Tag Archives: acceptance

Beyond Family and Food – Five Non-Typical Things I am Thankful for

27 Nov

It has snowed here, in New Jersey, yesterday and our street has been a true winter wonderland.

Thanksgiving. Today is the day when all of a sudden we take time to be grateful for all the awesomeness in our lives. We thank the Universe/God/ the Source/Mother Nature for our families, friends, houses, cars, food, jobs, money, and health.

I am just too busy to count my blessings, and I am the first to admit that. Moreover, when you constantly count your blessings, they stop, well, being so special. Blessings become norm. Things that are norm becomes things that we take for granted. I am not sure what the ultimate time frame is to count your blessings but definitely not every day. I know, it sounds so anti-self-help!

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for five of a very uncommon things:

1. Electricity. Electricity lets me study, write, enjoy movies, speak to friends, stay warm, and explore opportunities. It lets me do my job well, and be a productive student at Seton Hall. Electricity is the bomb. Have a look at some people in India – zero electricity. Definitely something to thankful for.

2. My mother. My mother has always drilled me: I want my daughter to leave this forsaken country (Russia) and go live somewhere in the West (Europe/U.S.). Well, here I am, for many years now, at least 14. And as much as we do NOT get alone with mom, I am thankful for her pushing me to get a better life. She now resents me for leaving Russia and not taking care of her yet I am glad I live far away. I am my own person.

3. Valentina Nefedova. She is my English tutor and the only teacher I had contact with for many years growing up. I was homeschooled since fourth grade yet foreign languages were the only subjects my mom believed in. I resent her for that because when it was time for me to go to college, my gaps in knowledge for other disciplines were tremendous! But, Valentina really had opened my eyes on the subject that I was gifted in the area of foreign languages and that was my absolute strength. I am grateful that such an individual was put into my path while I was little. She helped me, in her own unique way, go out and get a build a better life outside of Russia. She has sewn the first seeds of my “Westernization”.

4. Myself. I am thankful for myself. I appreciate the way I am and cherish all of the decisions, good and bad, that I have made. All the challenges and difficulties I have faced, all the storms I have weathered out, all the obstacles I had to overcome.  I am grateful to myself for being strong. learning from my mistakes, not being afraid to be humble, and persevering in spite of difficulties. I have a long way to go, and there are days when I still crumble and cry and rage yet I always recuperate, dust myself off, and continue on my life quest.

5. United States. I know, I know, let the comments begin. But I love this country. Although an ethnic Russian, born and raised in Russia, I am honored to be able to live, work, vote, own property, travel all over, and even pay taxes here, in the U.S. I am grateful for the ability to use twitter, to have gay friends, to take doctoral courses, to blog freely, to criticize the President, and ask questions of political leaders. I know this country still has SO MUCH work to do yet it has already made such great strides.

Well, here you have it. Now, what are the five non-typical things you are grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Please comment below and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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How difficult…

22 Nov

Last September a good friend of mine has suggested that I write to my brother and my mother both, trying to build a bridge. As many of you know, my mother and I do not enjoy a very good relationship. In fact, most if the time, we argue, hate each other and do not see each other’s views.

Over the past few years I have been trying so hard to understand why my mother is so bitter, miserable and angry. I go through good days and bad days but, for the most part, it’s bad. Whenever I call, I have to mentally prepare myself for her spewing anger, guilt tripping and hurtful comments.

This September I have also written to my older brother-hoping to bridge the gap because, let’s be honest, one day mom and dad will pass away. And there only will be two people-him and I. In that letter, I have apologized (although I am not sure for what), explained why mom and I have such a bad relationship, and asked whether we can keep in touch and be civil.

When I called this morning, mom notified me that she had read the letter that was intended for my brother and accused me of judging her parenting techniques and attitudes. Words cannot describe the immense anger and insidious comments how much I suck as a daughter. Well, she sucks as a mother. That letter was never intended for her and shame on my brother for refusing to read it and instead, knowing what terrible relationship my mom and I have, passing it to her. What a coward. A supreme coward.

Bottom line, that relationship with mom and my brother has not been mended. It will not be mended. I have done my part. And I am not sure what else I can do.

Practice What You Preach

19 Oct

As you may know, I work with myself continuously on becoming a better person: more compassionate, accepting, loving, and grateful. I try to consciously spread love around, even if the objects do not display any love towards me (rude drivers, nasty sales people, people knocking o my door to involve me in their religion, etc.). Sometimes I slip into “I just want to let those people know exactly what I think about them!!! [insert angry face here].

This morning, I had an opportunity to practice what I preach (compassion, acceptance, love, and understanding). Continue reading

Do What Is Right, Not What Is Easy – Clarifying Your Values

23 May

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I am currently enrolled in a “Becoming Resilient Person” course offered free of charge by University of Washington, and, more specifically, an EdX platform. This course is a MOOC which stands for massive open online course. 

Last week we had to reflect and clarify our life values and perform a Bull’s eye activity. Continue reading

Let Go of Control

14 May

Oh sweet expression “I am in control!”… How much I love you. And how much anxiety you brought me… 

A simple truth rings in my ears tonight: “Let go of the desire to control. You can control only three things: your thoughts, your actions and your attitude.” You can NEVER control the outcomes of your decisions or other people’s actions. A simple truth yet so hard to live by…

I’d like to share this 10 minutes meditation from David Ji – 

The best 10 minutes you can invest in yourself

I did it yesterday, twice and plan on doing it again today. It is amazing: http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/guided-meditations/let-go-of-the-need-to-control

Try it out. And remember – you control nothing except your own feelings, actions, and attitude.

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Buddha’s birthday

4 May

Buddha’s birthday date is really unknown except for the fact that it was around this time of year. SoShimSa Buddhist temple is celebrating it today. This is the time to ask for wishes and hang them up on a lotus. I certainly did 🙂

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Make this your best day… Ever

22 Apr

We never know whether today will be our last day. Make it count by not stressing because of petty things, appreciate every moment and slow down. Good morning!

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