So, You Want to Conquer the World…

There’s no denying it’s always been a dream of yours, since you sat near the fire in your grandfather’s living room, spinning the globe in your tiny fingers, as he told stories of the ancients: of war, of peace, of colonization, of culture. Wide-eyed and curious, you began to yearn to venture past the places you’d been raised.

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It’s been a while since I’ve set aside some time to make a post longer than a few sentences.

You could say in the past month or so I’ve had a lot going on…

I have a draft of a longer post that should be ready to publish sometime in the next 24-48 hours called “So You Want to Conquer the World…”  Stay tuned!

stay-tuned

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.

Right Livelihood (Brief post 5/8 on the Eight-fold path)

Post 5/8 in #8weeksofmindfulness posts (much delayed!)

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha.

The previous post hinged on Right Action, which is definitely closely linked with Right Livelihood. According to my own understanding, Right Livelihood relates more towards profession than towards all action.

In the traditional sense of Right Livelihood, the Buddha’s emphasis was on making a living in ways which are honest and free of harm towards other sentient beings.

Some professions which the Buddha believed one should abstain from are as follows:
a) Dealing in flesh as a butcher (b) Dealing in weapons and arms c) Dealing in slave trade and prostitution (d) Dealing in intoxicants or liquors and drugs.

While these may sound a bit dated, there is still obvious relevance.

However, the message of Right Livelihood seems to have a larger significance that goes above the industry or job category. How you treat your coworkers, how you treat the other individuals you come into contact with on a daily basis on the job, the integrity of your work, are all things you can control to create positive interactions and a positive work environment.

If we allow ourselves to simply pay attention and not become lost in the routine of the every day, to put care into our work, if we at least begin to begin to notice our actions, we can begin to become the versions of ourselves we long to be: the versions of ourselves we owe to each other.

-A.K.