why you should do #77breaths

So for those who have been following the #77breaths challenge I’ve been doing, you would notice i’ve modified certain aspects of the challenge.

For one, I’ve involved a break-day every 11 breaths, to give myself a chance to actually breathe (punny ain’t it) . It’s absolutely phenomenal to be able to have an extraordinary experience every day consecutively, but it is also both mentally and physically exhausting, and so breaks are necessary.

I feel like i’m a much better version of the person i was. Granted , the challenge cannot cover a lot more events that happened in the sidelines, whether they be personal or external events, but the challenges have honestly played the primary role in my decision making the past few weeks.  I know a lot more about the world, I know new skills and also have made so many more friends.

Is it worth  it? Yes, without a doubt. Everyone should embark on some variation of this challenge, whether it be a 7 day streak or even a weekly variation. Force yourself to see the world for what it is.

I’ve had a handful of friends who have picked up the concept and are now excited to do the breaths in their own way. Doors have opened for me simply because I said yes a lot more than I used to, and now I’m seeing things I never dreamed I would ever see as a freshman.

If you recall my mantra on creating instead of consuming, this is a great way to get involved. Life doesn’t start after school, life is already  ongoing and you have to get into it. Because when you do, you realise how small your world used to be.

geronimo

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an instructional guide on how to grow up (for college students)

in the span of this quarter, i’ve realised one primary lesson. state of mind matters. it’s nothing to do with age, nor with a list of things done more than the other, it’s to do with how you apply those experiences to yourself and how have you understood yourself in relation to the world. it’s a different state of mind. i feel like i’m in a different state of mind from most freshmen here, and that sometimes affects me. it affects me , not because i feel like i know more than them, but because as a parent would worry for a kid as he seems him making the same mistakes he did when he was a kid, i worry that people here are going to fall into the same traps i did. perhaps everyone has to, at some point, but they are painful lessons.

the difference is that here, people prefer to block out those lessons. blind it, shove it and carry forward. i wondered for a while if that’s a good practice, legitimately. it did make some sense. but after a lot of introspection, and also reading some quotes from some of my favourite authors and influencers, i’m still standing by my philosophy that one should fully let himself feel pain and process it healthily.

so , if i wanted to kinda give some form of commentary right now, and advice on how to be a better human , i would do it here. again, this is not from a position of superiority, it’s from a position of empathy.

1) think about how others would feel – have empathy. the ability to truly feel the depth of someone else’s life is difficult trait to master but one that is essential. you connect with people, you understand why they do what they do , and you also understand what hurts them and what brings them joy. they’ll appreciate that you know them for who they are and are much more willing to be a part of your life. and for me, most importantly, you’ll never do anything stupid against them because you care about how they feel. it is important for everyone to care about how others feel. we could do with more of that.

2) talk to people without ambiguity – i can imagine it’s tough to be completely forthright with someone, but the best decisions have been made in life with complete information. decisions that take into account all variables – because they were communicated between parties. don’t lead others on, don’t make them feel like your best friend if they’re not ; these are all lessons i’ve learnt being on both sides . be clear, and be honest, and most of the time people will appreciate you a lot more for that, than for setting a false presumption

3) understand sensitivities. in a world driven by the need for individual freedom, we sometimes forget that others deserve the same right too. our freedom has to exist in tandem with the freedoms of others. we are a community, a society. be careful of what you say, even though you can say whatever you want. spread hope when you can, instead of hurt, because honestly we have too much hurt in this world already. be open to the fact that your opinion isn’t the only one in the world, and opinions are usually derived from experiences , which means that opinions tend to be personal. seek to understand. seek to truly understand someone else other than yourself.

4) reflect and introspect there was a part of my life where i bulldozed through most of the year. rack up awards, get leadership positions, do this, do that. it came at a price, at the cost of family and friends, of truly applying lessons to myself etc. now , this is where some of the advice comes from my experience in the business world. as much as a business values your skillsets and portfolio, people will hire you if you can tell stories behind what you do, and show how you’ll continue those stories forward. and when i say hire you, i mean to jobs that are higher than the band category for yourself. i’ve been blessed with job offers before i went to college, really because i felt so much for what i did and had reflected immensely on the lessons i was learning. reflect with friends, make them part of your thought process. to live is not to just climb the mountain, it’s to realise you’re daring to climb the mountain at all.

5) don’t just consume. create i’m a big fan of the maker movement. in our consumer culture, we tend to see things as “what can i get out of this?” . but a lot of maturity develops when you start creating your own things. whether it be creating music, or writing like i do, or even coding ; put your hands at something and be responsible for it. be responsible for the birth of an idea, or a melody or a concept. be responsible and then realise that being responsible is a tougher job than it sounds, but that you want to be responsible because you finally care about something. you care about how others will consume what you create, and then become sensitive about how you will consume.

there’s tons of growing up that happens when you put yourself out there. a lot of it definitely has to do with letting yourself feel a whole range of emotions and processing them healthily. i only hope that while it’s been incredibly fun so far, that we realise the value of growing up sooner than later , because the fun that we’ll have then is definitely a lot more meaningful, and i will stake my word on that.

geronimo.

forget-me-not

if we see our lives as a grand story
then there must be a beginning
and there definitely will be an end

but in between we find chapters
holding precious tales
of struggle and success

tales that we must make
tales that we should take
because these tales won’t write themselves

and just how every chapter is filled with energy
and how each chapter must ultimately close
for the next one to open

our life is never absolute at any time
it’s but a series of closings and openings
for the story to continue forever

and as you give your final breath
think on the story you wrote for yourself
was it the best damn story; was the story yours?

be comfortable being uncomfortable

you should know something about me. the deadliest weapons are not worn on my back . no, they’re sheathed in mystery and deceit.

___

i’ve finally decided to actually blog again. to write my thoughts and ideas in clear coherent sentences about my life. i’ve greatly enjoyed blogging for various reasons, but mostly because i do read my old posts and appreciate the fact that i thought through most of my decisions in life. i’ve frequently come across posts where i would have challenged myself to do something and having accomplished them i feel glad that i took on that challenge.

northwestern and college in general has been definitely exhilarating. it’s definitely weird because you’re living in a complete bubble – life revolves around school, college life, extra curriculars and we are exposed to the real world in spurts and turns. i honestly do miss this about my old life the most – knowing that you’re on a honest trajectory that deals with real issues. but i must accept these 4 years as important learning ground for more. one can only become better , right?

___

the fire burned so softly and gently, i could not resist. i inched my finger close to the flame, letting it dance near my tip.and almost as if dragged by force, my finger touched the inner core of the fire. i repulsed my hand away, absolutely thrilled but in an immediate agony. i can’t wait to do it again.

___

be comfortable being uncomfortable. i’ve definitely been uncomfortable many times in the past 2 months . making friends has never been a problem for me – but having grown up , you realise the need to seriously value friendships that are built out of character and positive memories. because let yourself be hurt by those you can’t bear to hurt yourself . i’ve taken chances, made risky decisions and made pivot points numerous times. but i’ve always been serious about learning as much as i can from every one of them. understand what happened, process your feelings and thoughts, and apply them onto yourself.

because we would not be human if we just went about life without a care

___

the worst thing you can do to someone else is to project your expectations onto them. he is who he is, and she is who she is. to be unhappy with them just because they didn’t meet your expectations is like blaming the sun for your dehydration. either adjust your expectations or move on – let him or her be perfect for someone else

___

i’m a social butterfly. i draw energy from people and conversations. but more importantly, i crave variety and diversity. college is full of that seemingly, but you need to dig because above all that character is a shameful need to please each other that breeds needless synchronicity.  you do you. be quirky, do a dance, sing your song and climb your mountain.

geronimo.

three difficult lessons tonight

When you feel pain, write. Write the most painful feelings you’ve ever felt. Write it out ; write them till you don’t feel it anymore. Write because your heart aches, and write because you know the journey’s not over. Nothing in this world can ever take away who you are, if you know who you are.

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The problem with morals is that we impose values on ourselves when we don’t know what’s out there. But maybe it’s good to keep yourself in a zone of power. Power comes not in control of surroundings, but in control of yourself. Lose yourself, and you lose your world.

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Does it kill to care? I would argue not. To care means to choose to only let yourself be privy to the whims of your soul, not your body. In a hedonistic society, perhaps the heart should bleed love instead of lust. Trust me, the ones who win the battles are the ones who choose them.