Shift in Perception

On January 1st,  Iceland started enforcing a new law where any employer with 25 or more employess, is required to pay men and women equally for the same job. This law makes Iceland the 1st country in the world to make it illegal for men to get paid more than women.

In the United States women are paid on an average of 80 cents per dollar that a man earns for the same job.  The gap is higher for women of color. In Europe women earn 84 cents on every dollar a man earns for the same job. In India women earn 25% less than men.

Hearing about wage equality in Iceland gives me hope that someday equal pay will be part of the norm.  Per the World Economic Forum, In the U.S. we should reach economic gender equality in 2059. Globally we wont see economic equality until 2133.   Because it will have taken many people to have advocated for the right to receive equal pay, I sincerely hope that in 2133 people rejoice and celebrate as economic inequality becomes a thing of the past.

In the present, however I am happy knowing that in 1 corner of our world, in Iceland, the government has recognized the value of equality in pay.  The message on the surface is that men and women will get paid equally. But deeper than that are so many other factors that make this a monumental shift.  With equal pay, life for so many will be transformed. Now that it is happening in Iceland, perhaps other countries won’t want to be left far behind and might catch up. A cause for healthy competition.

I am grateful for other healthy shifts taking place as well and I am mindful that they did not happen overnight. Whether a personal shift in perception or a collective one, it all leads to a better world. Wishing everyone a blessed year and liberating shifts of perception.  In John O’Donohue’s words:

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

 

Namaste,

Shobhna

 

 

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Glorious Mud

No Mud No Lotus, recognizes that suffering can be transformed to happiness and that if we are able to be present with our suffering, we can be present with our joy. Thich Nhat Hahn speaks of the suffering being the mud and that happiness blooms as a lotus. Without Mud, a Lotus cannot grow.

Recently I heard the Hippopotamus Song by Flanders and Swann. It is sweet and funny. Its about Hippos down by the river in the mud. Starts with 1 hippo who is then joined by a friend and pretty soon a community of hippos join them.

 

Mud Mud Glorious Mud

Nothing quite like it to

Cool the blood.

Follow me follow

Down to the hollow

And there we shall wallow

In Glorious Mud.

There is more to the song, and I am sharing the link to the version I enjoyed recently and I hope you enjoy it as well.

Flanders & Swann – The Hippopotamus Song (Live) – YouTube

Peace, happiness, joy can all be experienced when we are able to embrace life in the present. It takes courage to stay in the present, especially when fear, anger, and sadness are overwhelmingly strong. It can be liberating to recognize the moments of joy, hope and peace however fleeting, and the more we can be in touch with what brings us true peace and joy we can then share that with others.

In 2017, I hope we can all find ways to share joy and peace with others and when we find ourselves in the mud, may we also see the blooming lotus.

Peace,

Shobhna

A Book Review: Habit Changers

Embracing mindfulness in all areas of life is a conscious lifestyle choice. M.J. Ryan in Habit Changers, affirms how goals can be realized mindfully. She affirms through several examples that habits which don’t serve us can be transformed through mindful practice of game changing mantras.

When people challenge themselves to grow personally they are likely to come across perceived or actual obstacles. M.J. Ryan addresses those attitudes and behaviors which can be changed with practice. She bases her game changing mantras as one would use slogans in Buddhism.

The book is organized in alphabetical sections starting with how to accept what is happening in ones life.  Other sections include how to get beyond anger, blame, conflict, fear while learning to prioritize, problem solve, becoming resilient and achieving work-life balance. There are 81 phrases and examples of how people successfully changed their habits.  Each phrase or game changing mantra can be practiced for as much time as one needs to move beyond a habit, attitude, feeling it takes to achieve success, happiness and peace in ones life.

Some of the phrases resonated with me more than others. For example, I am like the willow; I will not break is symbolic for me of those storms in life that turn ones world upside down, be it a life changing diagnosis, the death of a loved one, loss of a job and security.  Another one that resonated for me is “Reach for the better thought”. Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can choose to transform negative thoughts.  The shift from auto pilot negative thinking to conscious positive thoughts is akin to choosing happiness.

I received the book from Blogging For Books. I chose this book because I am curious about what books are out there that encourage mindfulness.  I enjoy reading about ways mindfulness can be integrated in all areas of life and genuinely found this to be a well written and inspiring book.

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Peace,

Shobhna

A Time of Renewal

I enjoy Autumn as the leaves change colors. They are currently, red, orange, yellow and most of the leaves are letting go of the branches they were attached to. Its been raining a lot, so I guess, some are being forced to let go, but it was inevitable and their work is’nt done, because of all the composting and nourishing of the soil they have yet to do.Autumn trees

I have come to enjoy the beauty of autumn and see it as a refreshing change from summer. Autumn also heralds 1 of my favorite festivals. Diwali. So as the days get even shorter in October, celebrating this festival of lights is rejuvenating and heartwarming. Its a wonderful time for reflection, celebration and renewal of hopes and dreams.

In a world where there is so much unrest, It just seems so much more important to take a step back into reflection and assess what truly matters.

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Peace,

Shobhna

Not Knowing

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”

~Pema Chödrön

Setting goals and taking steps to meet them requires  confidence, perseverence, support, skills, flexibility and a myriad of other traits and characteristics that are unique to each individual.  Being comfortable in not knowing how it will turn out is a lifelong practice for me and I know I am not alone in this practice. Meditation, gardening, reading and walks help to untie the internal knots and over the years they have become my anchors. Some internal knots are easier to unravel and others take a while. Regardless the opportunity, to practice, presents itself daily.

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Peace,

Shobhna

 

Through The Lens

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This purple hyrangea in my garden is actually a bold purple color. At different times of day, at different angles, the same camera lens reveals different colors and reflections.

 

Applying different perspectives to life situations can reveal the inherent beauty that lies deeper. Not always. Still its worth it sometimes because without a different perspective, we may let a moment of awareness slip by.

Peace,

Shobhna

 

Plan to Be

 

 

Some things/events  don’t go as planned.  In fact, the more plans we make, the higher the chances of them not going as expected. Along the lines of the saying that if you don’t make mistakes then you are not learning or doing new things. So,  its important to know what to do in the event expectations are not met. Leaving a project unfinished, walking away from a situation are options.

Sometimes though, its important to remember there are many ways to get to the same goal. If its truly important to you to figure out a way of making something work,  then reevaluate, be creative and design a new plan with what is there in the present. Some plans are easier to change and work with.  Some plans are difficult to let go of and that letting go becomes the path for a while.  If we can see all events as stepping stones towards a bigger plan, with the shift in perspective,  we can see the value in a detour, a set back can become just the needed pause in reevaluating direction, or strengthening a skill. I notice, the less focused I am about the result and more focused on  why I am doing something, the easier it is to navigate through the changes. In those times my being and doing are both intertwined. 20160331_143852.jpg

Peace,

Shobhna