Tag Archives: best life

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

Soothing Tea

7 Aug

I have brought many types of tea from India and Nepal. yesterday, I tried one of them out -Rose tea. It was delicious and fragrant.

Today I plan on making the infamous (and very good) Masala tea or spice tea.

Tea made me long for my parents – growing up in Russia, we have always had tea. Every day, several times, you will have tea: morning, afternoon, evening.

This week I have been busy and productive with many things: curriculum revision, doctoral classes, unpacking my travel fotos, cooking healthy meals, cleaning the house, attending professional deleopment workshops, putting together presentations for StaffCollege, participating in PLN tweetchats, etc. I have also been going for morning walks in the neighborhood.

I am curious, how do you enshure that your day in productive? Do you make a list? Do you prioritize it? Do you determine three most important things? Do you reflect afterwards?



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.



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:

DSC_0015-001 DSC_0054-001 DSC_0163 DSC_0294-001 DSC_0303-001 DSC_0101

(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.



TLCs – Therapeutic Life Choices

20 Jun


TLCs – Therapeutic Life Choices

As I continue my quest with “Becoming a Resilient Person” with University of Washington, I have just made my way through week 6. Week 6 is dedicated to TLCs–Therapeutic Life Choices– easy and accessible ways to enhance your well-being and health.

Here is my weekly reflection on TLCs:

1. How did the therapeutic lifestyle change activities go for you this week? Did you notice any benefits in your mood, how you felt, how you dealt with stress?

It was good to find out some concrete techniques on how to introduce positive change into my life style. In general, my life style is good – I care about my well being, cultivate mind-body connection, and find time for leisure and relaxation.

I have decided to honestly evaluate all six TLCs and make any necessary changes.

#1 Exercise – inconsistent and, sometimes, non-existent

#2 Sleep – inconsistent bed times, and wake ups. Need to fix

#3 Eating – generally good (fruit, veggies, water, green tea). At times of high stress – terrible (cupcakes, cookies and ice cream). Should not BUY these things the it’s easier. Also, eating in front of the TV, restless eating, not mindful.

#4 Spend time in nature – very good. Hiking, taking walks, sitting outside.

#5 Finding Time for Leisure – average. I travel, and I love to blog. Also reading, but it may belong to the next category.

#6 Scheduling time for relaxation. Generally, I am very good with it – I go to SoShimSa for my weekly meditation, read books, do deep breathing exercises, reflect and blog. I also garden.

2) Based on your experience, how do you think therapeutic lifestyle changes could help people be happier, healthier, and more effective in life?

When I employ the above mentioned strategies, I feel like I am living a full, well rounded life. I feel like I make time to not only work and take care of the responsibilities but also to enjoy my life as a calm, whole person that is not swamped with obligations but has time both work and play.

3) What was challenging about practicing the therapeutic lifestyle changes?

Oh, it is just so tempting to keep working, to do one more task, clean one more room, watch one more episode, eat one more cookie… STOP, and reflect what is meaningful and what is beneficial. Does this action truly benefit me? Nine of of ten times it was a NO

4) What are your plans about continuing the therapeutic lifestyle changes in the future?

I will persevere and keep myself in check. I will review the six TLCs and incorporate them into my daily life. Perhaps I can hold myself accountable by reviewing them every morning?

Seven False Beliefs That Are Holding You Back in Life

19 Jun
  • “I can’t tell the truth because I may get judged…”
  • “I don’t want to get close to this person lest my heart gets broken…”
  • “I don’t want to ask for what I want because, what if I get rejected?”
  • “I can’t trust people because I’ve been betrayed before…”
  • “I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t know what I’d do if I fail…”
  • “I can’t do X because of Y…”

Sounds familiar? 🙂

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People worksheet

30 Mar

My bedroom is my sanctuary. Every Sunday, I make sure I have at least two hours to dedicate to myself and my mental wellbeing. I sit in my bedroom, with a closed door, and I plan, strategize, review my goals, give thanks, and evaluate the past week.

I have started using Steven Covey’s worksheet. It allows you to see yourself as a person that wears many hats: wife, daughter, teacher, student, friend, etc. and then you set goals for each role. You also schedule activities that benefit your wellbeing, called “sharpening the saw” activities. Such activities include reading, exercise, meditation, calling a friend, volunteering, spending time with your pets, writing, and perhaps even knitting?

I have looked at the past week and saw that I have accomplished SO much. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for being productive. Usually I feel like I have not done anything but then I wonder as to why I am so tired at the end of the week… After looking at the past week’s worksheet, it was clear that I have been extremely productive and proactive. It is clear that I have taken care of my mind and my body, in addition to having a full time job, taking doctoral classes and being a good wife and friend.

I am proud of myself and my body and mind. Apart from doing an outstanding job at my full time job, I have had tutoring sessions with a student thus earning extra money to put towards my travel.
Apart from being a diligent doctoral student, I have reached out to our board of education and filed for tuition reimbursement.
In addition, I have spent quality time with my hubby and made sure the house is clean, warm and welcoming.
Apart from all that I did strength training two times, went for a refreshing walk once, and went to two 90 minute hot yoga classes yesterday and today. On Thursday I have gone to SoShimSa for an extended sitting of meditation. Yesterday I have dedicated two full hours to reading my book called NW.

I have also bonded with a friend over lunch and had written a long overdue email to a friend of mine in Switzerland. A and I have watched a film last night and had dinner and talked.

I have just read what I have written and I am amazed at how productive I have been for the past week. In general, I am a very active kind of person, but I have never actually taken into account all the things I do during the week and on a weekend.

I’d like to ask my readers, how do you evaluate your week? Is there a tool you would like to share? Thank you so much!

My Random Act of Kindness – Family Dollar

14 Feb


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! How is your day, so far?

Mine has been amazing. 

I’d like to share my random act of kindness that was done at my local Family Dollar store. 

After I had gone to the bank and cashed my tutoring checks (extra income that I get from tutoring my students), I have asked the cashier to please give me $20 in all singles. I then drove to the local dollar store, and, using my post-it notes, started leaving these one dollar bills in random places in the dollar store. I left one in Valentine’s Day decorations section, one in frozen food isle, one in  candy isle, one in oral hygiene isle, one in cleaning supplies isle. Bread isle, chips and pretzels, aluminum foil, make-up, ramen noodles and pasta… Pretty much all over the store until I ran out of all 20 singles.

One lady saw me do this and asked whether she can take one. I said of course, you can take them all if you’d like. Her eyes moistened and she smiled. She then gave me a hug muttering “God bless you” under her breath. Afterwards, I saw a young kid taking a picture of the dollar bill with his phone. A Hispanic couple were smiling and speaking to each other “Mira, que cosa mas linda!” (Look, it’s a beautiful thing!)

I have left the store shortly after leaving all of my dollar bills behind. My heart was full, my mind – at peace, my eyes soft and ready to spill. 

Below are some pictures.



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