Motivation For A Rainy Day

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: on a rainy day…) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Here is one awesome “quick fix” for your day especially if, like me on this rainy afternoon, setting yourself in a productive motion proves to be quite tricky.  On a day like today, for example, I find myself asking, “How can I best manage my time?”  In my research of time management and goal setting, here is what I learned.

All you can really do is your best to use the time you have and make the most of it.  Focus on being effective with the time given rather than practicing busyness.  Being busy does not necessarily  mean that effectiveness is your experience.  Proper planning may be required.  Start by identifying your goal.  Then, manage your tasks by labeling them either high priority or low priority.  Spend your time and attention taking care of those high priority items rather than busying yourself with those low on your list.  When deciding if an item or activity is worth doing, ask yourself, “Is this necessary, and will doing this move me closer to my goal?”  If your answer is no, then it may be in your best interest to release that low priority item.  Simply let it go.  If it’s not all that important, why waste your time doing it?  Freed up time could be better used doing something you enjoy!

And remember….

“YOUR ENVIRONMENT DOES NOT MATTER.

Everything starts with YOU.

You must FORGE yourself through your own efforts.

CREATE something,

START something,

and MAKE A SUCCESS of something.

That is the ESSENCE of human existence, the CHALLENGE of youth.

Herein lies a WONDERFUL WAY OF LIFE always aiming for the future.”

-Daisaku Ikeda in From Today & Tomorrow

A Recipe for Absolute Happiness

A Recipe for Absolute Happiness

Ingredients you will need:

A living, breathing life.

3-5 Troubles

2 Obstacles

1 Unexpected Problem

Confidence

Joy

Strength

3 ounces of calm

1 cup of wisdom

A whole lot of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

Directions:

Take your ONE living, breathing life and sprinkle in 3 to 5 troubles.  Next, add in the 2 obstacles and stir.  Allow time for the experience to get a bit hectic.  Just when you think you can’t handle anymore,  throw in that 1 unexpected problem and watch it burn.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  Allow that ONE living, breathing life to experience the chaos this cooking will bring.  Notice what happens and continue to feel the smoldering flame of discomfort.  Stay present and maintain control as best as you can.  Bring everything to a slow and steady simmer.  Easy does it.  Allow your creation to sit for one hour with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.  Observe the life force of your ONE living, breathing being.  Give the life condition time to elevate.  Next, add in a dash of confidence and a heap of strength.  Throw in 5 cups of joy and 2 ounces of calm.  Continue cooking with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.  You’ll know you’ve reached readiness when those 3 to 5 problems have turned into 3 to 5 benefits, those 2 obstacles are perceived as 2 strengths, and that 1 unexpected problem has become the best thing that ever happened to you.  Voila! You now have absolute happiness.  Now, continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, repeat, and enjoy!

Human Revolution in a Nutshell

June 6, 2011 by Mary Logan. Morning Butterfly. Photo 93242 of 100627; Previous · Next. Added: June 6, 2011. File Size: 48.62 kb. Resolution: 800×800

A human revolution is an inner transformation, a modern day expression of what it means to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.  When chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, a transformation takes place.  This involves freeing oneself from the four evil paths of hell, hunger, animality, and anger and moving into the world of bodhisattva and Buddhahood.  By entering into a continual process of self-improvement, one’s highest potential is brought forth.  A human revolution is about growth and achievement right now.  One can let go of the past, experience the present, and move forward into the future with compassion and vitality.  Chanting brings forth the greater self,  allowing one to let go of selfish tendencies and the needs of the ego and instead focus on the happiness and well-being of others.  “Using the example of cherry, peach, plum, and damson blossoms, Nichiren teaches that each unique entity, just as it is, possesses Buddhahood.  The essence of Nichiren Buddhism is for each individual to reveal from within his or her own true and highest potential.  There’s no need to pretend, try to be someone you’re not, to be impatient and anxious or to doubt yourself.  The Soka path of mentor and disciple is a great path of victory and happiness that will enable you to shine your brightest and in your own unique way.” (September 19th, 2008 World Tribune)

Alkaline Is Very Fine

By unknown master (book scan) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Cancer breeds in an acidic environment.  On the other hand, it does not grow in an alkaline one.  All the more reason to pay attention to what foods you eat.  For a quick assessment, you can get pH strips to test the level of acid in your body.  It is super easy.  Of course, the best way to balance your pH level is through food.  However, I also suggest Alkalife which are pH drops you can put in your water to boost your alkaline levels.

A sampling of acidic foods you may want to limit or avoid altogether include beef, chicken, veal, pork, eggs, hard cheese, general dairy, white bread, pistachios, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, soy sauce, vinegar, beer, coffee, and, liquor.

Yep!  That’s right folks!  Meat, dairy, and sugar are huge acidic culprits!

On the other hand, high doses of alkaline foods that you can eat a lot of and your body will love you for it include alfalfa grass, barley grass, soy sprouts, sprouted chia seeds, wheat grass, summer black radish, avocado, fresh cucumber, soy nuts, and really anything that is leafy and green.

For me, cutting chocolate, cheese, and coffee completely out is serious business.  They are my three loves.  However,  I do think it is good to pay close attention to those acidic choices and how often you are choosing them.  Keeping a food journal could be helpful and a great way to become more conscious of your dietary choices.

For more information and education on how to live an alkaline life, check out “The Alkaline Sisters” at www.alkalinesisters.com  They provide a wealth of knowledge and support with great recipes and resources.  You can also access their alkaline food chart here: http://www.alkalinesisters.com/alkaline-food-chart/  It is awesome!

Eat Your Way to Health

By Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The leading causes of death in the United States include:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease

These are just a few illnesses I chose from a long list of others.  Lead researchers in the field of nutrition and health are piling up evidence suggesting that a majority of diseases afflicting thousands of Americans each year are nutrition and diet related.  The good news is that doctors and researchers are also proving that many of these diseases are reversible through better food choices.  Watch the film Forks Over Knives or read about it yourself in the companion guide Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health.  It is a New York Times Bestseller and it comes complete with 125 recipes to get you started on the road to a healthier you!  Happy reading and eating!

http://www.amazon.com/Forks-Over-Knives-Plant-Based-Health/dp/1615190457

Lives Like Gems

Different Cultures

Different Cultures (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

Our lives are like gems.

Delighted to learn.

Possessing traditions,

and cultural treasures.

Forces for good.

Deserving of peace.

We are all human.

Comrades.

Confronting the universe.

United in the same experience

of birth, aging, sickness, and death.

(Inspired by the words of Daisaku Ikeda, World Tribune, October 18, 2013)

Use Your Voice

Yellowhammer, a declining species but still th...

Yellowhammer, a declining species but still the commonest bunting in Wales. Green (2002), p240 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Use your voice

Speak your mind.

Vibrantly.

Always being gentle

to those who

are suffering.

Refute

the erroneous.

Seek

the truth.

Take action.

Dialogue.

Seek the good

in everyone.

(Inspired by the words of Daisaku Ikeda)

Communication is Key

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: arli design)

Relationships are not always a cakewalk, and they can be even more difficult if the channels of communication are not in proper working order.  A good healthy dose of conflict isn’t necessarily bad or a sign that things are failing.  Conflict offers a chance for growth and learning about oneself and another. It does help, however, to be skillful with words and the approach.  Below is a helpful list of guidelines for improving your line of communication when obstacles arise within your relationships.

When sending messages:

1.  CONFRONT DIRECTLY rather than ignore, grumble, or give up.  Examples of confronting directly might be “Can I give you some feedback?” or “Can we talk?”

2.  DESCRIBE the behavior rather than attack the person.  For example, you might say…”When I saw…” or “When I heard you say…”

3.  INFORM rather than withhold.  When informing the other person, you might say “I thought it meant… or “I felt…” or “This is the situation as I see it…” or “I am concerned that…”

4.  ASK rather than assume.  For example, you might say “Did you realize that…” or “How did you see it?” or “What did you intend?”  Finding out what the other person was thinking can be a huge help for solving a problem instead of allowing your imagination to take control.  Throwing in an assumption can sometimes be the equivalent to adding more fuel to the fire.  It’s better to find out from the person what was happening from their perspective rather than decide what they were thinking on your own.

5.  MAKE SUGGESTIONS rather than whine or blame.  You might ask, “Could we try…” or “Would you be willing to…” or “I would be willing to…”

Finally, adding in a moment to REFLECT BACK to the person what you hear them saying allows the line of communication to be even clearer.  For example, once a message has been sent, you might respond with, “I heard you say….”  This strategy is my favorite because it allows you to be sure you heard the person correctly, and it gives the other person an opportunity to make sure that the message they are trying to get across is happening successfully.  Reflecting back demonstrates a sense of care and compassion, AND it helps everyone to feel like they’ve been heard.  I like to think of it as active communication that is respectful and responsible.  It does take patience and effort, but it’s well worth going that extra mile.  Try it out and see what happens!!

The Heart Knows

Confusion.  Its grip is unbearable.  I have even begged the question, “How much longer will this go on?”  And then it happens.  A moment presents itself, and like a brief break in the clouds, the shining rays of clarity peek through.  In that instant, I understand clear as day that doubt and uncertainty cannot continue.  I absolutely must not allow my fundamental darkness to win! There comes a time when one must simply decide to pick themselves up and dust themselves off.  Feeling sorry for oneself or maintaining a “woe is me” attitude never helped anyone.  Change is inevitable.  Decisiveness is key, and the heart knows.

Decisiveness

Decisiveness (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

In Nichiren Buddhism, it is said that our heart determines everything in our lives.  It even has the power to move the universe in the direction one desires.  Essentially, “Our hearts decide our happiness or unhappiness, fortune or misfortune” (Living Buddhism, May 2013).  At times, it seems imperative that for me to fully comprehend matters of the heart, I must become like a fish out of water.  Taking oneself out of one’s comfort zone, while difficult, can speed things along in the direction of change and growth.  In my opinion, this can be very helpful especially when you find yourself saying–”I feel stuck.”  Since your environment is a reflection of you, YOU may very well be the HEART or ROOT of the issue.  If you don’t believe me, just watch Chef Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.  In every episode, the restaurant owners complain that their business is failing, but they don’t know why or they insist that someone else is to blame.  As the show progresses, most come to realize that they are the very reason for financial failure, and if they truly want their business to change then they must change too.  Therefore, taking a good hard look at yourself and what you are responsible for (a.k.a YOUR LIFE) is a crucial first step.  The heart knows.  If you find yourself unhappy, it just may be time to take a step back, stop blaming others, and begin to find those areas where you can change.  You can always choose a different path.  Of course, in the end, no one can tell you what to do.  It is your life after all, and life is all about choice.  Therein lies the beauty.  If you don’t like the direction you are going, you get to choose a different path, a new journey, and a self-transformation.  It really is all up to you!

The Key to Creating Value

Everything begins with the resolve to take the...

Everything begins with the resolve to take the first step. From that action, wisdom arises and change begins. Without action, nothing changes. -Daisaku Ikeda (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

Last evening I sifted through the pages of my World Tribune in search for much needed encouragement.  The World Tribune is a weekly newspaper devoted to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, the SGI organization, and world peace.  I love this newspaper because I get to read all about the amazing accomplishments my fellow Buddhist members are conducting around the United States.  Daisaku Ikeda, President of the SGI, also provides guidance and support for leading happy lives with no regrets.  In this week’s World Tribune, I came across bundles of wonderful wisdom from President Ikeda that really brightened my day about how to create value in our lives.  I’m not going to share all of it, but I will share my favorite parts that I highlighted.  By the way, what you are about to read is taken from The New Human Revolution which is a series of novels that President Ikeda has written about SGI and the kosen-rufu movement to share this practice with others for the sake of world peace.

Daisaku Ikeda writes…

“It’s important to be optimistic and to look on the bright side, constantly moving forward.  There are times when, even though you’ve been chanting [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] for something, the situation doesn’t go as you wish.  But remember, there’s always a reason.  In the end, you will genuinely feel that things worked out for the best.”

“Buddhism is a teaching of value creation, and value creation begins with having the wisdom to appreciate every situation we face and transform it into joy, hope, and victory…Let’s imagine, for example, that it starts to snow.  If you react negatively, thinking about how cold and slippery it is outside, then you will have a terrible day.  But if instead you think to yourself: ‘What a rare chance it is to see such beautiful snow!  I’ll show the kids how to build a snowman and create a wonderful memory with them!–then from that moment everything will be a joy.”

“The key to value creation is to find joy and meaning in whatever happens, to courageously rise to the challenge.  To do that, we need a philosophy of life, we need wisdom, and we need life force.  In fact, that is the purpose of our faith.”

“Our personal philosophy determines how we look at things.  Whether we see events from a pessimistic or optimistic point of view, whether we take things positively or negatively, makes all the difference in the world.”

[Buddhism] is…”a philosophy of transforming the negative into the positive.  As long as we base ourselves on such a forward looking approach, we will never be deadlocked.”

“How we perceive events is also intimately related to the strength of our life force.  When we are weak-spirited and apathetic, we end up falling into a negative mindset in spite of our best efforts to remain positive.  Our mental attitude is inseparable from our state of life.  Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the source of powerful unflagging vitality.”

This guidance is absolutely amazing.  I love it, and in my own personal experience I find that it really is true.  When it comes to how we interact with others and experience the world, if our mind is set in darkness, if we look at the world through a negative lens then what we experience will most definitely be negative.  If that negativity is taken a step further, and one reacts out of anger then we harm not only our relationships, but ourselves as well.  After all, anger is poison and it is the gateway to hatred.  It can cause you to lose control of your ability to think and act in a rational way.  The good news is that poison can be changed into medicine.  That is the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!  Tapping into the power of our lives or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo provides a way to channel anger into something positive thereby creating value in society.  For example, someone who has been the victim of violence can channel their anger and energy into fighting for justice and world peace.  It really all comes down to one’s mindset.  Every human being is capable of greatness, of contributing to the world, society, and the community in a positive way.

Try it out! Pay close attention to the experience you have today and remember if the mind is shrouded in negativity then negativity becomes part of your daily life.  It becomes your experience.  However, if the mind is positive then you are able to look on the bright side and experience the joy life brings!