Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 89 - Learn about a new country or culture.

Ever since I was little and  I noticed differences between all of my classmates, I have been fascinated by different cultures and fascinated with the idea of differences around the world. I used to dream and still do of traveling the entire world, and now as a grown-up I always try to travel as much as possible.

One of the things that makes life beautiful is difference. We are people from different backgrounds, cultures, traditions and colors. Yet, we share one blood and we are all equal since we are all humans.

In the United States a lot of people live in a bubble, caught up on material things, their next accomplishment, and vanity; if only they were to expand their horizon and see what a big, beautiful world it is out there. It is so nice to travel and get to know the different cultures throughout the world, to experience the beauty of difference and to expand our knowledge of cultural differences.

Today my deed of the day is to learn about a new country or culture my country of choice is one of Europe's smallest countries, entirely surrounded by the much larger Ukraine to its East, and Romania to its West; Moldova. The country is split linguistically between Moldovan (Romanian) and Russian.

The following are five (5) interesting facts that I learned about the Moldovan culture:

  1. Moldova's production of wine is the highest in the world per capita; most houses have their own vines in their yards. While these homemade wines may not be of commercial standard, it shows that wine is at the heart of Moldovan culture.
  2. Moldova is a country where libraries are going bankrupt and there is more and more demand for macaroon and cupcake shops; forget about the bookshops, cupcakes are the future.
  3. The cave "Emil Racovita", in Criva is the 8th greatest cave on the planet.
  4. In Moldova smiling openly, often and in public is not generally a thing. Smiles are genuine and to be shared with friends, family and other loved ones. It's strange when you see someone smiling in public unless its directed at someone; smiling in public is a great way to spot foreigners. Moreover, the lack of smiles may make you think people are actually less than happy with you or in general, when really they are quite happy.
  5. Moldovan's make lots and lots of toasts; they will make a toast of Sanatate, "to health" but generally expect to hear anecdotes, a lot of well-wishing and a toast before every drink. During dinner about ten (10) toasts an hour is standard; not to mention, you are likely to hear the same toast over and over again. When they want to drink they even have a toast to avoid having a toast "hai devai!" which means "lets go".
Our world is more interconnected than it has ever been. People are more likely to meet someone of a different culture than ever before, yet many of us are not prepared for our global reality. Today, learn about a new country or culture; the following link teaches you about a new country a day with maps and fun facts. That way, next time you run into someone from another country, you can surprise them by letting them know something about their own culture!©

"Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in."
Andrew Zimmern ©

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 88 - Stop and look around.

The older I get the more I realize how the hours slip by unnoticed, and the days just don't feel as long as they once were, by the time you get home and eat dinner and shower you are too exhausted to even pick up a book and read.

It wasn't long ago that I noticed how beautiful the sky and sunsets are every day, and that I’ve been way too caught up in the whirlwind of my life to stop and appreciate the beauty; instead I had been miserable day after day sitting in traffic, stressed to arrive at my next destination. Have you ever noticed how mesmerizing the sky is, and how captivating the sunsets are? Every single day the sky’s colors change surprising us with something more incredible than the day before.

In this day and era it seems like life is a race. Everything is fast; there's fast food, the fast lane, cellphones. Everybody is in a hurry to get to work, then while at work in a hurry to finish so that they can go home, everyone lives for the weekend, on Monday they are counting down until Friday; and then you wonder why time is flying by.

We are always on the go, don't look back just look forward; appointment books and day planners filled, late for this, late for that, always on the run, reminding yourself to breathe once in a while.

Ferris Bueller was right when he said "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Today, stop and look at the beautiful, wonderful world around you. Watch people. Look at the wind blowing through the leaves. See the look on faces as they sing or play or laugh or enjoy an ice-cream. Look into eyes; see the way eyes communicate without words. Look at the sky and it’s beautiful ever changing colors.

This past July 4th there was a fatal boat accident in Miami, Florida; the accident took the lives of four extremely young individuals, one happened to be a classmates from high school's little sister, she was only 24 years old; the others were 20 and 23. I'm pretty sure those four young lives didn't think when they woke up that morning that it was their last day on earth, I am also sure that they wish they would give anything just to have one more day to look around and say their goodbyes. Tomorrow is never promised, so make it a point to stop and look around once in a while. 

Today, I stopped and looked at the sunset and as I do every single day, I fell in love with the sky all over again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 87 - Wait a beat before responding.

I've always been one to say the first thing that comes into my mind; I'm a debater, which is not always a good thing because sometimes I end up speaking faster than my brain could stop me. I've been doing yoga now for over two years and I have learned so many amazing things, one of the things I've learned is practicing mindfulness and being present.

When I read today's deed I already knew what the lesson was - slowing down and thinking about things carefully before making a decision or even before responding to someone. Learning to press pause means listening and assimilating before opening my mouth. Today, while going through my day there were times where I wanted to voice out loud my thoughts right away, but instead I would press pause and once I allowed myself to think about it I realized it didn't need to be said at all.

There are many reasons why you should wait a beat before responding, but one of the main reasons is that words have power. People can be pretty careless when it comes to choosing the words that come out of their mouths. According to Psychology Today, words cannot change reality, but they can change how people perceive reality. Words create filters through which people view the world around them and a single word can make the difference between liking a person and disliking that person.

We have a choice every day to use our words to cut or heal. Every time we speak we have a choice, either to make others feel great - or horrible. With that power comes the responsibility and obligation to use it wisely. Words not only effect us temporarily, they can actually change us. Today, wait a beat before responding and use that beat to use your words wisely.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 86 - Buy a plant for your desk.

Initially when I read today's deed I thought 'oh no, here I go again murdering another plant.' You see, here's the thing ... I love plants, I think they're beautiful but I work in a bat cave with NO windows whatsoever; I have tried on many occasions to keep plants in my office to no gratification. I have read books, I've watched YouTube videos, I've even bought plant vitamins for them, but I always, always end up killing them (not purposely).

It's funny because there's this scene in a movie I once watched called 28 Days with Sandra Bullock, it's basically a movie about being in rehab, and upon leaving rehab their counselor tells the group "take small steps before getting into a relationship; first, buy a plant, if the plant lives buy a pet and if the pet lives, then you can consider loving someone else". Every time my plants die I think to myself  humorously 'there goes my chance at love.'

Jokes aside, adding a touch of green to your work space carries proven wellness benefits, from boosting productivity to purifying the air. Now if you're like me, windowless and lacking time for watering your plants having one can seem time-consuming and demotivating, but after researching a bit, I found out that there are ways to avoid getting stuck with a sad plant cemetery on your desk by choosing specific air-cleaning, mood-boosting plants. Not only are there plants that are impossible to kill, but you have a wide variety to choose from!

The following are just a few of unattainable-to-kill plants that you can add to your office space minus the responsibility and headaches:
  1. The Spider PlantThese low maintenance plants thrive on partial sun or shade; making it ideal for a cubicle or windowless office. On the plus side researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa say that spider plants carry loads of benefits for improving indoor air quality and reducing stress at work.
  2. Lemon Balm PlantThese plants are happy even if the nearest window is all the way across the office or if there is no window at all. Researchers from Ohio State University say that extensive research has proven Lemon Balm's improve your mood and boost workplace wellness. Not to mention Lemon Balm plants have a sweet smell that will enhance any mood. 
  3. The Philodendron PlantNot only is this plant lavish and leafy, but it is nearly impossible to kill, and researchers from the Sydney University of Technology found that these plants are not only pretty to look at but they are good for your health. Philodendrons are one of the best plants that free indoor air of VOC's and excess carbon dioxide which causes frequent headaches, drowsiness and loss of concentration.
  4. The Peace Lily PlantPeace lilies love shade so they will thrive in a windowless office; not only are they pretty to look at, but researchers at NASA say that Peace Lilies is one of the top plants that removes tons of VOC's from the air.
  5. Golden Pothos Plant - This lovely plant is shown by NASA researchers to be the top air-cleansing plant and is famously low-maintenance. Its beautiful heart-shaped leaves are shown to remove up to 73% of VOC's and other pollutants from sealed chambers and was voted the "best indoor plant for low-maintenance situations" by Better Homes&Gardens.
To view a list of other impossible-to-kill plants for your office space click here.

As for me, I chose the delightful Golden Pothos plant for my office space AND I also purchased one for my nightstand table at home. Another added bonus, I've had both plants now for over a month and they are still alive!

If you could bring something into your office space that is pretty, boosts your productivity, enhances your mood and makes you breathe better why wouldn't you? It doesn't hurt to try and if worst comes to worst, you will still have a pretty plant to look at!

"Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness." - Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 85 - Get some fresh air.

Before reading today's deed, I must mention – last year I got promoted to a pretty high position; I was so overwhelmingly busy that it got to the point where I wouldn't take lunch and would eat at my desk. I'm not one to believe in News Year’s resolutions, but this year for 2014 I decided that I would take a lunch every single day and go out into mother nature. 

We are now in April and I haven't missed a lunch outside since the year commenced. Personally sitting outside in the beautiful weather, watching butterflies and squirrels interacting, and reading revives me. It really makes me feel like a new person when I get back to the office; it changes my mood, I'm chirpy and radiant and sometimes I even sing in the office (my poor co-workers).

A walk in nature cures a lot. Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting. People are so busy now a day that they don't stop to realize just how breathtaking this planet really is. When is the last time you looked at the clouds; or the stars and the moon?

The following are some reasons why you should STOP what you’re doing today and go outside to get some fresh air – you deserve it:
  1. Lack of Sunlight is bad for your health – Over the last few decades we have increasingly left natural light and fresh air out of our lives. What people don't understand is that sunlight is a powerful healer, tonic, remedial agent, and relaxer. According to Science -HowStuffWorks sunlight is actually good for you and a chronic lack of sun exposure has been linked to fertility problems, several forms of cancer, general poor health and varying degrees of depression. People actually get depressed, with symptoms like sadness, fatigue and hopelessness from lack of sunlight.

  2. Sunlight helps you sleep better at night –When the sun shines on the skin; the nerve endings absorb energy and send it throughout the entire body. This calms the nerves. We've all experienced how a few hours spent at the beach or working in the garden can make you feel like taking a nap, the reason for this is that when the sun hits your skin it produces vitamin D in your body and then works as a great natural aid to calcium absorption. Calcium soothes the nervous system which helps anyone suffering from insomnia or sleeplessness. Did you know that sunlight is one of the greatest sleep inducers? You always sleep better at night when you spend enough time in fresh air and sunshine during the day.

  3. Fresh air improves your mental health – Fresh air is the one thing that naturally helps improve mental health and creates a feeling of calm, overall well-being. Per Health Magazine studies show that spending time outdoors actually increases your brain power and fresh air and is the best way to avoid getting sick.
Today, take some time for yourself and step outside into the fresh air. I promise it will leave you feeling rejuvenated and blissful. Your to-do list will never get smaller because items will continually pile on - so stop making excuses and get out there RIGHT NOW! Thanks in advance.

"Keep your face always towards the sunshine and shadows will always fall behind you."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 84 - Buy a box of thank-you notes and birthday cards so you're always ready to mark an occassion.

Before iPads or iPhones or eBooks or eReaders, there was paper, and there was ink. Now that e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other ways to stay in touch have taken over our lives, writing letters, thank-you notes, birthday cards, or even invitations is rare in the twenty-first century.

Personal handwritten notes, whether a thank-you note or a birthday note is a simple act of gratitude that goes a long way. It shows appreciation and value which reaches beyond a predictable thank-you. Being that handwritten notes are so meticulously slow — to draft, to send, to assure delivery — they're not a good way to ask for things on a day to day basis. Instead, they're more frequently used to remind others that you value your relationship 

In a generation filled with e-mails, tweets, and text messages; handwriting has become less important in our lives then it has ever been. The U.S. Postal Service's Annual Survey, said that the average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks, whereas in 1987 personal letters went out at least every two weeks; and per The Wall Street Journal, it has been discovered through a British survey that the average time since an adult wrote anything handwritten at all was 41 days.

While always saying “thank you” is extremely important, the beauty of a well-crafted handwritten note is that it can show deeper investment and appreciation than a simple, verbal “thanks”. It can remind someone they're not forgotten, follow-up on a conversation or include a birthday gift; each card carries its own meaning, and in a world where so much communication is impractical, these simple acts of adoration, remembrance, gratitude, and appreciation can show the people who matter to your personal and business life that they are important to you.

I personally have always been fond of handwritten notes. Many people have a box somewhere with saved handwritten letters and postcards, and they think of them as treasured possessions including myself. So, for today's deed, although I already had some thank-you cards on hand, I went out and bought an extra box along with birthday cards, and what better day to buy them since I received beautiful orchids, so it gave me the opportunity to send out one of my new thank-you cards.

Today, go out and buy yourself a box of cards and send a handwritten THANK YOU or HAPPY BIRTHDAY to someone you care about; being grateful only brings abundance to your life, it's one of the laws of attraction. I'm sure you love receiving them, so today, begin giving them!

 "There is always, always, always something to be thankful for."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 83 - Write a letter to your future self and stash it away to discover later.

If you could speak to your future self, what would you say? What do you want to remember, to hold on to, to figure out, and to forget?

Before writing my letter today, I did some research and this deed is actually a very common task to do, in fact there are a lot of high schoolteachers that give this as an assignment; you must write a five paragraph essay (at least five sentences per paragraph) and aim it towards yourself in 10 years. The purpose of this assignment is to provide a record of your life and who you were; to anchor in time your current views, attitudes, philosophy, and outlook; to explore your feelings and opinions about a variety of issues and to create a document that, years from now, will have significant value to you. 

Something about this deed excited me, it excited me to think about the possibilities in the future and what my facial expression will be five years from now upon reading the letter; and it excited me to think of my life in a time capsule. Just imagine writing a letter to your future self years from now and seeing how much of it resonated with you, the concept and idea fascinate me. In addition, at the very moment you are writing the letter, your consciousness is captured and stored right there in those words. When you open the letter in the future, your future self gets to compare how you used to be in the past and compare with how you currently are.

Writing a letter to my future self helped me step out of today and look forward to tomorrow, it also made me enthusiastic for things I hadn't allowed myself time to contemplate. When my letter was finalized, I sealed it in an envelope and placed it safely in my treasured memory box that I've had since I was a child. I smiled at the possibilities and also got to
clear my mind and think of my true desires in life; which I've never gotten the chance to do before due to today's fast-paced lifestyle.

Today I urge you to write a letter to your future self; it can be anywhere from one year, to five years, even 10 years. It'll inspire, empower and motivate you to live bigger, happier and more fulfilled. Not to mention, with our generations technological developments, sites like Future Me and Letter 2 Future allow you to type a letter to yourself and set the date when you'd like to be e-mailed. Writing a letter to the future you can bring suppressed hopes and dreams to the forefront. Reading them back to yourself on the appointed delivery date can be an extremely powerful movement; no one knows you better than yourself, and it's never more apparent than when you read something written for you, by you.

May your life be filled with the love and bliss that is always waiting for you within your soul.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 82 - Look into the eyes of the person you are talking with.

In the Bible, verse Matthew 6:22-23 it reads, "the eyes are the window to the soul"; many different poets have since used the famous quote including William Shakespeare. The meaning of this verse is that if you look deeply into a person’s eyes, you can tell who they truly are. 

Eyes are one of the best attributes of human expression because they can be direct and elusive, as well as show a million different emotions in just one look. 

There are many reasons why it is important to look someone in the eyes when speaking to them. Looking into the eyes of the person you are talking to shows respect for that person, whether it’s a boss or a friend, it reflects that their opinion is important to you; sincerity can definitely be felt through eye contact.

If you like someone in any shape, way, or form, eye contact is significant because it shows you are actually interested and listening to what they are saying. Eye contact can say so much and show so many different things, it can reflect intimacy, understanding, love, attentiveness and so much more.

I personally get so busy at work sometimes that someone coming into my office for a simple question can irk me, so when they do come in I keep on working hoping that not making eye contact will show them I'm busy. It's an awful thing to do, I know, and I didn't realize it until completing this particular deed.

Today, I made it a point to make eye contact with everyone that crossed my path whether it was the mailman, the stranger waiting in line behind me at CVS, a coworker or a friend. Not only was it nice to take a breather and realize that I'm not a machine made to work and I too deserve a small break, but it also reflected how good the person felt for me taking the time to listen even if it was just to borrow my scotch tape. I can't promise I'll always do what I did today, but I can promise to try.

Today's society consumes us so much and we don't even realize it. Have you ever stopped while at a restaurant and looked around? Most people sitting down are on their cell phones rather than having a conversation. Most people are too busy at work to stop and have a small chat. Most people at the grocery store or in the street are in too much of a hurry to acknowledge another human being. Be that person that makes a difference today and show people that you actually care enough to take the time and look them in the eyes while they're speaking, even if it is your waiter telling you the days special; I can guarantee you will make their day or even their week by a tiny little gesture that takes no effort at all!

"Basic human contact – the meeting of eyes, the exchanging of words – is to the psyche what oxygen is to the brain. If you’re feeling abandoned by the world, interact with anyone you can.”©

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 81 - Tell your mom your favorite memory of her.

Have you ever noticed how a person's face lights up when you mention a memory of them, or ask them to tell you their favorite memory? Last night in my church small group one of the questions was 'what do you like hearing people talk about?' and when it came my turn to answer, I said I like to hear about people's happy moments, what they love; what they're passionate about; simply because when someone speaks about what makes them happy, their face radiates with light and their eyes shine brighter than the North Star - I can't tell you how much I love seeing people when they look like this.

There may be no love like a mother's love. As the first person you meet and come to know, moms hold a special place in our hearts. From reading to us before bed, tucked in all the way around like a 'butterfly sleeping in a cocoon', to kissing our boo boo's goodbye, mothers are our rock and solitude in an ever changing life. 

When I initially read today's deed, memories rushed through my head making me smile in disbelief that I could even recall those moments at such a young age. So many in fact that I found it is hard to choose just one. The following is my note to my mom:

Dear Momma,
When I look back on my life there are so many millions of little moments that you      have shared with me. You loved me, protected me, taught me and made me into the person that I am today. Through thick and thin, you were always there rooting me on.

There are so many things that I remember from my childhood. I remember collecting Disney ornaments every single year for our Christmas tree, oh how I would be so happy to add a new one to the tree. I remember the way your face shined whenever you received your favorite flowers, sun flowers. And, how could I forget you letting me turn your walk-in closet into a Barbie mansion? The selfless love and compassion you taught me to have for all living things, especially animals; there would not be one animal on the side of the street not rescued by you and placed in a loving home.
My list of memories can go on forever for how can you pick only one memory out of half a life time? But, if I did have to choose just one, I would pick the memories I have of every single year on the night before Christmas; in our PJ’s we'd go to the living room where the tree was placed and we would put out cookies and milk for Santa and grass for the reindeers. Normal children, like Danny, would usually wake up in the morning and run directly to the presents under the tree, not I - I would run straight to the table and I would be so excited when I would see the grass chewed and the cookies and milk half eaten that I would scream and jump for joy.

I cannot wait to someday have children of my own so that I can share with them everything you taught me.

My list can go on forever on how you made my life so much better by being in it, but instead I just want to end this note by saying I love you, I appreciate everything you've done and I can only hope to be half the mother you are until this day.

Thank you for the memories.
Your Princess

In a world where we only like to point out the bad instead of the good, the ugly instead of the pretty, and the sad instead of the happy; we never stop to really appreciate what we have, while we still have it. Today, I encourage you to write a little note to your mom with your favorite memory of her and just watch as her face lights up with joy. In fact, I say we make it a new tradition and write love notes to our cherished loved ones on a normal basis!

"All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother" –   Abraham Lincoln ©

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 80 - Be understanding and truthful.

When I initially read today's deed of the day I thought to myself "I know how to be understanding and truthful already, so how do I complete this deed? what exactly do I have to do?" Confused I decided to look up the meaning and significance behind each word and I soon learned that I was not being 100% understanding and truthful on a daily basis.

The virtue of understanding means using your mind to think clearly, paying careful attention to see the meaning of things. An understanding mind gives you insights and wonderful ideas. An understanding heart gives you empathy and compassion for others. Understanding is the power to think and learn and also to care.

The virtue of truthfulness means being honest in your words and actions. You don't tell lies even to defend yourself. Don't listen to gossip or prejudice. See the truth for yourself. Don't try to be more than you are to impress others. Be yourself, your true self.

I read the meaning to both virtues throughout the day and whenever I dealt with someone at work or a friend I stopped to reassess the virtues in the back of my mind. I tried my best to analyze and understand every situation I confronted today. And when walk-in’s would come into the office asking for me, instead of having my assistant say I'm in a meeting I practiced the truthfulness virtue and accepted them with an open door. Usually I would get stressed at the situation, upset that the person took 10 minutes of my precious, valuable time but today I realized that person walking in caused me to stop and breath for a moment which felt pretty pleasant.

In my yoga class tonight, I also practiced truthfulness and understanding with myself; during a usual class, I dedicate my practice to someone or something that I want to send light and energy too, or someone that might be in need of a little love and bliss. Tonight I dedicated the practice to myself – because truth and understanding comes from within ourselves in order for us to radiate it to someone else, and we are just in as much need of truth and understanding as anyone else, especially since we are usually harder on ourselves.

Today's deed made me realize that love is understanding, seeing, hearing and accepting someone for who they are. In today's day in age people hold a certain expectation of how someone should or shouldn't be; everyone's expectations are different but it still doesn’t make them right.

We have all been guilty of judging others, but when you let go of needing others to live according to your 'right' way, you realize that your life is filled with love and understanding rather than stress and confrontation.

When you show up without criticism and judgment and with understanding in your heart, it allows people to be exactly who they are and love is exchanged.

Tonight as I sit in bed writing this post, I feel at ease and peaceful and have learned that I want to live my life with these two particular virtues. Try practicing your day with a little bit of understanding and truthfulness and you’ll see just how rewarding it will turn out to be.