Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smart to Start

Don't be afraid to start.
Just do it.  Take the plunge.
I recently spoke with a young friend who gleefully informed me that she is just five classes away from receiving her bachelor's degree.  "Wow!", I exclaimed for it was just a little over two years that she, armed with an AAS, decided to return to school to complete her undergraduate education.  As she realizes it didn't take as long as she thought it would, she is already looking forward and planing to enroll in an MBA (master's) program.  She did not focus on the time nor the task, she just began.  Many of us tend to do just the opposite, especially when the objective is personal.  We loose our opportunity to begin by letting cold feet hinder us.  Stop.  Just do it.  Don't overthink it.  We make up artificial deadlines as a false reason not to begin, "I'll join the gym after I purchase new work-out clothing" ,  "I'll  stop smoking or begin my new diet when (fill in the blank with your favorite excuse)".  My friend was smart to start, unafraid to take the plunge.  Once you begin, you too, will find that time quickly passes by and before you know it, you will have accomplished a task, completed an objective, or reached a milestone.

It doesn't matter the goal, it's the act of doing that is the most empowering.  You don't have to have all of the tools or full knowledge to get started.  Sometimes, the lesson is learned along the way, and growth comes as you slowly build upon an already established foundation.

Start to Smart

Once you begin, use your time to learn as you go.  Recently, shortly before his 30th birthday, another friend of mine started reflecting upon his life up to that point and was ready to make a few changes.  He announced he was going to stop consuming meat, cold turkey (pun intended).  I cautioned him to gradually start as I was concerned he would not be able to maintain.  Gratefully, this wonderful man did not listen to me,  he was empowered by his knowledge of his personal strength and ability to succeed.  He just did it, eager to learn as he goes.  He took the plunge, became a vegetarian, and started to increase his education levels.  I am tearfully, so very proud of him as he has through discomfort and purging of bodily toxins, been steadfast for one month now.  He has even stopped smoking and has reduced his alcohol intake. He has begun his smart journey, learning how to become an SME.  In the corporate world, an SME is a "Subject Matter Expert".  You do not have to know all or be all.  A college degree prepares you to be just that.  In layman's terms, a degree is a level of measurement of some "thing".  Upon starting any post-secondary educational program, you are asked to declare a major, or a course of study with emphasis on a singular subject.  You then spend your time to increase the level of knowledge on the subject you chose.  You continue to learn and work to become an expert in that subject.   It is no different with personal objectives. At the beginning, you have limited data and resources.  However, as you spend more time, learning and increasing the degree of knowledge of the particular subject, the smarter you become, the more you evolve into an SME.
I'm learning!  Completed Project -
Raw Tabbouleh with sprouted Quinoa,
Raw hummus and Sunflower seed cheese

The personal start to smart process is the same as the collegiate one.  You study, research, practice and cavort with  like associates.  You do not always realize when levels have increased.  It is only when you are quizzed, tested, or challenged by others that you demonstrate how well you have studied.  You will eagerly and confidently answer or defend that which you know and take note to improve or increase that which you do not.  You will triumphantly take pride when you have graduated from one level and will take stock to assess whether you wish to take a break, docking for a moment or to continue your education toward an advanced degree.

It has been just 298 days since I decided to become seriously vegan and only six months since I transitioned to become a live foodist.   With very limited information, I just started.  I'm learning! I am sprouting grains and beans, making cheeses from nuts and seeds, and converting my favorite cooked dishes into tasty raw versions.  During this inaugural, freshman year, I am steadily increasing knowledge levels and am taking on assignments, completing projects, writing papers, and passing exams.  It has been a wonderful experience learning proper nutrition, healthy habits, clean living and holistic values.

What about you?  What will you start today? What is the matter of subject you choose to expert?  Be smart to start in order to start to be smart.  Just do it.  Before you know it, time will quickly pass and you will soon find yourself ready to pursue a master's program.

Yoga:  Yogacharya (male)    Yogini  (female)  Teacher

Yogacharya or Yogini is a title of respect given to a teacher or master practitioner of yoga.  Whether a new beginner or graduated student, the yogic instructor is the adviser, helping to reveal the true value of yoga which is self reception and union of consciousness.

No matter the class size, the Yogic instructor connects
with each student individually.
The yogic slowly, with love, patience, and guidance, takes the student from one level to the next degree, teaching value, purpose, peace.  A true yogic instructor empowers each student individually, teaching union and alignment of mind, body, and breath (soul) mentoring to increase knowledge, strength and practice.  

The Yogacharya or Yogini helps students loose fear of starting to become an expert in the matter of acceptance of self.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quiet Giants

Last week, a newly published book launched, hit the ground running, and is already an international bestseller.  Wow!  What's it about you ask, action-packed espionage? steamy love story? or perhaps a scary chilling gothic horror?  No.  The book is entitled, Welcome to Your Life by Ronny K. Prasad*.  What makes the book so great?  I don't yet know as I've yet to read it.  What I do know, however, is that is about self-fulfillment, empowerment and that the proceeds from the book will be contributed to an animal charity.  Right up my alley.  I also know that Ronny, or "Ron"  is one of the kindest souls I have had the pleasure to meet.

I am an extrovert.  I easily walk up to a stranger and introduce myself or make acquaintances. I have been told that this makes it easy to lead by example, start new things, champion a cause.  I was also told that not everyone can just get up on the soapbox and encourage people to follow their stead.  I was told that everyone can not be "like" me.  Wow.  I didn't know whether to be impressed or insulted.  First, because I do not have an expectation of others to be "like" me.  I feel my purpose is to share and to receive the sharing of others. Example is only for those who walk a similar path.  You can not be an example for someone who isn't interested.  Secondly, I totally disagree with the statement.  While we are all different, it doesn't matter the level, degree or manner of message delivery.  EVERYONE has "something" that they are passionate about.  Just because someone is introverted, what some may call shy,  not readily "volunteering" of information, or just simply quiet in demeanor, does not mean that they do not have anything to say or lack the ability to do so.  If so called extroverted people take the time to be attentive with genuine interest, a surprise may be in store from what may be learned from one who is not as outspoken.

A volcanic mountain sits silently until it has something to say.
Some of the most powerful people do not speak at all.  They just "do" and allow you to take what you will from what you observe.  In the animal world, the elephant is a quiet giant.  It is considered a compassionate, wise and powerful animal.  Elephants go about silently but are fierce, strong, loud and swift if need be.  The quiet human giants of the world tend to move mountains, foster invention, and have put their ideas in motion - doing what they intend to do instead of shouting it out.  Ron impressed me as one such man.  Although he is in public, and constantly in front of people, he has a mild-mannered demeanor and is quite a gentleman.  I'll  never picture him as the raucous life of the party volunteering unsolicited information.  Yet, Ron is as powerful as they come. He is a wise observer,  passionate about his work and becomes quite animated when asked.  Ron is a powerhouse.  He is  vegan, a certified lifecoach, mentor, speaker, animal activist, author and motivator.  With humility, he offers inspirational, positive, considerate messages and is dedicated to spreading self-empowerment internationally.  Well done, since Ron hails from Australia, many like myself, here in the United States, are proud to call him a friend.  A quiet giant is like a volcanic mountain, sitting silently until it has something to share and then roars with force to be reckoned.

It is often said that "you get more with honey than with vinegar".  How true.  A quiet giant does this well for they have mastered the art of being attentive to the needs of their audience and knows how to deliver a powerful, even forceful message without hate, intimidation, or fear. The loud, boisterous one often interlaces subliminal threats or fear into their messages.  The quiet giant gently and humbly presents their platform without persuasion.  Either take it or leave it.   As you think about it, you realize that you've been surrounded by giants your entire life.  As you meet one, you find another.  Two giants are Danelle and Angela. I've known Danelle over 35 years. She too, is one of my dearest friends.  I've just met Angela a little over a year and half ago through Danelle.  Danelle and Angela are kindred spirits who touch many through their inspiration and dedication to yoga.   It is through the syrupy sweetness of their honey that I am certain they have lead to the practice of many and inspired the courage to live.  Each of these ladies have overcome personal illness, tragedy and detrimental injury.  Both  Danelle* and  Angela*  survive, each spreading positive energy with a polite, humble quiet.  Just over two years ago, Angela was involved in a tragic car accident which left her severely wounded.  Through yoga, she healed.  Instead of broadcasting, she practiced and studied.  Better to do instead of speak.  Today, she is a certified instructor, has opened a small studio and begun to conduct yoga classes.  Danelle, was diagnosed with illness. She too, through practice is experiencing healing.  She quietly has touched souls through her self-less practice and has inspired a humble quietness amongst many in the yogic world who may be considered "outspoken".  Without intention, these ladies have inspired my yoga practice.  I am certain they have inspired countless others.  It is their quiet approach which attracts so many to them.  It makes them colossus. 
Close your mouth and look up!  You may discover
the beauty of the giants whom loom above you.

Giants do not have to be people you know.  They can be strangers, people you notice in your day to day happenings, or read about.  If you are extroverted like me, close your mouth for a moment and look around - more importantly,  look up! You may find yourself surrounded by towering silent entities each with something to teach you.  To you who are the quiet ones, those who are not so voluntarily ready to speak, continue in your stead to be who you are! Welcome to Your Life.  You may be surprised to know that someone may be looking up you in awe, in appreciation of your goliath gift, and readily listening to your message.

* select this link for: Danelle's Story
* select this link for: Angela's Story
* select this link for: Ron's Quick Facts

Yoga:  Elephant trunk pose - Eka Hasta Bhujasana
My friend Angela...
A quiet giant demonstrating Elephant Trunk Pose.

In Hinduism, Ganesha, the elephant god, is the Lord of Success, the conquerer of evil, the god of wisdom and knowledge. Ganesha gained power by quietly walking to win a race instead of a loud, fast moment. 

The Elephant trunk pose is poignant and beautiful.  It captures the quiet of the moment and demonstrates the incredible, titan, personal strength required for this advanced yoga pose.