Getting Things Done By Napping Your Way Through Life

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Hello, loyal Tenderfoot readers! A quick and important announcement:

As of today, this blog has been moved to a new lifestyle blog project, Remember Your Siesta.

Follow me as I chronicle my daily life coping with certain aspects about my mortality and aiming to keep healthy, upholding quality of life not just through diets, working out, or abstaining from slob kabob central (a.k.a. giving yourself a real break). I will prove to you that you can get more things done when you learn how to nap your way through life. It’s this lifestyle revolution I’m taking and I’m armed with a Tempurpedic pillow and a hammock.

On a slightly related note, I have also launched this project to earn a few pennies. You will notice ads neatly and un-obnoxiously placed in the new website, and I would appreciate your clicking through to help me save up a little extra dinero. It’s not much, but I take what I can to survive. So, your help will be very much appreciated!!!

Remember Your Siesta

See you there!

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Alive, Alert, Awake, Enthusiastic

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Hello everyone! That is, if anyone is still even reading this blog; my guess is, probably not. It’s been a while. But it’s nice to be back, pounding my keyboard once again, attempting a meaningful post here on Tenderfoot. I’m in school now, just killing time before my accounting class. Yes, I’m taking accounting and another business class, because I’ve never taken core business classes before. I realized that when it’s time for me to set up my own clinical practice, I wouldn’t know what the hell to do except flip through Entrepreneurship for Dummies or something, God forbid. So here I am, getting an entrepreneurial foundation for my future. It’s been great so far. One of my professors also happens to be a successful business practitioner, and he immediately hooked me up with a successful acupuncturist/chemist/businessman from Phoenix, who will hopefully plant a few seeds of wisdom at the start of my journey. So, I’m quite excited.

So it’s quite obvious that I’ve kind of changed my plans along the way. Two months ago, I thought that I’d be in New York City at this very moment, probably still sleeping or having brunch somewhere, since most east coast classes begin in September. Without going into much detail, I felt that I wasn’t ready for that huge move just yet. Pragmatically, I knew that I needed to save up more and prepare for the harrowing expenses of the Empire State. Mentally and skills-wise, I knew that I needed to take a couple more preparatory classes before diving head first into the deep, raging waters of Masters school. Emotionally, I knew that I wasn’t quite ready to leave New Mexico just yet. It’s the same feeling you get when you know that you haven’t quite exhausted all your options and haven’t quite done what you’re supposed to do in a particular place just yet.

So, here I am, and just like what the title of the post says, I’m quite alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic about my decision to stay.

The morning after I talked to the admissions team of the NYC school about the postponement of my enrollment, I woke up feeling quite overwhelmed. It was such an intense feeling that I was sweating a little, my hands were a bit clammy, and my heart was racing. Strangely, this sense of being overwhelmed was also bathed in a very positive and peaceful light: I felt extremely blessed that I can feel the sweat in my hands and forehead, and that I could actually feel my heart beating. Mortality kind of nudged me, but not in a depressing way. I just felt thankful – extremely thankful – for being alive.

And the mornings after that came, and I couldn’t wait to wake up each morning and go through each day. And I went through each day with such alertness and enthusiasm that I couldn’t help but notice all the little things that make life so precious and beautiful, the things that often go unnoticed.

Yes, life has been great so far, and I can only see things looking up. The world is at my feet and I feel like my dreams are slowly but surely materializing, after all my hard work and patience. I know there will be more difficulties and challenges and maybe even road blocks ahead, but after a year in this country, I’ve built quite an armor. Nothing can stop me. Isn’t that such a nice feeling?

25 Things to Do Before I Turn 26

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I hate to say this, but I’ve never completely checked off a list of personal goals at all. I’ve made tons of them in the past, but I end up doing either of three things: shrug it off, forget about it, or completely deny that I ever made such a thing. Heck, I even made a bucket list once and I don’t even know where to find it!

Later on I realized that I was pushing myself so hard, trying to make such unique check lists and adventure goals because I wanted to inspire the next person as much as I was inspired when I looked through another person’s list. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong about sharing the love of pursuing life plans and seizing the day, but I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so hard completing your own list when you shift your focus onto yourself and yourself alone.

Not too long ago, I came across a Tumblr post by a fellow artist from hitRECord, Lula. She and her friends Sarah and Tori decided to list down 25 things to do before turning 26, so you should know that the idea is nothing new (but it doesn’t make it any less amazing). At first I was like, yeah, another adventure goal list. But when I read #1 (“Celebrate my feet.”), I couldn’t help but continue reading; and the entire thing I ended up reading. “7. Kiss myself every morning”, “8. Play more Magic 8 Ball”, “19. Wash Pepper.” It was beautiful, every single one of them. So beautiful and even more meaningful with its candidness and simplicity. It was so unpretentious and unique, perfectly mirroring her personality that I would even dare say I probably know her — someone whom I’ve never met in person — so much more from simply reading her #5, “Make the healing of my foot my #1 priority”, than a friend whose #5 read, “Backpack to Europe.”

I’ve been brewing up my own 25 things for quite some time now, but decided that I would officially begin 2 months and 3 days before my birthday. That’s just, what, 6 or so weeks? But the beauty of such lists is to learn how to be sincere, not just to the people around you, but to yourself. Do you really want to live in Paris, or meet Halle Berry in person? Why not start small and fun, like re-decorating your apartment, Parisian style, or sending Halle Berry fan mail, however silly that sounds? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching against aiming high and mighty, which is also very important. But maybe you should relax first and give yourself a treat, make simple, honest goals that you need to check off by a certain deadline. To me, personally, I just thought it would be a nice 26th birthday gift to myself.

Here is my list. Stay tuned: I will be documenting my progress through photos, videos, audio (see #14) and of course, written commentaries. :)

25 Things to Do Before I Turn 26:

  1. Paint a self portrait using finger paint.
  2. Write a children’s book.
  3. Watch a horror movie by myself before going to bed.
  4. Forgive the unforgivable.
  5. Dance when you’re really just supposed to walk.
  6. Make a photographic haiku each week.
  7. Find a real pen pal and send him/her snail mail every week.
  8. Create my own cocktail.
  9. Walk through sprinklers.
  10. Finish the Bhagavad Gita.
  11. Take a picture of a beautiful summer bird.
  12. Meditate every day.
  13. Look at myself in the mirror, choose a flaw, and call it beautiful. Say it out loud. Do this everyday.
  14. Sing a song and record it.
  15. Make a Julia Child omelette.
  16. Read the New Testament from start to finish.
  17. Write letters to several of my “past selves.”
  18. Write a letter to my 26-year old self before August 21.
  19. Get to know a stranger.
  20. Send fan mail to a celebrity.
  21. Hug and thank the old and wise.
  22. Visit and learn how to pray in a mosque.
  23. Send a postcard signed with a kiss.
  24. Express gratitude to a different person each week.
  25. Drink herbal tea every day.

Why I Loved the LOST Series Finale

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Three hours before the finale, my brother IM-ed me: “Do you want to know what happens in the finale? I heard from someone who works at ABC that it was like JJ Abrams jacked off to a huge pile of money.”

This might have played a role because it made me expect much less than I once did. But low expectations or none at all, I was still blown away and couldn’t have asked for anything more.

I don’t have much to say, really. I’m not here to overanalyze the episode and describe how it had spoken to me in full detail. I think that was what the show was trying to teach us in the first place. I was a bit floored at first that I still had so many questions unanswered (ultimately, what in the world was that island?!), but as the characters gathered in the multi-denominational church and Christian opened the doors and stepped into that great big light, and finally, when Jack’s eyes closed one last time, I sat back, shed a few tears (okay, I shed a lot of tears), and for some reason, it just felt right.

I loved how the finale made all 6 years, 6 seasons and 123 episodes my own. Perhaps questions weren’t really supposed to be answered, at least, not by the producers. Perhaps it was all about, first and foremost, the characters that we had all grown to love: the finale definitely focused entirely on each character and how the whole experience had touched them, both individually and collectively.

But perhaps it was also all about learning how to just live life with an open mind and heart, and with love.

Perhaps it wasn’t about how the writers interpreted good and evil, life and death, love and war, but how we view these ourselves. That’s why I loved the multi-denominational church touch: some people found it cheesy and unnecessary, but I thought it was simple and straight to the point, but still mysteriously beautiful. You can interpret life the way you want, based on your beliefs, experiences, the people you love, and how you know yourself.

But if there’s one thing the show really wanted to teach us, it was that we are surrounded with people we need, and people who need us. It’s up to us how to respond to that call of connectedness and love.

What was the island exactly? Perhaps it’s really up to you. Ultimately, it’s your island. And that’s why I loved the LOST finale, because it made the show our own.

Creative Juices A-flowin’

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Creativity is healthy. It absolutely is. After school and work and all my other responsibilities each day, I like to just sit back, relax and zoom in to a photo, a short film, a chapter from a novel or a nicely plated meal. It keeps the stress away and reminds me to appreciate the beauty that we (as humans with colorful right brains) are able to cultivate.

Although I am not an artist by profession, I do consider myself extremely creative. Growing up, I would sketch and write stories, paint daisies and women’s faces with the watercolor paints and brushes I would receive almost every special occasion, and for a time, I also chained my bedroom door shut so I could act and sing along to my favorite Broadway musicals (but you can all breathe a sigh of relief because I learned after three days that the stage is definitely not my cup of tea!).

I found complete and utter solace, self-realization and just plain fun in creating. Sadly, I stopped when I got out of college and buried myself with work and survival. My sister recently told me that I should probably reconnect with my art (this was when I was trying to get over a terrible breakup), because she said that when I was at the summit of my creativity, I seemed to be, not necessarily at my happiest, but my most genuine. It was when I was in touch, not only with my skills and intellect, but also, for lack of a better term, my spirit.

The first thing I did was dig up the art that I had concealed from light for way too long. I like describing it as excavating my various creations from underneath my floorboards. And now that they’ve been dusted off, I thought it would be even more meaningful to share them with you guys. Thus, I set up my own Tumblr account. Here, you can take a peek at different things I made or am about to make: poems, photographs, drawings, short videos, you name it. I might even throw in a song in there… but maybe I should wait for Halloween or April Fools. :P

So, I hope to see you guys there! Feel free to follow me so we can all swap creative spit. Haha! Cheers!

Gen Y’s Little Shop of Whys

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I had missed every single Brazen Careerist webinar… until today, that is. I thought, hey, if I were going to squeeze one in, it definitely had to be the one with Seth Godin, right? Yup. You betcha.

I was only able to catch a small chunk of the interview, but just like what some people would say about cutting the Bible or picking out a random tarot card, it was like The Fates really wanted me to catch that particular part of their discussion for a very good reason.

Before I continue, I would like to make a disclaimer and say that it’s past midnight and, as much as I had wanted to take down notes or TiVo-ed the webinar (like that’s even possible), I was in such a hurry that time, and right now, I’m relying solely on memory and my own interpretation of what I had heard. I’m not going to quote anyone, but in the event of inaccuracy, please feel free to correct me.

Brazen CEO Penelope Trunk was then rummaging through visitor questions, and there was one that almost got booted out of the pile. Seth chose to talk about it though, and he started off by saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that perhaps we all had to re-think the questions we were asking. The visitor wanted to know what tools he needed in order to achieve a particular career goal. His question, ultimately, was a How question: How do I become a bestselling author? How do I finish what I’ve already started? How do I get there?

Sounds familiar? Personally, I thought it was spot on. Although the question almost got the boot, I was glad Seth decided to dissect it, because secretly I knew that I would’ve asked the same question too.

The challenge was to re-think the How question and transform it into a Why question. To me, asking the Why question is just like taking the road less traveled — I knew that the whys in life are the ones that most practical minded people like myself choose to avoid, simply because it pushes the thinker to think even deeper than he already is. The whys supposedly breed philosophical, profound light bulb moments that ultimately help us understand the essence of things. And why do we avoid these things? Because it takes too much precious time. We just want to dig into the tool box and get on with it.

The concept of role models was then brought up. In the simplest terms, people have done it already — your seasoned marketing professionals and human resource managers and life coaches, etc. You want to know how to publish a bestseller? Talk to a bestselling author. You need the proper tools to become a successful entrepreneur? You can easily get an e-book on that.

The point is that the tools are already there. We’re all in a candy store and you can easily grab whatever suits your taste. But if you don’t know why you’re in that particular candy store in the first place, you wouldn’t know which aisle to choose and, God forbid, you might even come home with a whole bag of useless.

We could really learn from a 4-year old who asks Why? all the freaking time, don’t you think?

It’s hot.
Kid: Why?
Because the sun’s completely out.
Kid: But why?
Because it’s almost summer.
Kid: Oh… but why?

And this goes on until you yourself can’t find the answers to the kid’s questions anymore.

From the kid who’s simply inquisitive about the world around him, to us Gen-Y folk who could turn this inquisitiveness onto ourselves, as individuals. Why do I want to be the next Steve Jobs? Why do I want to be a teacher? Why do I want to retire at 40? From what I had gathered from that small part of the webinar, it’s about being completely honest with yourself, with what you want and need, and what you believe is best for you. Once you’ve established your true purpose, then go ahead and gorge away in your candy store of choice.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Fight Your War

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I’m a very laid back kind of person but I can be quite the perfectionist when I feel very competitive. Lately, I’ve been neither. I’ve found myself recoiling in defeat these days before some or other responsibility that I need to fulfill, a problem that I need to face. Why? I procrastinate. I pretend not to care. I fear. But when you delay, you make worse; when you’re indifferent, you become ignorant; and when you fear, you begin to distrust yourself. Not good. Not healthy. Not balanced at all.

I just got back from my late night stroll with my beagle. Usually, before we both go to bed, I take him out for a very short, relaxing walk in our backyard just because I know that he consumes more water in the evening and has to pee. As he was doing his business, I was just standing there, staring at our pear tree now covered with white blossoms, preparing to burst with fruit very soon. It’s the same pear tree I stare at when I meditate outside, just because it helps me concentrate. I thought about how it has survived even before I moved into this home, and how it has shed and blossomed and bore fruit all throughout the different seasons, over and over again, just repeating its cycle. It just stood there and went with the flow of the cold, heat, wind and snow. It does its duty no matter what.

I thought, does this pear tree’s spirit ever think the way I think, wishing that it could pass on the duty to the next tree when it feels tired in the winter or torn of its fruit by the birds of spring? No. Absolutely not. It doesn’t even budge when my beagle lifts his leg onto its trunk and everyone knows what happens next…

Of course, I’m not here to talk about the living spirits in trees or flowers or rocks. But I really got a lot of reflecting done in a span of 10 minutes outside just watching my dog sniff around our backyard. I haven’t been fighting my war. I try to ignore it altogether hoping that some random warrior decides to do it all for me. The idea of that ‘substitute warrior’ can take the form of absolutely anything: time (I’ll just wait until the universe decides to give me something else), luck (I’ll just pray to the gods that they spare me of this responsibility for now), excuses (I’m tired; I’m sick; I’m busy; I’m too good for this…).

Sri Swami Satchidananda said, “The body and mind are in a constant battlefield. Now and then, he reminds us, ‘Don’t give up. Fight with proper understanding; then you can win the war.” What is proper understanding? The Bhagavad Gita says that this proper understanding pertains to peace and tranquility. Once you’ve established that, you become one-pointed, like when you are praying or meditating: you put everything into it. In practical terms, I believe this simply means that we have to accept and fight our own battles, and be our own warrior. That is peace and tranquility. And that’s what you need to win.

This yoga pose sequence was what stuck with me today, especially as I meditated about fighting my war with the proper understanding of peace and tranquility. Ironically, this sequence usually comes right after I do the warrior poses. And honestly, the warrior poses are my least favorite yoga poses, simply because they challenge my patience and knees (the part of my body that needs a lot of work). Sadie Nardini of Yoga Journal says this sequence, called the Waterfall Pigeon, teaches you the fluid balance between giving out and giving in. When you breathe as you wave yourself up, you receive the “new energy you’re unlocking”, much like whenever we face a new challenge or accept the next task at hand. And when you exhale as you wave down, you are purified of all the things that prevent you from fulfilling your duty.

So the next time you find yourself in the battlefield, be one-pointed, much like how it is when you are praying, meditating, or simply accepting your battle. Then, you win. No matter what happens.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons and Yoga Journal

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