that can cause us to sway away to the 'easy mind trick' to go back to the comfortable and those familiar feelings of anxiety and helplessness. One of the things I have noticed to influence me is the health of the body. Hunger, thirst and lack of sleep seem to be obvious reasons but are easily ignored. Attend to the health of the body. 
Negative influences and or people who always complain or never find time to talk about good things. If possible we could try and talk to them to help them know their true potential. But until you get to yours and if they are affecting your progress, better to avoid them.
Believe it or not but full moons and new moons can cause enough energy to make you loose 'your center'. Ever felt restless for no reason? Check the lunar calendar :)
And of course hormones! Do I say more? 

Know that you can get back to your inner core as quickly as your next breath. Breath-in to connect to the Life Source and breath-out and relax all the thoughts that cross your mind. By nature, we are at peace. We are full of love. We have got a small shot at life (earthly life, don't know what is after). Live every now and breath every moment. Separate out the situations you are in, from your true nature. Whatever are those situations, be present.
If you know the situation that you are in will continue for some more time, will you wait to be happy after it changes? Then it may be your whole lifetime because you are trusting your mind to decide if you are happy; and mind keeps changing the definition of happiness with situations.

"The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away."
~Joy J. Golliver

This post is mainly to say that Life's gift is right next to overcoming small barriers. Don't give up. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Flying Utah to SFO

The best part of the whole trip was the flight back from Utah to SFO. Our flight was around 8:30 pm giving us perfect view of the canyons, valleys and the great salt lake. Here are pictures I took from my iPhone.

The view outside the window seemed all a dream, something I've never seen, not known and completely unreal. Magnificent, huge, marvelous!

"It is good to know our universe. What is new is only new to us." ~Pearl S. Buck
Get the flash player here:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Short trip to Salt Lake City

"Learning the gentle art of going nowhere in particular and bumping into things can help spark your creativity-wherever it is you find yourself." Picked this line from Unleash your creativity (52 Brilliant Ideas).
Our short trip to Salt Lake City last weekend turned out to be this definition spelled out loud.

We had to use some of our air miles before they expired on July 31. We did not know what place to pick or what to plan. Somehow, with the fixed air miles in hand we randomly picked Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mind you, this place is many many miles away from the Zion National Park or the great Yellow Stone. We had two choices, either to drive out of Salt Lake City to visit the National Parks which meant we will be on the road for 2 out of 3 days or stay local and see what we can find. And we are glad we chose the later.

The small town of Salt Lake City is a beautiful, well planned city with gorgeous mountains surrounding it on one side. The Winter Olympics 2002 was hosted here and you can see that event has managed to make the city well organised with good public transport services. I can imagine what a sight it would be during the winters.

First day we walked out of the hotel to find the temperatures soaring to the high 95. Travelling from San Francisco, this could be killing. We wanted to get back to the room, but saw a big farmer's market/art festival in a park middle of the city. I am so glad, I convinced Navin to drop the idea of going to the same old restaurant joints but instead eat at the park. We enjoyed some yummy Indian chicken stuffed dosas and yummy Caribbean grill.

There were all kinds of things at the art fest. There were jewelry, wall hangings, glass artistry, paintings. I bought a cute apple coral necklace at the fair. When I bought it, the owner tells another lady, now this necklace has reached the right house. Spooky!? I don't know what she meant but I was surprised the way she was referring to the accessory as a pet.

The best part of the day was watching a group of college students performing a form of Martial Arts; called Capoeira; it is a Brazilian Martial art that is based on the rhythm of music and is more like a dance combined with physical moves. Here are 2 videos I managed to take (with the Caribbean food plate in one hand and Navin getting angry that I may spill the food; but I managed to do both; shoot as well as savor the food later).
The music was very captivating and addictive. I was humming the song all day long. It has this special strong energy that can lift and energize you.

The other attraction of the city is the beautiful Temple Square and the beautiful Assembly hall.
One of  the days, we enjoyed some yummy momos and authentic Quanty Masala in a Nepali restaurant called
Himalayan Kitchen. BTW, you'll be surprised if I tell you, going to this restaurant was the only agenda we had in our Itinerary. One of our friends who had been to Salt Lake City had mentioned the restaurant and of course other things to do; but we etched the dinner plan even before we started out from San Francisco.

Overall a short and sweet visit to a new unknown city with loads of memories. 

Get the flash player here:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meditation - what to expect

Meditation is the ability to be in a state of awareness which is beyond place, whats going on around you, thoughts in your mind and beyond time. With practice, you have the ability to meditate anytime and any place. This meditative state is inherent to everyone of us. But gets lost somewhere amidst the train of thoughts approaching and leaving our mind.

The whole idea is to focus on one thing such that you stop the flow of thoughts and completely relax and get connected to the inner stillness. It could be looking at an object while concentrating on the breath. Somebody told me how cooking was meditative to her as it relaxed and calmed her mind. In the Art of Living Silent course, there was a meditation session that used physical pain to focus. For some people it is praying and chanting while for others it is cooking or exercising or going out for a walk. Everything is a theory, so if something works for you, go with it.

How do I meditate?
I usually start with Art of living short Kriya or the last breathing rounds. That way I am able to relax and become aware of the thoughts. I imagine 'me' as a being who is beyond the thoughts and just acknowledge any thought that comes to my mind. I can listen to the silence around me. Then I use one of this below techniques.
Become aware that you are in a room, which is part of the house, your parking lot, your city, all trees you saw during your walks in the parks, the mountains. You then slowly move your awareness of your being in the country, the other side of the earth, the relativity to sun, the moon, planets, solar system, galaxies and so on. As I do that, my mind becomes so quite that I feel I am part of the space in the universe.

All this sounds fiction. Isn't it? I am finding it funny as I type this but this is what I do and works for me. I picked this process (or like process) from Love yourself like your life depends on it, by Ravikant. There is a some special power you experience when you imagine yourself being part of the bigger part of this universe.
I keep my mind focused on my breath all the time.
Sometimes I try the other way round, where I imagine my whole body, the organs, blood, the cells, the particles in the cell and so on till I get to the electrons. That energy, the space between those particles. I feel part of that.

Do I get cut out from everything in this state?
Not at all. I don't know about others, but I don't. I can still hear if my phone rings. I can still hear if the water tap next to my room is opened. But I am relaxed to a point where I just want to continue breathing. I just want to continue observing the stillness, the quietness. The breath is so slow, like a baby.

How can I make use of meditation other than the time I actually sit to meditate?
Well, its the honey you have tasted. You have been in touch with the innermost core of yourself; which I have believed to be love.
As I breath in, I tell myself how much I love myself and think of the meditative state I know of. As I breath out, if there were any other thoughts I say 'OK'. I know I don't have to deal with them at that time. But I don't want to stop them either.

What is the Success Rate of this whole process?
There are times I sit for 1/2 hour and I feel I was in there for 5 minutes. Other times I sit for 5 minutes and I feel it is 1/2 hour.
The success depends on how much you work hard. No, no. You don't need to work hard to meditate; in fact it should be just the opposite; effortless. The effort is in getting yourself to spare some time of your day to meditate; those 10 minutes you want to invest on yourself. To leave the bed of laziness and sit on the floor of meditation.

It was challenging for me to make meditation as a everyday process. I still don't get time everyday. I had promised myself that I would make it regular and used to get very disappointed if I missed a schedule. But with practice, I am learning that we don't have to be over critical to ourselves. Just listen to the moment. Make sure you have a comfortable and quite place to meditate and the will to. If not, no point wasting time, you rather do something else.

The power of being in the moment of 'now' is magical. If I struggle and keep getting distracted, I simply observe the frustration and my reaction to that situation. And slowly I am learning that this process can be applied to everything in life. Every situation, emotion, interactions, likes, dislikes, communication and so on.

Key is to keep the light of life alive through love and being in the now. Through meditation or other ways. It could be thanking small things in life, awareness meditation where you focus on everything you do like while eating, taste the food, bite every piece of food. Be aware of every moment like walking, hugging someone, talking and so on. Observing the trees and birds when you go out for a walk. Watch a baby laugh or cry.
Nature gives us all the opportunities; we just need to be present.