My Meditative Struggles

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Every night.  When the bedtime rolls around and all is quiet, there is a raging struggle going on.  Right between my two ears.

Yes, I am mindful the best practices for a good night sleep recommend going to bed the same time, keeping my room dark and the temperature cool, etc.  No worry.  I have the external environment under control.

What going on in my head is a different story.  You see, my mind wonders.  First, a thought.  Then it flows to another.  And another.  Soon, it is a raging tsunami.  No counting sheep, making a list, even bedtime yoga can calm it down.

In spite of several meditative attempts, I find the more I observe my mind the more awake I become.  More likely than not, I end up surrendering and getting up instead of lying in bed, struggling.

What would you do to combat insomnia?

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3 Levels of Life

Tell me,  are you happy?

A loaded question, I know.

Nevertheless, important to ponder.

Are you pursuit of happiness, making a living, or surviving?

We all go through the process, but

the outcome differs depending where do you stop.

Which level are you at?

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Make Time For It

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If “it” is something important to us, make time for it.  Otherwise, we are either cheating ourselves (i.e. the said important thing is really not) or poor manager of our time.

Time is the great equalizer.  We all have the same amount of time: 24 hours or 1440 minutes a day, each day.  How we choose to allocate our time reflects what we deem as important.

Unless we don’t know what is important and only blindly follow others, we are really working on someone’s else’s priorities.  Which leads to the next evolution: how we actually spent our time indicates how well we manage OUR priorities.

So if your New Year’s resolution is important, have you made time for it?  Or are you just following fads?  And if you did make the time, was it enough? Or do you need to rethink your priority?

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What Is Your Thing?

If you are trying to decide on your New Year’s resolution(s), may I suggest first finding out what is your thing.  Then you have a better chance finding a good resolution.  Allow me to elaborate.

I run marathon.  Do I love it? The short answer is:  No (sorry to burst your bubble). But I know it is the right thing for me.  Besides the benefits of health and fellowship, running marathon happens to be a good “fit” with what I am good at – self-discipline.

You see, it takes dedication and persistent efforts to run marathon.  And for me, besides the 26.2 miles race, each marathon is preceded by a 20 weeks training. Totaling the mileage over the period exceeds 700 miles.  Being self-disciplined is definitely a plus.

Same thing can be said about my blogging.  Benefits of blogging are many.  But do I love it?  You guessed it, NoWhy do I bog then, you maybe wondering?  Again, it is a good fit with my self-discipline.

Therefore, if you are still searching for your New Year’s resolution, perhaps something that matches your thing will work.

So, what is your thing?



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Week In Review – 7 Jan 2018

With a mixed feelings of hope and disappointment, my blog kicked off another year this week.  Hope in that I have opportunity to continue my learning and the fun in the process, and disappointment in that the U.S. is below average in quality of life among the developed countries.

From a macro point of view, the U.S. government bears a lion share of the responsibility in the dismay.  We are not talking about the GDP or economy which the U.S. leads the world in material conditions but the softer and qualitative side of social capitals in term of social trust and inequality.

Apology for sugar coating it, but this sucks.  Because our declining quality of life is getting worse, not better.   Particularly with the current administration, whose tactics of Making America Great Again, focuses on the quantitative side at the expense of qualitatives.

My sincere hope is that, in the new year, we can be more compassionate, backing off on short-sighted gains, and achieving a more balanced and happier society.  It will take all of our efforts.  And the mid-term election in 2018 is a good place to start.

Lastly, it has been a cold winter thus far.  Be careful and take care yourself and others.

Have a nice week.

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S.A.D. No More

SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder (commonly known as the winter blues).

This winter, I have gained weight. Especially on the heel of the marathon in November, the increase is dramatic and astronomical.  I could rationalize that the added layer of fat from increasing intake of calories is to keep my body warm and a natural defense against the cold.

But I am also lethargic at times.  The thought of hibernation sounds like a wonderful choice to me.  That’s two strikes against me according to the National Health Service in England.  In fact the NHS recommends the opposite strategy –  go outside and get some sun.

So outside I went.  Ran 7 miles this morning and the temperature was 9 degree Fahrenheit (the coldest run this year).  Was this crazy or what?  Luckily there were plenty sunshine along the trail.  Even saw many enthusiasts playing hockey on the frozen canal.

If that sounded fun, the weather forecast cautioned about getting frostbite from overexposure ( in 30 minutes or less).  Just to put things in perspective.  I bundled up from top to bottom.  And happy to report that my gears held up quite well against the cold blistery morning wind.

By the time when I joined the SRC for our post-run coffee and bagels, the warmth from the place, drinks, and fellowship wiped away my coldness and any SAD feeling I might have.

How do you fight against the winter blues?

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What Support?

Support is important.  Look at your feet.  Aren’t they supported by the ground?  Same is true when it comes to human relation. Behind every Best Actor there is a supporting cast. No one can do it alone.

Unfortunately in our winner-take-all culture everyone wants to be the star.  The role of the support is often overlooked.  Like the Second place finisher is as good as the also ran.  How often do we pay attention to them?

Unless, of course when we experience a need.  Then, people who takes care of you when you’re sick, who cooks for you when you’re hungry, who delivers you mail when you’re home sick get noticed.  That’s when we appreciate their support.

When the table turns, understanding the role of giving support is important.  Because the focus shifts from oneself to others. What need of others can we adequately fulfill?  If the supporting person steals the show, s/he would not be the best supporting actor.

How do you describe  a supportive person?  Would you fit that description?

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Frozen in Washington DC

The  hot air in Washington DC is nullified by the wintry storm.  The region has been under the grip of an arctic cold spill for about a week now. Local Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security issues cold emergency and hypothermia alerts almost nightly.

The cold air quadrupled by gusting winds amps up the freezing effect.  As an example, today’s alert warned area residents to be “prepared for temperatures and/or wind chill values to be below -5 degrees.”  Warm thoughts and warmer drinks help.

Unfortunately there is no relief.  The forecast map ( shows that DC is not alone in this big freeze. Our neighbors to the north and north-east has it even worse.  And it is not going to get better any time soon.



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What’s New In 2018?

It is year 2018.  January 3rd to be precise.  About the only noticeable difference the New Year brought me are the calendars around the house.  And even that, only the last digit of the year changed.

So it begs the question: what is really new in 2018?  Not the gifts from the holidays, but something new in life and different?

Personally, not much.  My “changes” if you will are more in degree than in kind.  Which means my life follows pretty much the same routines as in the last year.   Except, I am diving deeper into  these routines.

Take yoga practice for example.  A “tree” pose still challenges my total stability.  But I am  more at easy with the feeling of rooting from the ground through my center channel to the tips of my fingers.   The type of details that I had missed in the past year.

In other words, while my routines are similar as before, I am discovering nuances in their execution because I am more present for them.  In doing so, I am uncovering things that I hastily missed.  Therefore, what new in 2018 for me are my perspective and approach toward things.

What’s new for you in 2018?

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A Happy New Year, Not

A new year, another 365 days of opportunity to find happiness.  However many telltale signs indicate that the new year may not be as happy as one would hope.

A case in point is the plight of Federal employees when majority of them are getting the knife from the current administration:

Certainly, one could argue that a smaller government means less bureaucracy, more savings, and better for the people.  But truth be told that less government services will be offered as a result.

Moreover, the new tax plan passed by the Congress and signed by the current administration has yet to be defined ramifications.  But one change is clear – the ubiquitous personal exemptions is history starting the new year.

So yes, more taxes and less services.  And yes, it is early in the new year.  The opportunity for happiness is still possible but not probable given the current trends.

What is your outlook for 2018?

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