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Monday Gratitude

24 Nov

Good morning,
It is Monday, again. And although this is a short week for me-two and a half days- I am trying to not look forward to Wednesday 11:45am – when we all get off work.
This Monday, I am simply trying to be thankful for this one Monday. Thankful for the fact that I am up, alive, healthy, warm and loved. That I am not hungry or scared. I am safe, living in a house in an amazing neighborhood. Thankful for the fact that I have somewhere to be- my job and my university, afterwards.
Monday’s are tough for me, period. I work for 8 hours then I go to the university and sit through another 5 hours of doctoral classes. Well, you know. For a while, I stopped seeing the forest through the trees and got disconnected from my life values.
Today I will try to e connected to who I really am, and to go through this day in touch with my life values.
Have a great day, everyone!

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Saturday gratitude

2 Nov

Lately I have been so busy that I may have fell out of touch with my values. I felt uncomfortable, scared, vulnerable. Partly because some petty problems arose this past week – a company screwed up our bill, condo association raised their fees, co-workers were hostile and uncooperative, research papers came back, crushed. But. But. The bill was straightened out (their fault). Association have not raised their fees in 3 years and it only added about 11 dollars to our bill, co-workers will get over their problems on their own, research papers will be edited and sent back. It’s life. Something always comes up. Always. Just when you think you have everything under your control, something happens. One thing or the other. I think the secret is to look at those small, petty problems with a philosophical outlook- they come and they go kind of approach.

Yesterday, A and I went for a lovely, fall walk. Although it was cold, the air was so fresh and the leaves so magnificent!

Fall. Saturday. Pumpkins. Party.

26 Oct

I have read somewhere that reflecting on life on a regular basis is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.

As I lie in bed, I give thanks for the day well lived and for having this opportunity to relax and think. Hubby is watching TV downstairs and I am cuddled up with my computer in my bedroom. A warm feeling envelopes me as I write.

Today was a really good day. I was up early at 6am and started doing housework. I then called my mother and talked to her for about an hour. For those of you who know about my relationship with mom, also know that it is strenuous to say the least. But today we had a good conversation.

Apart from putting in a couple of hours for my doctoral work, I also had time to enjoy this beautiful day. For instance, I raked leaves 🙂 wpid-20141025_143006.jpg          wpid-20141025_143328.jpg       wpid-20141025_143319.jpg

Although my hubby has a leaf blower, I chose to use a rake. My arms were aching at the end. And I even met a wooly bear (see above). He was shy, I put him into the grass.

Then, our neighbors had their annual Carve Your Own Pumpkin Party and Contest… The gist was, you come, you bring your own pumpkin, you carve it, you compete with other people. We decided to carve a clown from “It” by Steven King, and here are some photos that describe the process:

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The party itself was a lot of fun as well. I think Joelle and Quinn spent at least two weeks planning this thing – I mean, they thought of everything! Seating arrangements, tools for pumpkin carving, design ideas, snacks, drinks, heating lamps, fire pits, Halloween lights, contest prizes!

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Everything was beautiful, color coordinated and nicely arranged. When we were all done, pumpkins were places on the front stairs of their house, and all of went it to have dinner. After dinner (which consisted of hearty dishes like macaroni and cheese and chili), we all came out to judge our pumpkins:

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Our “It” clown didn’t win but we love him nonetheless 🙂 Here is A., with our pumpkin, before and after 🙂

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We had an amazing time, thanks to our neighbors that hosted this unique party.  How was your Saturday night and what do you do to enjoy this beautiful time of year?

 

 

So stressed…

14 Sep

This Sunday afternoon and…

I was feeling just. So. Stressed.
Continue reading

12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People

13 Aug

12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People
EMMA RUSHTON via lifehack.org

I’ve read countless articles about what successful people do on their weekends. Do you want to know the secret? It’s the same thing that they do every other day. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Here are 12 weekend habits of highly successful people:

1. Robert Iger: Get up early
This Disney CEO is not the only executive claiming to rise at 4:30 every morning. Successful people do not stay in bed until 2 p.m. on a Sunday. Or even 11 a.m. Research shows that our brains are sharpest two and a half to four hours after waking. Get up early on a weekend and you’ve got a head start on the rest of the world.

2. Benjamin Franklin: Have a plan
Apparently, this founding father asked himself every morning, “What good shall I do today?” Successful people know the importance of even daily goals — the weekends are no exception. Sure, they can be a time for (planned and purposeful) rejuvenation, but you don’t have to be President to know that general slacking off is not an option.

3. Timothy Ferris: Don’t multi-task
Multi-tasking is so 2005. It may be tempting to maximize your weekend productivity by running on the treadmill while calling your mother and trolling your newsfeed, but successful people know that this just reduces efficiency and effectiveness. Instead, be present for each single activity. Ferris recommends a maximum of two goals or tasks per day to ensure productivity and accomplishments align.

4. Anna Wintour: Stay active
Vogue’s editor-in-chief commits to playing tennis for one hour every day. And she’s not the only big-shot making time for exercise. Richard Branson stays active with kite surfing and India’s fourth-richest billionaire is a serial marathon runner. Successful people know the importance of an active body for an active mind — weekends included. If nothing else, it will also counteract that glass of wine and cheese platter from Saturday night.

5. Steve Jobs: Prioritize what’s important
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” Weekends are the time to remind yourself of the forgotten little things — to keep your work-life harmony (the new ‘balance’) in check and reset if needed. Spending time with your friends, children or partner might not directly increase profits that day or propel you into the limelight, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Even the current US President famously makes time to sit down for dinner with his family.

6. Warren Buffet: Make time for hobbies
He may be considered the most successful investor of the 20th century, but in his “spare” time Buffett likes to play the ukulele. Successful people are often interesting people — and their hobbies have a lot to do with that. Sure, golfing on Saturdays can be a great way to network and source business opportunities. But, even solo hobbies — knitting like Meryl Streep or oil painting like George W. Bush — can aid success through fostering creativity and relieving stress.

7. Oprah: Practice stillness
Forbes’ most powerful celebrity of 2013 still finds time to sit in stillness for 20 minutes — twice a day! This once-best-kept secret of the yogis is now common knowledge. Even the corporate world is acknowledging the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for reducing stress, improving productivity, facilitating creativity and maintaining general well-being. The weekends can often be busier than week days with attempting to cram in chores, exercise, family commitments, social engagements and more into a 48-hour period. The most successful people take daily time out for stillness, weekends included. They don’t call it a meditation “practice” for nothing.

8. Randi Zuckerberg: Forget FOMO, Embrace JOMO
We’ve all done it — posted a tastefully filtered snap of our weekend antics or checked in on social media to elicit “likes” and envy from our friends/followers (#bragging). Enter, the era of FOMO (fear of missing out). On weekends, we’re even more prone to FOMO. But the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media (and, you guessed it, the sister to Facebook’s creator) says people should be focusing on JOMO (the joy of missing out) — the mantra that “there is nowhere I’d rather be than exactly where I am.” Successful people are often competitive, high achievers by nature — practicing an attitude of gratitude and resisting social-media-induced FOMO is key for a happy weekend. And isn’t happiness the real marker of success?

9. Bill Gates: Take time to reflect
The founder of Microsoft famously said, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Reflection should be a daily practice but the weekends are a perfect opportunity to step back and reflect on the lessons of the previous week and to make improvements for the next. Author of “The Happiness Project,” Gretchen Rubin, suggests starting a “one sentence journal” to encourage daily reflection. Make Saturday or Sunday your day to flick back through the week’s entries!

10. Richard Branson: Give back
This billionaire entrepreneur says that “it is amazing how focusing your mind on issues like health, poverty, conservation and climate change can help to re-energize your thinking in other areas.” Successful people agree with Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor from giving.” Tom Corley studied the rich for five years before writing his book “Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” He found that 73% of wealthy people volunteer for five or more hours per month. Nothing helps put things in perspective and reduce stress more than helping those less fortunate. Weekends are a great time to get involved in local and community volunteer events.

11. Jack Dorsey: Get ready for the rest of the week
The Twitter and Square co-founder is notorious for 16-hour work days from Monday to Friday but says, “Saturday I take off. I hike. And then Sunday is reflections, feedback, strategy and getting ready for the rest of the week.” Forget Sunday blues, let’s call it “Sort-Your-Life-Out Sunday.” Laura Vanderkam, author of “What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend,” says successful people know that weekends are actually the secret weapon in professional success: “You need to hit Monday ready to go.”

12. Jay Z: Keep up the momentum
He’s made an empire as a highly successful rap artist and entrepreneur, and the secret is right there in his lyrics: “You can want success all you want, but to get it, you can’t falter. You can’t slip. You can’t sleep. One eye open, for real, and forever.” (Decoded) Jay Z didn’t become worth $520 million by only wanting it five out of seven days of the week. If you want to eventually spend your weekends on a luxury yacht in the Caribbean with Beyoncé, unrelenting grit and persistence might just get you there. Well, we can always dream, right?

Questions to ponder:

1. How do you measure up when it comes to weekends?

2. How would you LIKE your weekend to look like? 

3. What are some of the productivity strategies you can share with all of us? 

You may answer in the comments section,or, you may write your own post and link up this post to it. 

Looking forward to reading your insight!

 

India and Nepal Adventure – What Have I Learned?

2 Aug

It has been almost a week since I am back home from my grand, 32 day India and Nepal adventure. In this post I will try to asnswer some reflective questions that I, myself, created to help me gain perspective and give you a glimpse into this adventure.

1. What are some of the highlights of this trip?

There are so many! But I think Taj Mahal will always stay with me for it was so GRAND and stately. And I know it’s a real “staple” of Indian culture, however, it was a simmetrical perfection! We were there in a low season so it was not as crowded. I kept thinking: “You have been to TAJ!” How many people can say that? I am lucky, no doubt about it.

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Additionally, thoughout the whole trip, simple people have touched my heart in many ways. A girl standing in the rain, a lady washing her clothes at a monkey temple, an old man reading the newspaper, a young girl feeding a mango to her child, a woman praying… There were so many interesting/intriguing/fascinating photo opportunities! Some photo moments were private but because of my zoom lense, I could stay far away and not interfere with the activities those people were doing. Here are (just some, very few) examples:

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(all these photos are from India)

Bottom line, you can travel to 20 countries, see every single monument, but usually it’s simple people that make your trip all worth it.

2. What are some of the low lights of this trip?

Oh, so many! Logistically, India and Nepal are hard to travel in, with their tourist industry still developing. Overnight train rides were not fun, neither were extreme temperatures! In India we had to wait 1.5 hours for our food to come out. I tried to refrain from whining so I would whine silently to myself. Poverty was a big low point, with people living under bridges, in terrible conditions. No clean water was another one. Lack of opportunity and a fair shot at life – another. Cast system! Children begging on the streets, disabled people trying to get your attention at train stations. Flies! Cow extrement in the middle of the road! Treatment of animals in general!

3. What have I learned from this trip?

Every day I would write in my travel diary how lucky I feel to be an American and to be living in the U.S. I was so proud to say that I am from the United States of America

As a United States citizen we get respect, services, benefits from our government. There is equal opportunity for everyone, a fair shot at life (for the most part). There are laws, regulations and consequences. There is clean water! I can pour a glass of tap water right now and drink it and be ok. We live in a house as big as some embassies in Kathmandu. I can complain and make use of due process. I can make fun of Obama! I can be gay or I can be straight!I can write a blog entry, even though English is not my native language and the blog is bad!  I can take a jog in my neighborhood without stepping into cow feces. I can breathe in a lung full of clean air and I can spend time in the park. My kids can go to school, for free. I can see a doctor any time I feel sick. I have a choice in reagrds to how I want to live my life.

Clearly, my major takeway is being grateful for where I live and for all the amenities I can enjoy on a regular basis. It’s the little things in life that count. Let’s take a moment and thank the Universe for all the things we have, even if it’s tap water.

 

 

My New Neighborhood

21 Jun

This morning I have ventured out into my new neighborhood with my camera.

Plainfield, New jersey has a very bad reputation but certain areas of Plainfield are really nice, A former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevy, lives in Plainfield – his house is an ivy covered colonial. Check out some of the houses in my neighborhood – some of them are so beautiful and just full of old charm.

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