You’ve got my love to lean on darling, all the days

Before I left for South Korea three years ago, my older sister told me that she’s a little bit sad that I’ll miss some important “growing up” moments in my niece’s (her daughter’s) life in this next year that I’ll be in South Korea. Well, I’ve been here for three years and it really pains me that I’ve missed out on my nieces’ and nephew’s youths. What if they have their first kiss? What if they get bullied and don’t know who to turn to? What if they get in a fight with their parents and want to talk to me about it? All these what-ifs went through my mind, so I started writing letters to my eldest niece. I put them in a box, and I hope that when the time comes, she’ll pass it on to my other nieces and nephew, and that it will be helpful to them while I’m gone.

This was one of the letters:

To my little one,

There is so much that I want to teach you and tell you and learn from you. I hate to be absent for any part of your beautiful life, but while I’m away, I hope you remember some of what I’ve already tried to teach you.

Be patient and kind, to everyone, always. Including yourself.

Do not believe in luck. Believe in gratitude. Feel it all the time.

Treat every human being as exactly that: a human being. Show respect to everyone, even your enemies, and do not tolerate being disrespected.

Your feelings are YOURS and there is never a need to explain why you feel them.

When you learn something, don’t forget it. Intelligence is extremely attractive and invaluable.

Never, ever, ever, ever assume. Never assume that someone ignored you, or that someone is mad at you, or that something was your fault. Because anything can happen at any time, and we are not always aware of everything at once. Don’t disregard coincidence.

In confrontations and arguments, express only how you feel. Do not tell people what they did, but tell them how they made you feel.

Living well is the best revenge. Don’t believe in revenge.

Work hard. (Be lazy, but only sometimes.)

I once sat next to an old German man on a train and he asked me what my dream is. I told him that I want to travel, and he told me about how he moved to the U.S. from Germany as a young boy with nothing. He went to school, became a doctor, and now he teaches at a university in New York. He offered me this advice: “Keep a positive attitude. Don’t compromise your dreams and something will come and open up your universe. You younger generations need more confidence. Just know that us older generations believe in you. Let the universe come to you—invite it.”

Too much of anything can turn into a bad thing. The keys to happiness at its finest are balance and moderation.

Tell your parents goodnight before you go to bed. Tell the people you care about that you care about them. People need to be reminded of that.

Not everything lasts forever, and that’s okay. Look back and remember the goodness of all things, and be grateful for having it.

Ask yourself questions all the time. It is important to be able to answer to yourself, and be true to yourself.

The earth is a precious place, and you are just a visitor. Treat it well. Save as much life, energy, waste, and water as you can. Nothing is unlimited.

An excerpt from one of my favorite articles: “We have these brief lives, and our only real choice is how we will fill them. Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have.”

Stories are gifts that we give to each other. They can be happy, or sad, or scary. They are real, and they are meaningful. Remember as many of them as you can, especially the magical ones. Hold onto them and don’t forget that they can be very, very real.

“You are responsible for the energy you put into this world.”

Travel opens your eyes and your mind to both realities and dreams. Always keep going.

Try not to raise your voice, and try to always smile. Try new things often.

Know that the world we live in is a big one. There are millions of different souls and perspectives out there. You should never feel alone.

Power comes in many forms. Music, stories, writing, expression, art, thought, knowledge. Power is from within. Use yours—you have so many!

Self-discipline and patience are very necessary strengths. Learn them as early as you can.

Avoid any and all feelings of jealousy. Never wish to be anyone else.

Never burn bridges because you never know when you might need to cross them again.

And most importantly, never doubt that you are loved.

Love always,

Auntie

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Motivate me Monday

Guess what?

I’ve made a very bold decision.

To cross #65 off of my bucket list.

Run a marathon.

AAAHHHH.

Yeah I’m nervous.  And because I know myself too well and I want to do this the right way and take my time in doing so, I’m giving myself two years to reach this goal.  Yes, YEARS.  A marathon is 26.2 miles.  So by the end of 2015, I will have run a marathon.  At least that’s the goal.  If it doesn’t happen or as long as I am still working towards it by then, I think I’ll be okay.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading about running marathons and the training the comes with it, and what I’ve taken away from all of it is that this will be a long, hard process that I’m going to need to take seriously.  And I think I need something like that in my life right now.  A project, if you will.  I’m going to start by training for a 5k, then a 10k, a half marathon, and finally a marathon.  To start, I’m going to use Cool Running’s The Couch-to-5K Running Plan that I heard about a few years ago.

I started today, and I feel great about it.  About halfway through the workout, I felt amazing.  I was like what is this 60/90 second running/walking alternation?!  I could run that marathon right now!  And then I lol’d because that was a sick joke.  But it has never felt better to set such a huge goal for myself, and after just the first day of working toward it just a little, it already feels rewarding.

Here’s the thing about setting goals.  Slowly getting closer to achieving them is an incredible feeling.  Running (literally, in my case) towards what you want gets your life going.  And that’s how it should be.

After running I had a really super good awesome wonderful meditation.  I remember when I first started meditating (I don’t really actually know if I’m really meditating but that’s what I call it…) aka thinking only positive things for 2-10 minutes and doing some deep breathing.  Is that meditating…?  Cause that’s what I’ve been telling people that I do every morning.

ANYWAY.  When I first started, I remember thinking like 4 positive things and I thought it had been 2 minutes already but it was really only about 15 seconds… This morning I couldn’t stop thinking of all the good things.

I just had an awesome run.  I feel really good.  I’m out of breath in a good way.
I have an awesome family, boyfriend, friends, and there are good people in the world who are working to make it better.  Including me.
I get to see my nieces today.  They’re going to change the world in a decade or so.
I’ve been to more places than most people have in their lives.  I’ve seen countless sunsets.
The sky is blue today.
I am blessed, grateful, happy, deserving.

Literally I couldn’t stop.  And then my phone went off and I remembered that I have work to do.  But I stopped and also remembered that life is too good to me.  And it could be for everyone.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

How to waste your time

DOnt worry be happy - Do You have a problem in life - Yes - Can you do something about it - NO - yes - Then Why worryThink too much about your problems, and not enough about the solutions.

Never say how you feel.  Hold it in until you explode and feel better, then start building it up again.

Be too proud or ignorant to apologize or come to compromise in a situation you want fixed.

Always have a frown on your face.  Waste it even more by not allowing yourself be happy.

Be and think negatively.  Waste your time by not feeling good.

Do something you hate.  Just wake up every day and do things you don’t enjoy.

Worry about all of the things in the world that are out of your control.

Blame yourself for something that had nothing to do with you.

If you are guilty of any, or worse, ALL, of the above, I’m gonna guess that you don’t want to be happy.

That’s a shame.  And I don’t know about you , but all I ever want to do is be happy.  And I think that time spent being anything else but what you want to be is wasted time.  Looking around lately I’ve found that a lot of people are wasting time, including myself sometimes.

Last weekend the BF and I got in a fight that wasn’t really a fight–one of those I-thought-you-were-mad-at-me/No-I-thought-you-were-mad-at-me fights. Stupid, we know. And we’re working on it by realizing together that negative time and energy is a big, big mistake.  Why go a few hours being upset or mad when you could release all of that bad energy by way of words or some type of expression–therefore ridding yourself of it–for just a few relieving minutes?

Well the answer is: you shouldn’t.  Why?  Because it will, without a doubt, be a complete waste of your time. I promise.  Take it from us.  We had a perfectly beautiful Saturday spent walking around Philadelphia, wading in public fountains, tossing the football around, and drinking mojitos.

 

Then whatever happened happened and it led to 3 or 4 hours of confusion, silence, and a spritz of awkward atmosphere.  AKA waste of time.  We could’ve fixed it in 10 minutes but instead we went hours thinking something was wrong.  And guess what?  Nothing was wrong!  So haha, the joke’s on us.  And what I learned from all of this is that I would love to never waste a precious minute like that ever again.  As far as I’m concerned, Philly is the city of not just brotherly love, but of all love.  And we can keep it that way.

This past Wednesday, I had dinner with my sister-in-law.  I talked a lot about the yoga/meditation and green things I do in attempt to make a social and environmental difference, and she couldn’t get enough of it.  When I talked about a stress management class I took last year and all the habits I gained from it, it’s like she discovered a whole new world of beautiful possibilities that never crossed her mind before.  “You inspired me,” she told me.  And nothing feels better than hearing those words.

After our dinner, I just kept thinking about unhappy people.  My sister-in-law isn’t unhappy, but a lot of people are.  They’re stressed and sad and hate the way their lives turned out.  To me, that’s totally unacceptable.  Unacceptable AND a waste of time.  If that’s not telling you that it’s time to make a change, then you are doing something very wrong.

Wanna know the best thing about all of the worrying, the stressing, the anger, the sadness, and the madness?  No one is forcing you to be a part of it.  You are doing it to yourself.  And life is so that you can control it.  If you hate what you’re doing…get ready for some good advice here…STOP DOING IT.  That’s probably what will get you one step closer to spending your time wisely.

Nike, baby.  Just do it. ✓

Oh, and HAPPY FRIDAY!

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Sandy Relief Volunteering

This past Saturday I spent the day volunteering in Freeport on Long Island.  A few friends and Hofstra students and I helped a family move all of their belongings out because the entire first floor of their house had water damage from the hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago.  As heartbreaking as this was to witness and be part of, I learned so much about gratitude and how important it is to never let yourself become consumed by what you own.

Here are a few photos of the damage and all of the belongings that needed to be moved out of the house:

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The family we were helping was so sweet and throughout the whole day I spent with them, it never felt like they were letting the negativity of this tragedy get to them.  They kept thanking us for our help and calling our their angels.  They ordered us pizza and shared their stories and passions with us.  They offered us everything they had left and were more than willing to give it away.  All they kept saying was, “If you break something, it’s okay, we’re not the type of people to be upset over things.

More important than things, was love.  For each other, and for their pets!

Martin and Debbie have been married for over twenty years and Debbie couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved her husband.  He has had five brain surgeries, two strokes, and one heart attack, and it is absolutely unbelievable how much hope and happiness they have after all of those horrible health problems.  They are as happy as ever.

The best lesson I learned that day was from Debbie.  She said, “You meet so many good people in your life that you never even realize their impact.”

That was one of the best and truest things I’ve ever heard anyone say.  Sometimes we encounter people just for a moment, but our lives touch forever.  When you share a moment with someone, that moment can have an impact on your for the rest of your life.  Whether they give you something that is material, or whether they teach you a lesson, it becomes a part of you.  And that is part of the reason I think this world is so wonderful.

We pass strangers every day, and at every moment we have the opportunity to make a difference, just for a moment, or forever.  Most of the time, we don’t even know of the difference we made.  A simple act of kindness could have had that impact of forever on someone, and chances are we’ll never know what we did, but it’s important that we do it.

At the end of the day, we got rid of most of the things in the lower level of the house.  Furniture, food, appliances, memories.  All left on the sidewalk to join the piles of “garbage” that was never really meant to be garbage.