The best way I know to get away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living is to take a walk and immerse yourself in nature. Nature speaks and it has a lot of wisdom to share; but you need to pay attention. I just came back from a three-day trek in the mountain; it was one of the most difficult and one of the most beautiful experiences I had lately, and I learn a lesson or two from the various lakes that came my way.
Advice from a Lake.
Be clear. Make positive ripples look beneath the surface. Stay calm. Shore up friendships. Take time to reflect. Be full of life!
Nature speaks – Advice from a lake – Be clear
People who see clearly are confident in themselves and in their abilities. Confident people know who they are, what they want, and how they should go about it. They have a road map, they have a destination in mind, and have planned the journey ahead. They have determination, discipline, a sense of purpose and they go through their life in a state of joy, happiness, and grace. The quest for clarity is an endless pursuit. We all seek it. We all want clear answers to our questions. We all want clear solutions to our problems. We all want clear paths to follow along the road to a happy and successful life. We all want to move from a state of confusion, which brings with it a lot of suffering to a state of clarity that brings joy and happiness.
People who don’t see clearly are lost, they drift, they are discouraged, they keep changing their mind, and instead of going forward towards the light (they is always light at the end of the tunnel) they turn around in circles wandering endlessly and compulsively but not really going anywhere; and their life journey ends up being a journey full of pain and suffering. The lack of clarity triggers different types of reactions in people. Some people will opt for burying their heads in the sand and continue operating on autopilot. Others will sink into despair or run around in a state of panic not knowing what to do, holding on to their anger, resentment, and suffering.
Suffering is part of life, everybody has problems, issues, dramas to deal with. Jordan Peterson advocates that we should bear our own cross, our own suffering, transcend it and then try to reduce it by becoming some kind of heroes to ourselves and to people around us. How do we become heroes? Not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world. We become heroes by becoming a better person every day shining our own light into the world, and the gift of clarity helps us do just that.
Nature speaks – Advice from a lake – Be clear – Make positive ripples – Look under the surface – Shore up friendships
All of us without hesitation would prefer if given the choice, to be in the skin of one of those people who can see clearly. However, life is never black or white, life is a lot more complex than that; and you can bet that all of us will have periods where we experience moments of clarity, where everything is in harmony, where we feel that we are on top of the world and we know where we are going; but we will also experience moments when we lack clarity – when we are filled with doubt, when we feel discouraged and drift, not knowing where we are going.
Buddhist believe that “the world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearance, and if we are patient and still the truth will be revealed to us.”
“Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But, if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”
If clarity was a commodity that could be purchased, the chance is that commodity would become the most precious item one could own. The problem is you cannot obtain clarity from someone else; you cannot buy clarity and you cannot, unfortunately, receive it as a gift from someone else. You will have to find it yourself. Clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions congruent with each other. We should also accept the fact that if you are not present in the moment, you will not be able to see clearly. Being present in the moment is a very powerful tool for you to experience greater clarity and make better choices.
According to the Native Americans, in order to conduct your life as a human being, you have to watch nature and imitate it. If you watch the land, you will see that all the plants and animals co-exist in their natural environment. When you look at a poisonous plant, you will see that it is bare all around; a poisonous plant has no friends. The same applies to humans.
You watch the animal kingdom and you realize that there are no predators; there is only natural law. Animals and humans have one thing in common, we don’t want to be eaten. So, what should we do to avoid this fate? We should learn everything that life can teach us and applies those life lessons into our day-to-day life in order to not only survive but thrive.
In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication. DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice. DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category. Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.
The one thing I would like to see happen in the New Year is the end of alienation
Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! Thank you for taking the time to read my work and interact with me through your comments. I appreciate every single one of you. Starting a new year is always filled with much anticipation; 2021 carries with it a lot of hope bearing in mind what we all went through in 2020. There is much to say about last year and if I can succinctly summarize it in one word, I would use the word INSANE. Moving on, if there is one thing that I would like to see happen in the New Year is the end of the state of ALIENATION where we all seem to languish.
The word ‘alienation’ comes from the Latin word ‘estrange’ and is defined as the separation or estrangement of human beings from some essential aspect of their nature or from society often resulting in feelings of powerlessness or helplessness.
We spent the whole of last year being alienated from each other, being forced to stay at home away from friends, family, colleagues and, customers. Spending all our time in-door in our own-little-sanitized-virus-free-bubble; being linked to the outside world only through our electronic devices is becoming the ‘new normal’ and this in return alienate us from one another, from nature and from ourselves.
Alienation from one another
“No man is an island’“
Humans are social creatures, connections are a core human need; we need healthy relationships to thrive. It is through connections that we accomplish virtually everything that happens to us in life. It is not just a preference, it is a survival need. It is not surprising therefore to see connection and the feeling of belonging to a group coming in 3rd place on Maslow’s Pyramid of needs just after food, water, shelter which is the first basic needs that are necessary for our survival and the need for safety through employment health, property, which is Maslow’s 2nd basic needs.
As a quick refresher, Abraham Maslow is an American psychologist, best known for writing A Theory of Human Motivation and Towards a Psychology of Being; he defined the concept of Self-Actualization. Maslow’s unique approach to psychology came from the fact that he decided to study mentally healthy individuals, instead of people with serious psychological issues. His focus was on Self-Actualized individuals who had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world and who share qualities such as truth, goodness, aliveness, uniqueness and playfulness.
At the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, you can find basic needs of human beings such as food, water, sleep, sex. The next level is safety needs or the need for security, order and stability. Once individuals have achieved their basic nutrition, shelter and safety needs, they are free to accomplish more; and this is how they move on to the next level i.e.love, belonging to a group, connection. The fourth level i.e. esteem is the need to feel competent and recognized; this level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished through professional success and status. At the top of the pyramid, you have the need for self-actualization which occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.
Coming back to the main point of this article, several studies have demonstrated the fact that connecting with others is good for our physical and mental health. Real connection is more profound than mere conversation. True connection can happen without words and with someone we don’t even know. On the other hand, constant contact such as working with someone every day is no guarantee of actual connection.
True connection happens when you make yourself open and available to another and the other person does the same towards you. We feel connected to someone when we are being physically embraced, emotionally understood and supported by another being; you add to this mix some empathy and compassion and you have the secret recipe for a great connection.
Scientists looked into this and science is clear on this issue, how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health and happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest study on adult life ever conducted, allowing researchers to collect a huge amount of data on men’s physical and mental health. Women were not part of the original study because the college was still all-male. The study started in 1938 when scientists started tracking the health of two hundred and sixty-eight Harvard sophomores; they hoped that the study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives. Scientists expanded their research to include the men’s offspring and more than a decade ago added their wives to the study. From the pool of men who participated in the study some went on to become successful businessmen, doctors and lawyers, while others ended up as schizophrenics or alcoholics. The surprising finding was that our relationships, and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health. The revelation is that: taking care of your body is important but tending to your relationships plays a critical role in living long and pleasant lives and is a form of self-help too. Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. These close ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline and are better indicators of long and happy lives than social class, IQ or even genes.
The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from one another that we are experiencing right now. I wish for 2021 to be the year where we are safely able to reconnect with our family, friends, colleagues and customers.
Alienation from nature
In a world where we spend more and more time indoors and glued to our screens, we should add go outside and immerse ourselves in nature as one additional item on our New Year resolution list. There is nothing better than a walk in the park, or in the woods, or a stroll by the beach to invigorate our senses and give us a feeling of happiness and peace. Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, stress and improve our immune system.
Researcher David Strayer of the University of Utah confirmed that brain scans show unequivocally that we are physically and mentally healthier when we are interacting with nature. Science is demonstrating what we intuitively knew that nature makes us happy.
“We must cherish the natural world because we are part of it and we depend on it.”
Sir David Attenborough
A day out in the sunshine can provide us with vitamin D which is vital for a good immune system. A large chunk of the population today is Vitamin D deficient and this deficiency is often found to be the root cause of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s to name only a few. This problem can be easily solved by spending more time outside in the sunshine.
The environment is a natural purifier. Spending some hours outdoors helps in releasing the toxins from our body and leave us feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Moreover, time spent outside will naturally push us to do more physical activities, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming surfing, kicking a football. Any exercise outdoor will help burn fat and improve your body’s metabolism.
If you live in an urban area and are not within close proximity to a park, having some plants at home can work wonders. Growing plants at home can add aesthetic beauty to your living space, but it can also contribute to purifying the air you breathe.
Advice from a Tree from Ilan Shamir
The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from nature. I wish for 2021 to be the year where we go outside and embrace the changing seasons, the energy and birth of Spring, the growth and contentment of summer, the wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall and the rest and quiet renewal of winter.
Alienation from self
Do you know who you are and what your true nature is? Operating within our true nature is often put on the back burner because there are more pressing things to attend to on a daily basis. People tend to get lost within their never-ending obligations, domestic chores and ordinariness of life.
Everyone has to bear the burden of their own internal struggles. Life will bring you a series of good fortune and misfortune. Learning how to respond to the resulting joy or pain and confusion is always a struggle; but if we learned to act from our true essence, it would be less of a struggle.
One way for us, human beings to regain our sense of connection to ourselves is to be mindful and present in the moment and pay attention to our feelings about a particular situation, such as fear, greed, envy, jealousy, anger, hate. The idea is to let those feelings envelop us and try to deal with them with as much compassion and wisdom as we are capable.
What is fear? Non-acceptance of uncertainty. If we accept uncertainty it becomes an adventure. What is envy? Non-acceptance of good in others. If we accept good in others it becomes inspiration. What is anger? Non-acceptance of what is beyong our control. I we accept it, it becomes tolerance. What is hate? Non-acceptance of people as they are. If we accept each other unconditionally, it becomes love.
Native American Wisdom
According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to Know Thyself. That Motto Know Thyself was one of the maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. With this inscription, the Oracles at Delphi invited people to gaze inwards and discover that the essence of one’s life is not be searched outside ourselves, but within, this is where we find clarity.
“Way too many people are going to spend 30–40 years of their life trying to check the boxes of the things that they’re not good at and waste a fuck load of time and lose.”
Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires; without self-awareness, many of your choices are made unconsciously; who to love or not to love, why you feel sad, why you feel happy, why you stay in your current job?
The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from self a lot of people are experiencing right now. I wish for 2021 to be the year when people reconnect with who they are and find the clarity that eluded them before.