This is just to say:

Life has been a little (or rather, a lottle) busy and crazy lately– hence, my lack of posting on here! Between my jobs, school and the launch of my new literary journal, which you can check out here: (R)evolve Journal

I haven’t had much time for blogging! However, I am going to commit to regular posting again! The end of the semester is coming, and in the coming weeks I will be back to posting once a week! Be on the lookout!

I will also be reading more of your posts. Looking forward to reconnecting!

-A.K.

Do you love to read? Love to write? Dream of having your work published?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here! In the meantime, I’m excited to announce I have been working on my new online literary journal: (R)evolve Journal with a team of three other editors!

Click the link below to see what we’re all about:

About (R)evolve 

Follow revolvejournal.wordpress.com

Twitter: @RevolveJournal

Like us on Facebook :

We are a new online literary journal. In our first issue launched on Wednesday March 25, we feature book reviews, interviews with literary agents and more! Connect with us if you love literature!

Delete the Di$tr@cti0ns: Right Mindfulness (Post 7/8 Eight-fold path)

Post 7/8 in #eightweeksofmindfulness posts.

“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.”- Thich Nhat Hanh

How often do you find yourself frustrated or mentally drained in the course of the work day or week?
How often do you find yourself wishing for more moments of clarity, of joy?

I am willing to bet that most of us wouldn’t consciously turn down an opportunity to be happier or at peace on a daily, even moment to moment basis– the key word being consciously.

While most of us genuinely do want to be more happy, more at ease, we often turn down the opportunity to be, when it arises.

What I mean by this is that present moment is a gift which we can decide to appreciate, or to discard. Oftentimes, it is easy for one to become caught up in what may seem like daunting routines of work, school, and other endless priorities which create the illusion that there is no slowing down.

It is often at these times, when life seems full of nothing but complete chaos, that it is perhaps most imperative to just take maybe five minutes out of your day, to sit in silence, to clear your mind and just be. It may sound trivial, or like a cake-walk, but I see it as a challenge.

At least for myself, as a graduate student, juggling two jobs, trying to create art, I have this constant nagging bit of myself that yaps in the back of my mind to “be productive”. It is a challenge for me sometimes to turn that voice in my head off, and allow myself to just being. I trust that many others have a similar experience in the modern world we live in.

Imagine: five minutes, without a screen in front of your eyes, no scrolling through Facebook, instagram, twitter, whatever.

Just allow yourself to be excused from the distractions and sit with being.

Developing the habit of taking a few moments, regularly for yourself, for your own clarity, and your own peace, will allow you to greet your responsibilities with a renewed sense of calm, to engage in interactions with others in a much more inviting way.

Right Mindfulness is allowing yourself to be attentive to your mental state, and how you relate to the world around you. It is allowing yourself time and space. It is allowing yourself to access the abundant joy which exists here and now.

With this post, I invite you to go inward for however long your busy schedule allows, to bring about awareness in each moment, and to be full of joy that you are living it.

-A.K.

Go Deeper: Right Effort (Eight-fold Path)

Post 6/8 of #Eightweeksofmindfulness posts based on the Eight-fold path

Having just ended, or perhaps just begun a journey this evening, through the depths of heartbreak, loss, fear, doubt and also physical pain that comes along with suffering through the arduous journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, all the while, still sitting in silent solitude in my apartment, as I closed the back cover a memoir, in which the protagonist hoped her three month hike might also be a path leading towards her true self, a simple, two-word phrase came to my mind…

Go Deeper. It rang loud and clear in my head, permeating my silent moment. It’s come to me before, time and time again. And tonight, I wanted to sit with it.

Many times throughout this novel, Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”, I found myself, within her story, not necessarily in the nature of all her experiences, but in our shared humanity, our shared suffering.

The being lost and the being found.

The being found that comes only from hurling yourself into the great unknown, allowing yourself to be displaced. For Strayed, it was isolating herself for months, to conquer thousands of miles of rugged terrain, and to wrestle with her grief, all the way from the Mojave Dessert in California to Portland, Oregon. For me, it has been number of experiences, thus far.

The first of these experiences was moving to Bordeaux, France in 2012, and all the many things I experienced there. How profoundly alone I had felt, and how much of that time spent in solitude in a foreign country that allowed me to really understand myself, as I was then, for the first time. It allowed me to deal with things I’d been locking up inside of myself, pushing them further out of sight for months and years, that were then almost forced to become front and center, the only option being to face them head-on, to conquer them, to release them, and finally, to heal.

Another instance was just this past August, uprooting my East Coast life, moving to Southern California, with only what few possessions I could fit in my little Subaru Impreza, and a friend, who, luckily, for me, at the last minute, decided to join me on my cross-country feat.

I’ve come to discover the only way of finding myself time and time again, is throwing myself into the unknown, or rather, where I am unknown, where I can come to find the nature of who I really am, and where I fit in among the vastness of the world.

To me, this is the essence of Right Effort. Perhaps we don’t always need to be in solitude for a prolonged period of time to make this sort of effort, but it certainly can help.

The essence of Right Effort is always, to turn inward, to Go Deeper… to explore that which is within you, to address your fears and faults and wounds and to begin to repair yourself, simply because you owe it to yourself.

When you come into the place of Right Effort, you come into the place of abandoning all unwholesome states ( five hindrances: sensual desire, ill-will, laziness, worry, doubt) which you have previously harbored, choosing to work towards preventing further unwholesome states which have not yet arisen, while you work towards cultivating wholesome states and maintaining those in your daily life and practice.

When I think of Right Effort, and what that means to me, I think of Going Deeper in all aspects of my being: It is my wish to meditate more deeply on my feelings and why certain feelings arise, to utilize this insight in my relationships with others. I wish to explore more deeply the nature of my thoughts, as well as go deeper in my writing, becoming less worried about being vulnerable and honest on the page. In general, I would like to challenge myself to Go Deeper in all matters of the heart: to feel fully, to express and share myself more fully with others, and essentially, to BE fully and unabashedly.

This is my challenge of Right Effort, for myself.

Feel free to be brave with me, by exploring and looking inward.


-A.K.

YOUR ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN: ur new years resolution fb post

Right Action
Post 4/8 of #8weeksofmindfulness based on the Eight-fold path in Buddhism

With our world fast approaching the New Year in the hours to come, we will all be clutching our cell phones, laptops, tablets, fingertips poised for posting our statuses, tweets, or blog posts about our New Years Resolutions, how this one will be different, etc.

However different 2k15 may turn out to be, there is one thing that will inevitably remain the same: our continued connection to each other.

We will continue to be interdependent beings in 2015, whether we like it or not. We will still all continue to share this thing called human connection. We will share our stories and experiences with one another, and we will ultimately influence and impact each others lives, both directly and indirectly.

HAVING SAID THAT, Why not help to improve the quality of life for those around us?

While I don’t particularly believe in the significance of New Years resolutions, I do believe in goals: long-term, short-term, big and small. I constantly set little goals (and big goals) of not only things I would like to achieve, but also, things I would like to improve on physically, mentally/emotionally, spiritually.

If you are looking for some goals to discover a healthier, more positive version of yourself, or for a renewed outlook to start off the year with, a good place to start may be with examining your actions. Below are the five main aspects of Right Action from the eight-fold path the Buddha taught:

1) Respect life 2) Generosity 3) Avoid Physical misconduct 4) Loving speech and deep listening 5) Nourishment of your body

A little elaboration:

Focusing in on respecting all forms of life can allow us to appreciate the beauty and miracle that exists within all life forms. In this year we can remind ourselves to not take that for granted.

We can be generous with our presence and effort towards others. By doing so, we demonstrate genuine compassion for others. We care for others, and perhaps, in turn, are cared for. We are unselfish in our actions. We can choose to make the happiness of others a priority before our own.

In the physical misconduct category, the Buddha primarily taught of the dangers of sexual misconduct, which are issues of attachment and desire. I would venture further to include all physical misconduct, to any form of violence, physical harm towards another being.

Next, We can choose to offer loving speech and to listen deeply to the people in our lives in order to better understand them, their concerns and needs, because, sometimes, all we really need is to be heard, really heard.

Lastly, we can focus on nourishing our bodies. We can choose to make healthier choices to take better care of ourselves (whatever that may mean for you, specifically). Maybe, it’s to finally stop smoking, to eat more vegetables, or stop binge eating junk foods and learn to eat them in moderation.

The Buddha sums up Right Action in a small section of the Dhammapada:

“Watching his speech, well restrained in mind, let a man never commit wrong with his body. Let a man keep these three roads of action clear, and he will achieve the way which is taught by the wise.”

The moral to this story is simply that we are allowed to take baby steps to our self-improvement. We need not make some elaborate, extreme resolution of how we are going to become radically different in the next few hours.

We can simply make a continuous, positive effort to improve our world, by allowing mindfulness and compassion into our hearts, minds and extending this into our actions and our interactions with others.

With that, I would like to wish you all the very happiest of New Years!

Namaste ॐ

“The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor that of sandalwood, or of Tagara and Mallika flowers; but the odor of good people travels even against the wind; A good man pervades every place.”
-The Buddha

-A.K.

“OH…FUUU–DGE…” on Right Speech (the eight-fold path)

Post 3/8 in #8weeksofmindfulness

First off, Merry Christmas Eve! I intended to have this up by last night to have you all ready to go for your family functions! Hopefully you will still find this enjoyable or of use.

As with most principles / practices in Buddhism, there is both an emphasis on renunciation as well as cultivation of certain patterns/habits (see previous post for reference).

The primary aspects of Right Speech the Buddha emphasized were as follows: abstinence from false speech, malicious speech, and abstinence from idle chatter.

When we allow ourselves to relinquish speech which is not promoting happiness and harmony among people, we are allowing ourselves to be aware of energy we are putting out, which generally increases positive interactions.

This awareness is imperative, always, but especially this time of year.

It can be difficult to reunite with family members, perhaps estranged, or otherwise distant. It is easy to make sarcastic remarks and to engage in hostile conversation, perhaps out of frustration, due to the high levels of stress associated with the Christmas season.

But I challenge you to take your time, to take a breath, to think before you speak, to ask your self: Is this compassionate? Is this necessary? Is this helpful?

I invite you to see if your interactions with family members can be better than ever this year, if you apply this awareness during your holiday visits. Maybe you will find renewed closeness, perhaps it will just make your holiday more bearable, if you add a little sweetness to your speech!

Give it a whirl and see for yourself ! =)

It may help you more than you know. I wanted to keep this brief, since it is the time to be enjoying with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Namaste ॐ

-A.K.