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Waitress's Kind Gesture Toward Grieving Parents....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on June 9, 2015 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Waitress Kayla Lane, right, picked up the tab for regular customers Shaun and Debbie Riddle, after finding out that the couple lost their 9-week-old baby....

A couple grieving the loss of their 9-week-old daughter got an unexpected surprise when the waitress serving them picked up their tab.

Debbie Davis Riddle and her husband, Shaun Riddle, are regulars at the West Side Café in Fort Worth, Texas. The last time they were at the restaurant, the couple brought with them their newborn daughter, Glory. “They were in the back room and I had to go see her and congratulate them on their baby,” Kayla Lane, a waitress at West Side Café, tells Yahoo Parenting.

When they arrived at the restaurant on Thursday, Lane noticed Glory wasn’t with them. “I said, ‘Didn’t y’all have a baby with you last time?’ And they looked at each other and were quiet, and then Shaun looked at me and said, ‘She passed away four weeks ago,’” Lane says. “I didn’t know what to say. I just said, ‘Oh my gosh, I am so sorry and I know you are hearing “sorry” so much that it’s just another word, but I really am terribly sorry.’ There’s nothing anyone can say to make that better, especially someone like me who has never had a child or lost a child. So I just served them with the best service I could.”

But that’s not all Lane did — at the end of the meal, she decided to cover the couple’s tab. Instead of giving them a bill, she gave them a note that read: “Your ticket has been paid for. We are terribly sorry for your loss. God bless. —The West Side.”

That evening, Debbie Riddle shared a photo of the bill on her Facebook page, with a note. “We eat at West Side Café on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth quite a lot and last month sometime we took our new baby, Glory. Well, we just went there this afternoon and our waitress Kayla remembered us and asked where our baby was. Sadly, we had to tell her baby Glory passed away and is with God now. She felt so horrible for asking but she was so sweet,” she wrote. “When it was time for us to pay our bill, Kayla brings over our receipt. She didn’t even want us to tip her because she said the company took care of her tip as well. We hear so much negativity on the news and so that is why I felt led to share this story in hope that Kayla and this restaurant will get some good recognition.”

 The post received more than 14,000 likes and more than 9,000 shares.

Lane says that she didn’t want any recognition for picking up the tab, which is why she said the restaurant covered it. She was outed to the local CBS news by a manager, who confirmed that Lane paid for the couple’s meal herself. It’s a gesture she has performed before — usually for military service members, police officers, or firefighters, she says. “Normally I pick up the check for people who are underappreciated,” she says. “Knowing that I can do some small thing — it might just be a $15 meal, but to them it’s ‘Oh my gosh, someone paid for my meal.’ I feel like I am putting it out there that society is still OK, the world is OK, there are still plenty of good people out there.”

The 21-year-old waitress, who has worked at the West Side Café for four years, says she wanted to cover the Riddles’ check because she admired their strength. “I wanted them to know that even people who don’t know them feel for them and support them,” she says. “I didn’t do it because I felt guilty for bringing it up or even because I felt bad for them. I did it because it was amazing to see their strength through it all — they still prayed before their meal and everything.”


After they realized their check had been paid for, Lane says the couple shared stories and pictures of their daughter — who, at 9 weeks old, never woke up from a nap for reasons that are still unknown, according to CBS. “They are amazing people,” Lane says.

Shaun Riddle says he and his wife were especially moved by the gesture because they consider themselves people of service. “We love to serve others, and this reminded us that there are many other servants in the world, and that the word ‘servant’ is a good thing,” Riddle tells Yahoo Parenting. “We want many to know that love, service, kindness, selflessness, and the love of God is alive and well. It’s not going anywhere.”


Lane says she doesn’t know why this small gesture has gotten so much attention. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, and all the servers at the West Side have,” she says. “We take care of our customers.”

According to commenters on Riddle’s Facebook post, the restaurant’s customers agree. “West Side Café earned my undying support a few years ago because of the way they treated my father-in-law,” wrote Brandon Jones. “He was a pretty regular customer. Not matter how busy they were, they wouldn’t rush him out to clear the table. They took the time to get to know him. They were always kind. When he passed, they even went to his funeral.” And Cassy Tatarian Kavanaugh said, “I’m so sorry for your loss. My bill was also paid for by the owner at West Side Café once. I was a really young mother and my baby was crying so I took him to the waiting area so that we didn’t disturb anyone else. I guess the owner noticed that I didn’t get to enjoy my meal and paid for our entire table.”

But Lane says that she and the restaurant aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. As she says, “It’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Instead of delivering the Riddles a bill, Lane brought them this note, assuring them their meal was paid for....

By : Rachel Bertsche

Why Slow Is The Way To Go: 6 Reasons To Take Your Time....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.”  ~Unknown

I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.


It’s helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.


It’s a big part of my life, part of who I am—a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you’ve been inattentive.

In fact, I’d say yoga always gives me what I call an “Alaskan welcome”—the kind my dearly departed dog used to give me whenever I walked into the house, as though I’d been all the way to Alaska instead of around the corner to the shops.


Yoga is always willing to give, but it’s a slow-burning love, and while it has rewarded me richly, I’ve had to wait for its gifts.

I have just completed yoga teacher training, at forty-six, proving the truth that you are never too old to teach (or learn).


While I’m pleased with my pace of learning, ironically, despite my age and experience, there is still so much yoga has to teach me.


And that’s okay, because I am realizing more and more that some of the best things, in yoga and in life, come to us slowly.


Here’s why I think slow is the way to go and why staying power is the most powerful kind.

1. Slow teaches us patience:-


And patience is its own gift, especially during times when things are out of our control and we have no choice but to wait it out. When we bring patience to gently moving toward a goal, we have it in reserve for when roadblocks get in the way (as they inevitably will).

2. Slow hones acceptance and gratitude:-


When we rush headlong into what we want to achieve, we can get easily frustrated with any hurdle or slight delay. (And frustration is unlikely to get us to our goal more quickly).


We also miss the opportunity to accept and be grateful for the small steps we take, those incremental achievements, and for where we are right now—for the good and the bad of everyday life.

3. Slow allows for small mistakes:-


Rush at something and we run the risk of messing up big-time. Take it slow and we get the chance to experiment with small mistakes, helping us to grow so we can hopefully avoid bigger mistakes in the future. We have to earn our lessons, and we don’t learn until we allow things to sink in.

4. Slow makes room for other stuff:-


When we want something fast we can become obsessed with that thing, as though the goal has taken on a life of its own.


While it’s great to prioritize what we really want, it doesn’t make sense to create imbalance in our lives with one overwhelming obsession. Who knows what (and who) you might miss out on if you do.

5. Slow builds resilience:-


The lyrics “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” might ring true, but I’m betting you’d still like to be around for a long life.


Slow is about building legacy, and along the way, resilience. That can only be won through endurance.


Fast is great for igniting passion and showing courage, but who do you think is braver and more passionate—the person who sprints out of the starting block or the one who keeps going over the long distance?

6. Slow is seasonal:-


Taking things slowly recognizes that sometime we need to sit and deliberate (by a fire or by the beach). We need to wait in faith for the universe rather than selfishly expecting our own desires to take precedence.


We need to look to nature to realize that the seasons cycle at their own pace, and we should always be willing to take things slower (and faster) as required.


Slow doesn’t have to be timid, or lazy, or less-than-smart. Slow isn’t a marker for fear and procrastination, nor apathy and indecision.


There’s a yoga asana (posture) that many people find difficult at first. The Sanskrit name is Supta Vijrasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose.

Unlike the standing Warrior postures, which are strong and forceful, the Hero pose calls for quiet strength as you kneel down and then surrender backward.


When I first got seriously back into yoga two years ago, after a sporadic year of practice prior, my knees would groan and my ankle joints scream when I tried to just kneel down and sit my bottom back between my heels.


I certainly couldn’t recline backward onto my back, while keeping my knees bent and touching each other and my feet close by my hips. But now, having taken it slowly, I can feel a little like a yoga hero.


I can realize the benefits of slow that have snuck up on me in their own sweet time. And I am most grateful.

Slow isn’t dull and boring, but contemplative and considered. Slow is the yin in a very yang world.


Slow is the strength of surrender, and surrender can be the most powerful kind of victory.

By : Kathy Kruger

Visit her at :

May You Have Many Worries....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 18, 2015 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

My mother was what you might call a “professional worrier.” She worried with skill, power, and acumen.

She could incisively hone in on the most seemingly benign situation and find within it some kernel of trouble to worry about. Money. Health. Household. Children. Travel. Work. You name it, she worried about it. A lot.

That is until my father was diagnosed with cancer.

When my father became ill, my mother changed radically, and apparently overnight. Faced with the potential of the greatest loss of her life, she found that she was suddenly free of the many worries that had plagued her for all those many years.

In the wake of the most terrible news imaginable, the many troubles that had been burdening her suddenly fell away, like a heavy winter coat on an unexpectedly warm day. So, strangely and without warning, in the midst of a terrifying life-threatening crisis, my mother became a more light-hearted person.

She dismissed things that had bothered her before my father’s illness with a smile and a wave of her hand. If you came to her with a knit brow and a bee in your bonnet, she would simply say, “If no one is dying, then it’s not a problem.”

There is an old Yiddish blessing that ironically wishes, “May you have many worries.”

At first glance, it seems more like a curse than a blessing. Why would you wish someone you care about many worries?

The answer lies in the heart of my mother’s experience: If we have many troubles swirling about us—and we choose to entertain those worries—that means that we do not have a single, overriding worry to consume us.

And the absence of that single, oppressive worry is a blessing in itself.

There is a great source of empowerment in this understanding: If large troubles displace small worries and with a single powerful stroke, suddenly wiping our slate of worries clean, then we ourselves can choose to wipe that slate clean at any moment.

This little bit of folksy wisdom is, in fact, a very deep instruction:

Don’t wait for a big trouble to come along and make you realize that your small troubles don’t matter.

Novelist and essayist Anne Lamott tells the story of a time she was out shopping for clothing with a friend who was terminally ill:

She was in a wheelchair, wearing a wig to cover her baldness, weighing almost no pounds, but very serene, very alive. We were at Macy’s. I was modeling a short dress for her that I thought my boyfriend would like.

But then I asked whether it made me look big in the hips, and Pammy said, as clear and kind as a woman can be, “Annie? You really don’t have that kind of time.” I just got it. I got it deep in my being . . . You don’t have that kind of time.

And she is right. We don’t have that kind of time. We live under the illusion that we have plenty of time to worry.

We have the feeling that we have hours and days and weeks and months and years to concern ourselves about whether our hips look big or the house is drafty or the bills are piling up or there is dust under the furniture or the car needs vacuuming or the kitchen is outdated.  But we don’t.

My mother realized that those kinds of worries added up to nothing on the day my father became ill.

She found that she no longer had time to worry about meeting agendas and traffic tie-ups and household clutter and gas prices and rainy days and rusted gutters—all the things that consume so much of our time and energy.

She found she only had time to love the man she had committed her life to over three decades before. And that is just what she did.

We don’t have to wait for a crisis to realize that we only have time to love what is real. We only have time to care for what is right in front of us. To vow to let go our worries is a vow to love what’s most sacred.

And once we realize this, we’ll be free.

By : Lauren Rosenfeld

Visit her at :

Using Social Media For Growth And Minimizing Its Negative Effects....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on February 28, 2015 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

“Social media should improve your life, not become your life.”

~Patrick Driessen


The summer after college, my best friend and I had many a girls’-night-in, largely to accommodate her new life as a single mother.


These nights consisted of drinking wine and Facebook stalking anyone and everyone who went to our high school.


One night we went as far as creating a false page representing a popular local bar so that we could peer into the lives of anyone our hearts desired without revealing ourselves as grade-A cyber stalkers.


We spent a lot of our downtime that summer focusing on what other people were doing, and none of that focus prompted any kind of personal growth or increased self-worth on our ends.


I know there are people out there who are masters of self-discipline when it comes to their devices and social media pages.


These people put their phones down during dinner, turn them off to go to bed, and only check their social media pages during specified times during the day; they may go days or weeks without accessing their online profiles. I, however, am not one of them.

I often find myself torn between the practical benefits of engaging with social media and the detrimental toll these same tools can take on my inner self.


On the one hand, I rely on being able to access certain private pages for work, and I enjoy keeping in touch with long distance friends. On the other hand, compulsively checking my profiles on various devices often prevents me from living in the now.


Over the years, I have deactivated and reactivated my social media accounts time and time again in an effort to break myself of my bad social media habits.


For me, deleting my accounts helps me focus on the present moment and the goings on in my own life. However, I missed connecting with my friends and risked alienating myself from an ever-more-technological professional sphere.


When I began a position with a company that all but requires the use of social media, I realized deleting and reactivating my accounts was no longer a solution to my social media problem.


I found myself faced with the question: how do I use social media in a way that helps me grow, both professionally and personally, while minimizing the negative effects of overuse?

Over the past year, I developed some strategies for increasing positive content presented to me through my social media accounts, while decreasing the material that leaves me feeling bad or distracted and creating greater awareness around my usage habits.

1. “Follow” the blogs and websites you like to read:-


Your favorite blogs and websites often have social media counterparts to which you can subscribe. If you don’t have a running list of blogs and websites (I didn’t until about a year ago), spend an afternoon searching for content that interests or inspires you and then continue to add to it over time.


I created a folder on my favorites bar containing links to literary journals, professional and personal development blogs, online learning websites, recipe guides, fitness videos, etc.


As you scroll through your newsfeed, you’ll pause to read articles related to your interests that may help you grow, cause you to pause and reflect, or inspire you to begin a new project.


Instead of spending an hour cyber stalking your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, who you saw in a picture with a mutual acquaintance, you may end up writing an article (like this one), bookmarking an interesting recipe, or sharing a funny video with a friend.

2. Unfollow or block people who distract you:-


Do you find you criticize yourself after viewing your beautiful friend’s daily selfies? Do your brother’s travel photos make you lament your office job? Does your aunt’s constant complaining clog your newsfeed with negativity?


Unfollow people whose posts—for whatever reason at all—typically make your mood take a turn for the worst or cause you to lose focus on your own goals. You can still access these people’s content by intentionally navigating to their profiles, but you remove the spontaneous mood killers throughout your social media usage.


If the person isn’t someone you care to maintain any kind of connection with, you might want to think about blocking him or her. My Facebook block list is a mile long, and here’s an example as to why that is:


I recently blocked my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend on Facebook.


Blocking her was not something I needed to do to prevent her from contacting me; I have never interacted with this person firsthand. However, we share many mutual friends (both on Facebook and in life), and I realized that her comments and Facebook activity became distracting for me in a negative way.


Blocking her prevented me from seeing comments she makes to mutual friends, prevented me from stalking her profile during insecure moments, and removed from my vision any pictures that she previously tagged my boyfriend in while they were dating.


This was not an attempt to erase my boyfriend’s past, just a measure prevent me from returning to it in the present.


The unfollow and blocking features are not indications that you do not like someone; they are tools you can use to filter content that you don’t need to see on a routine basis. Remember, you can always unblock a person or decide to follow him or her again later.

3. Delete the mobile app from your phone:-

(Or at least put mobile apps in a folder)

Use the web app instead of the mobile app. This requires you to open a web page and intentionally login to a social media account versus mindlessly checking the same profile you’ve viewed twenty times today already.


If you cannot (or will not) forgo the features offered by the mobile app, group all your social media apps into a folder, and move that folder to the last page on your phone or tablet.


Increasing the time and effort it takes for you to access for your social media accounts helps to create awareness around your actions.

4. Create separate pages for different purposes:-


I have three different kinds of social media profiles. One I reserve for personal use; this is private profile I use to keep up with friends, follow celebrities just for fun, and access my favorite blogs on any topic under the sun. The other two profiles are public: one I use for business purposes, and the other is dedicated to art.


Having different focuses for each of your profiles gives you a direction for your social media use. Instead of using three different profiles to keep tabs on your friends and share photos of yourself, dedicate one or two profiles to your professional or personal growth.


If you’re like me, you may spend a considerable amount of time perusing social media pages each week. Turn this time into an opportunity for personal growth by practicing social media habits that nurture your interests and promote positive connectivity.

By : Jessica Vick

*(She teaches Art History at Full Sail University)*

Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday Encourages Women To #EffYourBeautyStandards....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 28, 2015 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Like most successful models, Tess Holliday, formerly Tess Munster, follows a regimented fitness and nutrition program. She works out with a personal trainer four times a week and enjoys walking, swimming, and hiking in her free time. She avoids soda and drinks a lot of water. She cooks healthy and indulges in moderation like any healthy person would.

Unlike most successful models, Munster is 5’5” tall and a UK size 24 (a US size 20). In an industry where the standard for plus size models is between UK sizes 10 and 18 (US size 6 to 14) and taller than 5’8”— waifish Kate Moss is considered short at 5’7”—Holliday is an extreme anomaly. She spoke exclusively with Yahoo Beauty about how she’s been leading a viral social media movement.

The 29-year-old Los Angeles-based model, born and raised in Mississippi, created the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards as an exercise in celebrating all body types and giving the one finger salute to unrealistic beauty standards that make people feel like they are never good enough. Women—and men—who don’t fall into conventional ideals of beauty are encouraged to share their photos and stories tagged with the hashtag, encouraging us to celebrate themselves and each other—instead of hiding themselves in shame.

One Twitter user, Andie Lang, wrote, “I’m no longer going to feel ashamed of my body and hide it, it’s time [sic] flaunt my curves! #effyourbeautystandards.” In just a few days, the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards has over 495,000 posts on Instagram.

"I’m thrilled—it’s really humbling to see so many women support me and what I’m doing,” Holliday told Yahoo Beauty. “I know other women relate to where I’ve been and the feelings of not quite being good enough. I hope through all of this that they realize they are good enough and beautiful no matter what size color or shape they are.”

Holliday was bullied as a child, getting shamed for her size and for not being “normal.” After leaving school and the South at 17, she became more outspoken about positive body image. As a blogger for The Huffington Post in 2013, she wrote, “Our bodies tell a story and everyone’s journey is different, everybody is different, unique, exquisite. The only problem is that not everyone respects that or comprehends that we don’t have to all look like a cookie cutter or perfect picture of ‘health.’” Holliday told Yahoo Beauty that she is the proud mother of a son that she has raised to be both feminist and respectful of all women and bodies.

With so many hurtful terms slung around, it’s important to remember that normal does not always mean skinny and skinny does not always mean healthy. In her memoir, Hungry, plus-size supermodel Crystal Renn—who also grew up in Mississippi—wrote, “[L]ife doesn’t have to wait until you’re skinny.” Before she achieved success in the plus size industry and learned about body acceptance and love, Renn suffered from eating disorders and went to two gyms every day because she didn’t want either gym to know she was working out so much. She mused, “I wonder whether today’s mania for super-thin, wide-eyes, less power-looking girls is tied to fear of female strength. Today’s girls take up less space, literally and metaphorically.”

#EffYourBeautyStandards, with its strong devotion to sharing body-positive images and speaking out against body prejudices, is combating the silence that women are supposed to take in submitting their bodies to strict beauty standards. They are strong, proud, supportive, confident—and very capable of sparking a new social media movement.

By : Noël Duan

We Can Choose to Let Go, Stop Suffering & Find Peace....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 19, 2015 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” 

~Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve called it my “Epiphany Bubble,” and it might be hard to believe, but it’s my true experience.


I stood on the lawn of our city’s hospital. The sun was shining down on our group of grieving parents. My belly was big with my third child, but my heart was still heavy with grief from my second.


Jonathan. I’ve never personally known anyone whose entire life was surrounded by compassion and love, like every minute of his twelve-and-a-half hours in my arms.


Although the summer of 2000 was a long, painful journey through terminal pregnancy, Jonathan had blessed my life in countless ways. I just hadn’t yet understood that.


Our hospital had this gathering a couple times a year. Parents who grieved babies would come, enjoy some cookies and punch, and chat with other moms and dads who were coping with loss.


At the end, we always did the same thing—write our baby’s name along with dates of birth and death on a white balloon.


As I wrote “Jonathan 9-21-2000 – 9-22-2000” on my balloon, I smiled a little just at the joy of writing his name. I gave my belly a gentle touch and said a little prayer for my next little boy.


Then I looked to my left. There were three women standing together, quite distraught in tears, comforting one another. I, of course, knew why they were crying, but I was curious.


I was curious about the dates. When I looked at their balloons, I saw dates reflecting years prior. Six, seven, eight years earlier. My heart sank. I wondered, “Do I have to be in that much pain years from now? Does this heartbreak never end?”


And that’s when it happened—my epiphany bubble. I suddenly felt as though I was in my own space, and that the world had ceased to spin. Everything outside of my bubble was blurry, and everyone seemed frozen, when I realized…


I have choice.


I stood for a few moments more, and the bubble vanished. But its effect on me did not. Something now stirred within me—a determination to really heal, let go, and be genuinely happy again.

At home I began to wonder about choosing how to feel about life and how to perceive all that I experience on my journey. I started to seek within.


Through journaling, praying, and meditating, I felt a shift. I sensed guidance. I glimpsed a bit of inner peace.


Some of my wonderings were a bit surprising, but I gave space to let them unfold. Rather than judge, I allowed them to come to me without logic. I also resisted the teachings from my childhood, which would have stopped them from showing me a new way to perceive Jonathan’s life.


I wondered, maybe Jonathan is a guardian angel. Perhaps he will protect and look after his big sister, Sydra, and his little brother who has yet to take his first breath.

I smiled a bit at imagining my sweet Jonathan, from some other place of being, guiding and loving his siblings.


I wondered, perhaps Jonathan was meant to leave this life at a very young age, and perhaps this could have happened in a variety of ways.


Would I choose for his life to be very short, spent in my arms, and surrounded by love and compassion? Or, would I choose to have more time with him, but risk something worse—have him be a child who I’ve heard horrifying stories about, children who are abducted and hurt?


I felt a bit of trust at realizing that I don’t know how it all works. Life, death, and all the days between and following are a mystery, really. Maybe his life was exactly how it was meant to be, or perhaps it might have been more tragic.

I wondered, could it be that Jonathan was my son for this short time to teach me?


I reflected on the months we spent together—when I learned he was terminal, my decision to carry him, the long nights, the quiet moments, the countless tears and prayers, the painful delivery, and the hours I had him in my arms looking into his beautiful eyes three times.


I relaxed a bit realizing all I had learned. I was a strong woman, someone who was willing to give all I had to another, a woman who remained hopeful and optimistic amidst a very difficult time. I was a woman who sent prayers and love to other pregnant women, asking that they not suffer as I was.


I wondered, could Jonathan’s life have served purpose beyond me, our family, and my understanding?


I thought about all the people who had surrounded Jonathan with love and compassion before and during his life. I recalled the many people who came to his memorial service, each saying how deeply he had touched their heart.


My trust deepened. I knew Jonathan’s life, however brief, served purpose. He was a blessing, a sweet, little blessing, to many people, and I was the lucky woman who was honored to be his mom.


Grief is nothing to be rushed. Throughout this time, I was gentle and patient with myself, honoring all my emotions, not pushing through them or stuffing them in the secret places of my heart. By doing so, I was better able to deeply heal.


Grief is also nothing to cling to simply because it’s familiar. Although the journey had many twists and turns, and I needed to allow it to show its way, it is worth the inner work to let go and find peace.


It is not just grief where we have choice. With all our life experiences—every emotion from anger to joy, from love to fear—we can choose.


Allowing our heart and mind to wonder, taking time to feel it all without judgment, and seeking within for the path of letting go, this is the way to embrace all of life and peacefully enjoy the now.

Shannon Elhart

Visit her at :

Healthy And Hungry Again : Victoria Azarenka Aims To Return To Tennis's Ruling Class....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 10, 2015 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Victoria Azarenka, in the studio of a Los Angeles artist doing her portrait....

LOS ANGELES — It was almost 2015, and Victoria Azarenka was parked in her sleek sport utility vehicle on a Beverly Hills street with the rain drumming on the windshield as she spoke about how it felt to no longer be above the rest, to be ranked No. 31 instead of No. 1.


“It’s just a number,” she said slowly and quietly. “If I thought that, hey, No. 31 is how I feel and this is me, there would be a problem. But that’s not it. I know what I’m capable of. And I don’t need to say it. I just need to do what I want to do.”

What Azarenka wants to do is return to tennis’s ruling class, where she was firmly entrenched in 2012 and 2013, winning consecutive Australian Opens. She scrapped and shrieked to the top of the pyramid, and she demonstrated the rare ability to walk on court against Serena Williams with her chin up and her shoulders back, clearly believing that she could prevail.


After the two met for their second-straight three-set United States Open final in 2013, Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said, “Serena and Victoria Azarenka, they are above the rest.”

But Azarenka, 25, also wants to return to the circuit with a more frank and true-to-herself attitude after a season foiled by injuries and the painful end of her romance with the singer Stefan Gordy, better known as Redfoo.


“I did get my heart broken; I really did,” she said. “I’m over it, but it was broken. And I’m not afraid to admit that it was, but it’s life.”

She said she cried a lot last year, but she sounded as if she has gleaned a lot on her way to a brighter place: making new connections and deepening others, spending Thanksgiving in November with the big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, his wife, the star volleyball player Gabrielle Reece, and their daughters on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


Azarenka played only 24 matches in 2014 primarily because of foot and knee injuries, missing most of the first six months of the season. She reached just one final and ended her season after losing in the second round in Tokyo in September.


If she does not have another good run at her season-opening tournament this week in Brisbane, Australia, where she reached the final last year, she risks not being seeded at the Australian Open. But as her latest unwanted break from the game comes to an end after three and a half months, her coach, Sam Sumyk, says she is finally pain free.


“I think her motivation is pretty good, but I don’t want to get too excited or say too much,” Sumyk said. “Because at the same time last year, I thought 2014 would be a great year for her. All the lights were green. And look what happened.”


What happened in the first month of the season was a painful inflammation in her left foot. Sumyk said she later developed plantar fasciitis in the same foot, followed by tendinitis and a knee problem.


“I pushed, and I pushed last year, which was not smart,” Azarenka said. “Because it was rushed decisions and part of it was I didn’t trust my own intuition sometimes.”

Azarenka was often prepared to second-guess herself during a several-hour interview conducted in her car, at a raw-food restaurant she chose in West Hollywood, and in the downtown studio of James Haunt, a pop artist she met via Instagram who is working on her portrait. But on balance her mood was much more upbeat than regretful. She was open, curious, occasionally profane and often reflective, picking her words carefully and proving much more willing to linger over sensitive topics than in previous encounters.

“I think the toughest part is to admit that you weren’t O.K.,” she said of 2014. “Somebody asked me at one stage, ‘Are you depressed?’ And I said: ‘Are you kidding me? I’m not depressed.’ But you know what? I was. I was, but I just didn’t realize it, because all these things happen, and you just don’t know how to deal with emotions.”

Reeling and searching for an outlet, she started to paint last May and began to cry in one of her first sessions. She said she put down the brush and smeared paint on the canvas with her hands.

“Just doing weird stuff; I didn’t know what I was doing,” Azarenka said. “I was upset, and I was lazy, and I just wiped my hands on my shirt, just everything on my shirt, on my pants. And I woke up the next day and had a meeting in this restaurant with Nike people, and I didn’t feel like dressing up. I just put on that shirt and those pants, and I come into the restaurant. And the Nike people, they’re like: ‘Oh my God, that’s a cool shirt. Where did you buy it?’ ”

Learning to Speak Out

Azarenka was born in July 1989 in Minsk in Belarus shortly before it declared its independence from the Soviet Union. From a close family of modest means — she said eight people shared a small apartment — she left home in her early teens to train briefly in Spain and then extensively in the United States, where she lived in Arizona with the Russian hockey star Nikolai Khabibulin and his family.


It has taken Azarenka time to embrace the open approach to communication that often prevails in the West.

“I had to learn all this stuff, because it doesn’t come naturally,” Azarenka said. “With somebody from a pretty closed country, you don’t get it. You don’t get that you need to speak out and how to express your feelings.”

Her parents and extended family remain in Belarus, where they are building a new house bought with her winnings. Azarenka remains a resident of Monaco but is finishing work on a residence in Manhattan Beach, Calif., an affluent Los Angeles suburb where her coach, Sumyk, and her agent, Meilen Tu, who are married, live a Frisbee throw from the ocean, and where Maria Sharapova has long had a home.


Sumyk, a 46-year-old Frenchman from coastal Brittany, loves the ocean, works out regularly with Hamilton up the coast in Malibu and likes to mine non-tennis influences to enrich his coaching. He has consulted Maurice Greene, the former Olympic sprint champion, and Olivier de Kersauson, a leading French sailor. Sumyk introduced Azarenka to Hamilton, whom she calls “one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met.”

Azarenka described Sumyk as her life teacher, not just her coach, and she is adamant that there is too big a gap between her image and reality.

Public perception of Azarenka has been shaped by a number of factors. Among them: her relentless shrieking during rallies; her combative and once much more tempestuous demeanor on court, and her occasional prickliness and defensiveness in interviews.

“Deep down inside, I know I’m a very good person,” she said. “I’m a sensitive person. I have a kind heart, you know, but I’m a fighter on the court and a competitor in life, so just to understand that and accept that can sometimes be really difficult.”


Sumyk said, “We could play cards right now, and she just wants to kill you.”

He turned to Tu and added, “Both of you are going to make lasagna, and she’s going to want to make the better lasagna than you.”

Azarenka attributed this in part to genetics and in part to conditioning, pointing to her early tennis days in Minsk.

“I started with 40 kids in the hall where you are just hitting against the wall, and if you miss the ball you wait for five minutes to hit another one, so you better make it,” she said. “My first year I didn’t even see the tennis court. My second year, we were on the court three times a week with 25 kids for one hour. That’s all. The rest is me going and hitting against the wall and imagining myself playing on the big arenas.

“When I see these kids 6 years old with a private coach and at 7 they have a fitness coach, I’m like, ‘Aw, come on.’ At 12, it’s for sure they will lose all the interest in tennis because they do not interact with other kids.”

Her reputation has also been shaped by her lengthy injury timeout in her 2013 Australian Open semifinal victory over Sloane Stephens. The timeout drew accusations of gamesmanship, although Azarenka insisted that she was truly hurting, unable to breathe properly because of a rib problem that was causing her back to seize up. She did not help her cause with her postmatch assertion that she “almost did the choke of the year.”


Bring that match up, even in passing, and Azarenka is quick to wince, still quick to deny any intent to cheat but also newly critical of her communication strategy, saying she should have addressed the topic once and left it there instead of giving dozens of interviews in an attempt to control the damage.


“It maybe looked over-rehearsed when you do it 40 times,” she said.

She said that she might have been treated differently if she had been American or Australian, and expressed particular irritation with some commentators suggesting the Stephens affair had not troubled her before the final against Li Na.

“They have no idea what I went through those two days,” she said, her voice never rising. “They had no idea how much I cried those two days. They had no idea that Sam came to me in my room and he brought me wine and said, ‘Vika, I think you may need some wine because you are stressed out.’ ”

She went on to win the title, which Sumyk considers her most impressive performance in light of the circumstances, but which did not succeed in endearing her to the Australian Open masses, who greeted her with ambivalence in her return last year.

A Matter of Motivation


What might happen next remains a mystery, particularly after a season when Williams remained No. 1, but when new talent like Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep rose to considerable heights and Azarenka’s longtime friend Caroline Wozniacki resumed being a big factor after her breakup with the golfer Rory McIlroy.

“I think it’s great,” Azarenka said of Wozniacki’s resurgence. “Because we were both in Monaco when her situation happened and everything with me happened, and we were just having dinner and crying on each other’s shoulders.”


The women’s game has its share of nightmarish injury tales. Dinara Safina, a Russian once ranked No. 1, had her career cut short by chronic back problems.


But there are also more heartening comeback stories, including those of Williams and Rafael Nadal, both of whom returned to No. 1 after significant layoffs because of injuries or ailments.


Azarenka remains 3-14 against Williams, but she beat her twice in 2013, and their duels in the United States Open finals in 2012 and 2013 — both won by Williams — were two of the most intense and magnetic women’s matches of late. But Azarenka, who looked ready to finally rival Williams, has yet to regain her momentum since the 2013 Open defeat.


“I do think Vika can become No. 1 again and win Grand Slams,” said Antonio van Grichen, who coached Azarenka for five years before Sumyk took over in 2010. “She has the tools, and if she’s healthy, at the end of the day it only comes down to motivation. If it’s there for her, she will be there again.”


Azarenka insisted that her trademark fire had not dimmed, saying, “Honestly, I’ve never been that motivated in my life before as I am now.”


That might be tough to believe, given that she started as a hopeful among many in Minsk; given how many outside plans, projects and paintings she is mulling; and given how mellow she sounded and how comfortable she looked as she tackled big subjects while navigating the freeways and back streets of Los Angeles with the smartphone balanced on her knee providing GPS assistance.

“I always think about how far I have come,” she said, eyes on the road. “It’s a dream. But I never take it for granted.”

By : Christopher Clarey

Newlywed Man, 95, Dies After Wife, 96, Taken Away....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 31, 2014 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

A 95-year-old newlywed Virginia man has died just weeks after his 96-year-old wife was taken away by family members to Florida.

Eddie Harrison died Tuesday in a hospital after suffering from influenza, said Rebecca Wright, who was caring for the couple in their Alexandria, Virginia, home. Harrison became distressed after his wife and longtime companion, 96-year-old Edith Hill, was taken away, Wright said. Wright is Hill's daughter.

"He lived for her, and she lived for him. It's the love story of the century," Wright said, recalling how they would dance, take walks and care for each other.

Harrison and Hill's marriage this year after 10 years of companionship was disputed in court. Their wedding was problematic because Hill has been declared legally incapacitated for several years. Another of Hill's daughters, Patricia Barber, contested the marriage, saying it would complicate the eventual distribution of Hill's estate. But Hill and Harrison said they wanted to stay together.

A judge appointed a new guardian for Hill to protect her interests, removing Barber and Wright as guardians, but left the marriage intact.

The interracial aspect of the marriage also was unique because the two longtime Virginians would not have been allowed to marry if they had met in their 20s, 30s or 40s under state law at the time.

On Dec. 6, Hill's guardian arrived to take Hill away to Barber's home in Florida for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. Police were called to the home during a traumatic 40-minute negotiation to convince Hill to leave, Wright said.

When Hill did not return home as planned after two weeks, Harrison began to realize she was not coming back, Wright said. Daisy Birch, a family friend, said Harrison was heartbroken. He also became ill with the flu and checked himself into a hospital.

A dispute continues between the two sisters, Barber and Wright, over Hill's affairs and place of residence.

By : Brett Zongker

Transgender Teen's Suicide Note: 'My Death Needs To Mean Something...'

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 31, 2014 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The suicide of a transgender teen is catching national attention in part because of a suicide note she left behind online.

Leelah Alcorn, 17, of Kings Mills, Ohio, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on I-71 about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to local media

Posthumous posts started to appear on her Tumblr page, titled “Lazer Princess,” including her suicide note and a post apologizing to her closest friends.

“My death needs to mean something,” she wrote. “My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f---ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”

Alcorn's note explains that she has felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body ever since she was 4. Then she cried tears of joy when she learned what transgender meant at 14.

“After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was,” the suicide note reads. “I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong.”

After her death, Alcorn’s mother was harshly criticized for referring to her child by her given name — “Joshua Ryan Alcorn” — and using male pronouns.

"My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck,” the mother wrote.

Alcorn requested that all of her belongings and savings be donated to transgender civil rights movements and support groups.

Many people took to Twitter to mourn her death using #LeelahAlcorn and criticize the continued injustice facing transgender people today.

Similarly, members of the LGBT community and their allies have already started to organize candlelight vigils for Alcorn. One such event, called #StandUp4Leelah, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

“This will be a short vigil but one that we feel must take place and one that will take a moment to educate, inform, and bring our community together to work towards a dream of one life. We may not have an instant fix but it's time to make it better,” the organizer wrote on the event's Facebook page.

Suicide rates in the transgender community are exceptionally high, with more than 50 percent of transgender teens reporting at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday, according to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

By : Michael Walsh

PLEASE NOTE : - Transgender people who need someone to talk to can call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

6 Things To Do Instead Of Comparing Yourself To Others....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 31, 2014 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

“Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat.”

~Scottish Proverb

I grew up believing I was never enough. Ever. Not when I got all A’s in school. Not when I was in the talented and gifted program. Not when my father made more than enough money for me to buy whatever I wanted.


I became an adult who compared herself to others too, always wondering why I didn’t have what they had or why I wasn’t as pretty or as cool.


I brought this behavior into my relationships and my business. I would get super jealous to the point of stalking when it came to my romantic partners. I was controlling and pushy because I thought they would leave me for someone better.

In my business, I would obsess over other entrepreneurs and wonder how they “had it all,” convincing myself that no one cared what little ole me had to say. I played the victim all too well. And it kept me stuck, alone, and broke.

After a series of dramatic events, including a baby, a layoff, and a divorce—in one year—I hit rock bottom. It sucked, but that’s what it took for me to realize how terribly I was treating myself.


I committed to making changes in my life, my behavior, and my attitude. I had to embrace who I was and who I was going to become. I had to risk becoming nothing to become something.

If you catch yourself playing the comparison game often, it’s important to remember one thing: you don’t know anyone else’s story. You can only base your assumptions on what you see, and that’s a pretty shaky foundation to put all your bets on.


A complete shift in focus and mindset around these behaviors needs to happen. Here are some things I learned to do instead of comparing myself to others.

1. Compliment them:-

Most of the time, when you are jealous or comparing yourself to others, it’s because you think they have something you don’t. The natural instinct for most of us is to criticize them. We try to pump ourselves up in by putting them down.


It’s a terrible practice and it puts you at a low vibration, feeling even worse. Instead, find something you really admire about them and compliment them.


If it’s someone you know personally, send them a message or a note. If it’s someone you don’t know or someone with celebrity status, send a tweet or leave a nice comment on the blog. I guarantee you will brighten up their day and feel good about it.

2. Believe in yourself:-


You are a beautiful, amazing human being. You were put on this Earth to do something unique. We all are. Unfortunately for some, they never embrace it and end up living unhappily.


Believe you have a purpose and a mission in this life, whether it’s big or small. If you don’t believe it, then no one else will either. There are few people who will love you unconditionally. You should strive to be one of them.

3. Embrace your journey:-


The comparison game is a sneaky trick. It makes you think you are on the same path as everyone else. Though some paths may be similar, every person has a different journey. Embrace yours.


Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. You have no idea how much this person struggled or how hard they worked to get where they are. Stay focused on your own path and forge ahead.

4. Find your awesome:-


Along with comparison comes a whole lot of negativity. We start beating ourselves up and talking badly about ourselves for not being as pretty, as smart, or as successful.


Remember, you are unique and awesome. You have talents, traits, and accomplishments that make you who you are. Write a list of amazing things about yourself and put it somewhere you can see it daily. Make it the background of your phone or computer and read it to yourself all the time.

5. Feel the fear:-

Most negativity comes from a place of fear. Fear of failure, success, looking silly, or being judged.


Fear is something that never goes away entirely. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is their ability to see the fear and continue anyway.


What are you afraid of? Identify it. Then ask yourself what’s the worse that could happen. Chances are, it’s not as bad as you think.

6. Live in alignment:-


When I was going through my personal struggles, most of it came because I wasn’t in tune with who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was frazzled. Something felt off.


I had an insane work ethic, but I didn’t work on my relationships. I was preaching self-care, but I was overweight. When your life is not in alignment, it will always feel like something is missing.


Take a look at how you’re living. Are you in tune across the board? If not, examine the areas you need to focus on.


Comparison comes from a place of lack. If you find yourself doing this often, figure out what’s missing and where you can improve.

Chances are, the person you’re comparing yourself to is reflecting something back that needs expansion. Pay attention and trust yourself. There’s always a deeper meaning. Figure out what it is, so you can move forward.

By : Jenn Scalia

Visit her at :

The Radwanskas: Helping Those In Need....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 17, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Agnieszka Radwanska and Urszula Radwanska took part in the charitable Noble Box project for the sixth year in a row - this year they helped two families in need...

Agnieszka Radwanska and Urszula Radwanska kept a charitable December tradition going recently, taking part in Szlachetna Paczka - or Noble Box - for the sixth year in a row.


Every year through the Noble Box project, volunteers go door to door throughout the year compiling a database of families in need, asking them what would help ease the pressures of the holidays. Then, for a three week period in November and December, donors are given a list to take with them to the supermarket, where they fill a shopping cart with the food, clothing and more to donate to them.


This year the Radwanskas helped two families from Krakow. The first one was a family with five kids under a desperate financial situation - their seven-year-old son is autistic and needs expensive treatment and therapy, and the father recently lost his job because he was driving him around to hospitals. Additionally, the mother recently had an accident that has been limiting her mobility.


The second family is a single mother and her seven-year-old son. The mother divorced her husband because he was abusing her - they recently moved out of the center for abused mothers into their own tiny apartment, and she's been working as a cleaner, but she's also still fighting depression.


Needless to say, the Radwanska sisters' help was in need - and they were happy to come through.


"We join the Noble Box project every year to help people who really are in need," Agnieszka Radwanska commented. "We believe that the Noble Box project can change people's lives, and it's really nice to be a part of it. It's a great joy to make others feel happy, at least for a little while."


The former World No.2 and Wimbledon finalist also enjoys shopping with her sister.


"I always try to buy gifts with my sister Ula," she said. "Two heads are better than one."

Source:- WTATennis

Beautifully Imperfect....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 12, 2014 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I am lucky!  Not because I got voted sexiest; Because I just noticed God gave me a piece of ugly to carry with me to remind myself and others of how beautiful our imperfections make us....

My thumb used to repel people in school.  Today I am posting it to millions like you who I know are just like me.... Beautifully imperfect!

Thank you God for this wonderful life.  Make your weaknesses your strength.  Be proud.  You are beautiful.

--Hrithik Roshan

   (Bollywood Actor / Model)

A Message For Those Who Feel Lost And Are Looking For Answers....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 11, 2014 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

“Wherever you go, there you are.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

On June 24th I got in a cab at the corner of 72nd and Broadway headed to JFK, hauling two huge suitcases full of medications, bug spray, sunscreen, gluten free foods, a bug tent (really), and cheap cotton clothing.


I checked in, made my way to the gate, and embarked on a 24-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Months of confusion and identity crisis brought me here.


Almost a full year ago, after returning from performing with a national tour that ended up being a lot less fun than I had dreamed, and having a foot surgery right after thanks to a doctor who made just a little mistake, I decided I wanted to try going off of Zoloft, which I had been on for the better part of six years to help with anxiety and depression.

This marked the beginning of what I am now referring to as my “Quarter Life Crisis.”


I started working with a life coach, began a dedicated daily meditation practice, joined a yoga studio, broke up with my boyfriend of three years, and read Brené Brown and Mark Nepo and Tara Brach and Byron Katie.

I went to a million and one auditions, suffered some major loneliness and isolation living in a studio apartment in a Manhattan winter, began letting my ex-boyfriend back into my life, and after several months of this, working so hard to keep myself afloat, I felt 100 percent lost.


I began asking hard questions, like “Why are you in showbiz? Are you just trying to prove something? Was this ever what you really wanted to do? Do you even like New York anymore?”


I sat in my apartment and ruminated; oscillating between feeling God profoundly (life is beautiful! Look—God is in that steam coming out of your humidifier!) and feeling painfully hopeless.


On one of my few gigs last spring, I was chatting with the make-up artist about her travels to Southeast Asia the previous summer.


She told me about the nonprofit organization she taught English with. Before she went to Vietnam, she felt uninspired and “over it”; after, she felt a new person. A light went off inside—maybe this is what I need to do!


In May I applied, and within weeks I had been interviewed and invited to join the trip to Duc Linh, a rural region about 100 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. I had five weeks to make up my mind, get my act together, and either board the plane or not.

I was terrified, but I said yes. I hoped that this trip would bring me some answers and force me to grow in the ways I needed to in order to make it through this no-mans-land of confusion, and into the next chapter of my life.


Duc Linh was nothing like I imagined and nothing like described. I taught English to a group of teenagers and some adults, and spent afternoons playing with little kids of all ages. They absolutely embraced me; it was unconditional love at first sight.


I felt simultaneously alone and isolated there, as well as overwhelmed by human interaction. The kids would yell “LOW-RAH!” as I walked by, run up to me, adorn me with flowers, touch my clothes, touch my hair, touch my armpits, and hold my hand, all while chattering away in Vietnamese.


I kept a blog and drafted posts that I assumed I would fully write and publish in a week or two, once I had learned some amazing, life-changing, clarifying lessons.


I couldn’t wait for several Oprah-worthy “aha!” moments. Those drafts remain drafts, and the “aha” moments came in smaller, less expected ways.


There was no “Aha! I want to be a (insert amazing profession that totally makes sense and clearly was my calling all this time)!”


It was more like “Aha! I can ride on the back of a bike with a fifteen-year-old kid who doesn’t speak my language, have no idea where we are going, and have an amazing adventure in a rambutan garden!”


Or, “Aha! I can become ‘big sister’ to a little girl and boy (Chi and Bao) without having a single conversation.”


And, probably the biggest one, “Aha! You are enough just as you are. They don’t care that the National Anthem you sang for them on the Fourth of July was totally off-key and had some improvised lyrics, they don’t care that you are a sweaty frizzy mess, they don’t even care that you can’t speak their language: they love you just for being here.”

For the first time in my privileged life, I was exposed to an impoverished world, to kids who had no idea what the heck I was talking about when I said “Broadway!?” and who looked at photos of Central Park and said “Wow! It’s like a resort!”


They wore the same clothes every day and played outside barefoot in the dirt. They slept in houses with tin or straw roofs and anywhere from one to four walls.

But they were happy. They were beautiful, and giving, and constantly smiling. I realized that the things I thought were important and necessary were not. I realized that the first world doesn’t hold the key to happiness anymore than the third world does.


My concerns in Vietnam were much more immediate than my American QLC (Quarter Life Crisis) concerns.


I recalled my QLC problems and thought man, what a luxury to be able to think about that nonsense! If I had a working shower and a bed and a quiet space, I would be perfectly happy!


After spending a month in Vietnam, I became completely amazed at the life I live.

In Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl writes, “A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ‘size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

When I first returned from Vietnam I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my life, but over time the normal anxieties crept back in.


The confusion I experienced before I left Vietnam was still there, waiting for me in my apartment on 72nd and Broadway, saying, “What, you think you can just leave me here all summer and I would move out?”


Before I left for Vietnam, I had a great plan of how the following months would play out. I would learn a lot, grow heaps, and hopefully figure out my life purpose over the course of the month spent there (so reasonable).


Afterward, I would return to the city a new woman with new dreams and plans and a clear sense of purpose and direction. I would write a captivating article all about my transformation and it would be inspiring, motivational, and amazing.


Everything in my life up to that point would make sense, and I would look back on the last few years and say, “Ahhh, I see why all that happened. It was all to bring me here to this amazing place of self-actualization and peace.”


Alas, there is no amazing conclusion, no way to tie this piece with a clarifying bow.


Of all the lessons learned this summer, the greatest one may be “Wherever you go, there you are.”


I’m still here, confused and lost and scared—but maybe that’s okay.


Maybe all we can do is be where we are, do our best, and go out on a few limbs, not for the sake of finding answers, but for the sake of fully living.

By : Laura Volpacchio

Visit her at :

Letting Go And Enjoying Annoying Situations....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”

~Steven Pressfield

This week I had the pleasure of waiting in a queue. Now, that is not normally something that I would be able to say, as I’m not the most patient woman.


The queue was for the immigration department in Chiang Mai, Thailand—a busy place full of people who were stressed because they were unsure about where to get a number for their place in the queue, unsure if they had the right paperwork, unsure how long the process would take, and unsure if their right to stay in the country would be extended.


Friends had warned me that I might be sitting in that crowded room for hours, so I had come prepared with postcards to write and a notepad to write my next newsletter. I did neither of those things.

Instead, I sat on the uncomfortable blue plastic chairs, observed the people around me, and observed myself. I watched people get grumpy and impatient. I watched the staff trying to do their job well while dealing with grumpy and impatient people.


I watched myself getting nervous about whether I had all of the documents that I would need to get my extension.


I watched myself getting impatient as the staff didn’t call the first number in the queue so that processing of applications could begin, right on the dot at 8.30AM. I was number fifteen.


I watched myself itching to ask the first person processed how long they would now have to wait for their passport to be stamped and returned to them.


Then I made a decision. None of this really mattered. Perhaps I would have to come back again if I had the wrong documents. Perhaps the queue would move at a crawl. Perhaps I would have to wait a long time to actually get my passport back. Perhaps I wouldn’t get an extension at all.


None of these things were inside my control, so I made the decision to let it all go. To sit quietly. To enjoy the time not doing anything “constructive.” To let my mind wander. To have a brief conversation with the family next to me, the kind you have when you don’t speak much Thai and they don’t speak much English but you understand each other perfectly.


My decision turned a stressful experience into a relaxing and, dare I say, enjoyable one. I even played a game with myself to guess the time that I would be able to leave. I guessed 10:00AM. I left at 9.55. Not bad at all!


This experience showed me that there is a massive difference in how I feel when I deliberately choose to view a situation in a different way.


I know that in the past in situations like this I wasn’t even aware that I had a choice as to how I felt. It’s taken some hard lessons and a growth in awareness to realize just how much influence I can have over my own feelings.

It turned out that the Universe had a reason for keeping me in that queue for as long as it did. As I was cycling back to the countryside, where I volunteer at a dog shelter, I came across a puppy in the middle of the road.


Five minutes either side of that moment and I might have missed the puppy or, worse still, have come across a tragedy on that busy country road.


I was able to get close enough to pick him up. I then had a dilemma; how would I get him back to the shelter, which was an hour’s walk away on a sweltering hot day?


Using my well-rested and relaxed brain, I came up with a solution. I emptied the contents of my bike’s basket into a bag I fashioned out of what I had, and then tied the puppy up in a spare shirt so he couldn’t wiggle about. Into the basket he went.


He sat in that basket the whole bumpy ride back to the shelter with the calmness of one who knew that this situation was outside of his control. He is now taken care of and was adopted after only nine days in the shelter.


The lesson I learned is that we always have a choice about how we feel about a situation. Even if we initially react poorly, we still have the power to change what we think and do next. It’s simply a matter of changing what is going on internally and making a conscious decision.


This week I’m grateful that I had the pleasure of waiting in a queue.

By : Andrea Jordan

Visit her at :


Being Grateful For The Ordinary : The Life We Have Is Enough....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?”


From time to time during my schooling years I’d be asked to identify my role models. I always chose someone who’d changed the world in a big way—Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi.

I never looked within my own life for role models. I had lovely parents and great teachers, and still, I was always looking well beyond what was right in front of me. I was always striving for something more, out there, beyond my own life.


As I reflect back, I see the dissatisfaction that this bred. I see how little I valued myself and by extension, my immediate surroundings. Somehow it all seemed… not good enough.


People and experiences that were far away from my hometown seemed so much more important and exciting.


It wasn’t until I started keeping a gratitude journal that this really began to change. I started the journal because I was depressed. Not sad—can’t-get-out-of-bed-or-even-talk-to-anyone depressed.

It would hit me on and off over the years, and the only coping mechanism I had at the time was to hide in my bedroom and breathe through the long and agonizing hours, waiting for it to pass.


A gratitude journal was the first tool I had to help me shift the fog. I would start very simply with the breath. I’d express gratitude that there was breath in my body (although at times I wasn’t even grateful for that).


Then I’d be grateful that I had a home and a bed to rest in while I recovered. I would then build from there in an attempt to find at least five things I was grateful for that day.

I wrote in that gratitude journal for a good couple of years before I started to see significant shifts in my perception of life. It was a slow and gradual process, but with each list I subtly turned my focus away from the world outside and toward my own life. Eventually, I turned my focus within.


As I began to value myself and my life more deeply, I also valued those around me more. I stopped judging them or dismissing them as unimportant.


I stopped thinking that there might be better people to be spending mytime with or emulating, and I started appreciating the people who were right in front of me.

Eventually, that brought me to appreciate my favorite role models of all time; a small handful of yoga students that I used to teach in an outdoor space by the ocean each Friday morning.


The students were all women and they were all over the age of fifty.


Although I’m sure they had very full lives and many reasons not to get out of their comfortable beds each Friday morning to do yoga, they would show up week after week, no matter the weather.


Some had injuries, some were recovering from illness and some were simply not as strong as they once were. It was this fact that most impressed me.


When you’re young and ably bodied, it’s not overly challenging to do something like yoga. Your body is reasonably supple and your muscle tone hasn’t atrophied with the passing of time. As you age, it’s easier to find excuses—arthritis or a bad hip, the onset of an illness, or injuries in your back or knees.


There’s a saying in yoga that the most difficult part of the practice is doing the practice. I’ve often found this to be true in my own life. It’s even more challenging when it’s dark outside and rainy and cold, and the alternative of staying in bed is right there in front of you.


But here were these women—perfectly ordinary, everyday women—making choices that made them extraordinary.


Every week they were the embodiment of the wisdom I’d learned through my gratitude journal; that with persistence and in small gentle steps, lives are transformed.


Those beautiful students came every week on faith and on trust. They worked hard to build upper body strength and flexibility.


I saw each of them giving it their all, and although I didn’t know them outside of the classroom, I knew that they understood the value of commitment, the value of continuing even when things are tough, and most of all, I knew that they were brave.


After class I would watch them swim in the ocean (no matter the season). They would swim and then they’d have breakfast together. Over breakfast they’d share stories about their lives.


Watching them, I realized something else about these women. They were women who knew how to build community around them. They weren’t isolated and lonely; they were a part of something.


They’d found a place to come together, to connect with themselves, to connect with nature, and to connect with each other.


In witnessing the simplicity and authenticity of this weekly ritual, I felt a deep gratitude that I’d been privileged enough to be both participant and witness.


I realized too that my gratitude journaling days had come full circle. That gratitude was no longer something I needed to draw from the depths of my being as a means of abating depression, but was instead a living, breathing everyday experience.


And in that moment there stopped being somewhere to go and someone to admire who was better, more accomplished, more intelligent, or more influential than me. There was, quite simply, the world and every living being within it.


All teaching through their actions and all learning through their interactions. All role models to one another and for one another. In that moment there was no separation and no isolation. There was only oneness, and it was all home.

Taking steps toward change can be so much simpler than we realize. We can start by noticing what’s around us and finding something to be grateful for in that.

We can stop looking far away for role models in the recognition that we’re surrounded by teachers everyday, and they’re showing up as our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbours.


We can stop trying to force change to occur immediately and relax into the realization that change occurs through repetition and commitment—by continuing a practice (such as a gratitude journal) even when we’re not sure if it’s making a difference.


And we can remind ourselves that we always have a choice. We can choose to be a victim of our life circumstances or we can choose to build on what we have right in front of us.


My students could easily have stayed home, focusing on what their bodies could no longer do and what they felt they’d lost.


Instead, they chose what they could do. They could show up. They could build community. And in so doing they declared in actions rather than words, “We are enough. This life is enough and we are grateful.”


I couldn’t think of a more appropriate prayer to guide us each and every day.

By : Samantha Nolan-Smith

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Nikolay Davydenko: The Resilient Russian....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In Eduard Davydenko’s two-room Volgograd apartment, Nikolay Davydenko became tennis mad. It was not an overnight transformation, for he had not considered a pro career upon arriving at his older brother’s doorstep aged 11. But the sport, ultimately, became his escape during the hard years preceding the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1992, he dedicated himself to the sport, often spending four hours per day training during school time in a bid to hone his all-court game. In the winter, his timing was tested on the wooden floor of a local police athletic club; then, in the summer months, he perfected his strokes, fine balance and athleticism on a rubbery surface. On Sundays, he put down his racquet and worked on his fitness.

Although Davydenko became the only Russian to place in the year-end Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for five straight years [2005-2009], he was happy to ply his trade in the shadows of the sport’s biggest names. Quiet and unassuming by nature, his 15-season pro career was characterised by his capacity for work and for his powers of concentration. It earned him the nickname “Ironman”, among his contemporaries. “You saw the will and desire to be one of the best,” recalls Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who played him twice. “He was never a big server, but he was a work horse.”

Davydenko never forgot how lucky he was. For it had been Eckhard Oehms, a German businessman and later his agent, who realised his potential as a 14-year-old on a trip through Russia and offered to move the Davydenkos to Salmtal, Germany, where unlimited tennis courts beckoned. It was a massive change in fortunes. But Davydenko didn’t let up on his strict regimen. “He played like a robot, like a wall,” admits his compatriot Teymuraz Gabashvili. “He practised really hard, he worked liked a machine. He played inside the baseline and never retreated. When he was at his best, the stronger you hit the ball the faster it came back. His backhand was unbelievable. His speed and the way he took the ball early were two of his greatest strengths.”

Incredibly the indefatigable retriever, who was renowned as one of the fastest players on the ATP World Tour and was a tricky opponent to play against on any surface, added no more than 10lbs to his lithe 5’10” frame throughout his pro career. He regularly played more matches in a season than any other player and between 2008 and 2010 he recorded 22 victories over Top 10 opponents. He picked up the 2008 Miami Open, one of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns, using just one racquet. He got it strung after each of his victories, including Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal. “Once he was in the Top 10, he believed he could be a Top 10 player,” says Kafelnikov, who became the first Russian to rank World No. 1 in May 1999. “People tried to avoid his name in the draw.” He also helped Russia to the 2006 Davis Cup.

Arguably, though, some of his finest performances came in late 2009 and early 2010, which catapulted him into the spotlight he had tried so hard to avoid. “At his top level, he was an unbelievable player,” remembers Verdasco. “He didn’t give you time to think, he was a very fast player and a hard worker. It was very difficult to play against him.” Jarkko Nieminen, who is 33 like Davydenko, adds, “His movement, baseline and return game were his strengths. He didn’t give you anything for free. He could take the ball very early and he played with a great pace and tempo. You always had to run and defend a lot.”

By improving his service technique and by fine-tuning his volleying skills, to back up his accomplished knack of seamlessly transitioning from the baseline to the net, Davydenko got hot during the 2009 Asian swing. Having finished runner-up at the prestigious season finale, Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, one year earlier, Davydenko arrived in London for the first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in a confident mood. In a ‘group of death’, that included defending champion Novak Djokovic, the Russian defeated Nadal and Robin Soderling, prior to beating Roger Federer in the semi-finals and the reigning US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. He earned the biggest cheque of his career, a cool $1.51 million.

When he dispatched Federer and Nadal again, en route to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, in the first week of the 2010 ATP World Tour season, he arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open as a major contender for the title. With the experience of four Grand Slam championship semi-final appearances on his resume — 2005, 2007 Roland Garros and 2006-07 US Open — he started to believe. Forty five minutes into his quarter-final against Federer, a player he had lost to 12 times in a row prior to his recent change in fortunes, Davydenko led 6-2, 3-0. But, in the fifth game of the second set, Federer found his serve. Davydenko went into a tailspin and 13 straight games went the Swiss’ way. Federer eventually won 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 7-5 in three hours and 36 minutes.

Sadly, at his next tournament, the 2010 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, he landed on his wrist in a straight sets semi-final loss to Robin Soderling. Although he won the 21st — and final — title of his career at Munich in May 2011, Davydenko’s days of consistent peak performance were numbered. Towards the end of the 2010 season, Davydenko dropped out of the Top 10 — the elite club he had been a member of for more than five-and-a-half years. Stan Wawrinka admits, “I always admired the level of his game. He was so fast and was a big fighter. There was so much speed in his game. I felt that he was one of the fastest players I’ve ever faced.”

Davydenko always sought a simple life. With his wife, Irina, whom he married after a three-year courtship in November 2006, their two-year-old daughter, Ekaterina, and his coach brother — 10 years his senior — he was able to play tennis and enjoy his life, largely free of widespread attention. Today, after a farewell ceremony at the Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow, where he won three titles, he can enjoy his retirement safe in the knowledge that he will be long remembered alongside the greats of Russian tennis. “It is bad news from Russian tennis,” says Gabashvili. “He was one of the greatest in the world.” Says Kafelnikov, “People in Russia love him.”

By : James Buddell

Why People Reject Us and What We Can Do About It....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 11, 2014 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  ~Viktor Frankl


There’s probably no worse feeling in life than the feeling of being rejected. Whether it’s from the opposite sex, a friend or family member, or co-workers, the feeling that our presence is not wanted or no longer welcomed can cause us to feel hurt and become defensive.


I’ve learned a couple of ways of dealing with rejection when it arises in various situations, and for taking the sting out of it.

The first thing to realize is that rejection isn’t personal. Not really, anyway. It only seems that way because that’s how we tend to look at it.

I’ve found that when people reject us, there are times when there’s something we can learn from it, and there are other times when it’s completely on the other person.


So, let’s take a look at these two experiences of rejection, and discuss ways for dealing with them…

When Our Behavior Turns Others Off:-

People sometimes reject us because of the behavior we exhibit in our interactions with them. When people feel uncomfortable, they’re instinctively going to want to prevent themselves from experiencing annoyance or irritation. And their obvious solution is to remove themselves from our presence.

The result is that we end up feeling rejected by it.


But that’s why rejection isn’t personal. In this case, they’re not rejecting us; they’re rejecting our behavior.

And though it is true that we sometimes associate and attribute our behavior with our identities, it’s not really the case. After all, if you change some of your behavior, aren’t you still the same person? Just because you choose to act in a different way, that doesn’t mean you’re not yourself.


When I was twenty, I had a big crush on a girl I worked with. We went out a few times and it seemed to start off well. But slowly, she started to pull away and avoid me.


It stung. And for a while, I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I thought about what a great guy I thought I was, and wondered why she couldn’t see that, and why she wasn’t coming to her senses.


But I soon realized that my problem was this: I was focused on why she should like me, not why she didn’t.


I later discovered that I had been acting in ways that made her uncomfortable, ways that turned her off and repelled her, all without realizing it at the time.


I’d call her too often, I’d give her too much attention, always lingering around, I’d buy her gifts to try to buy her affections… the list went on and on.


Once I discovered that these things turned her off, I set out to eliminate them from my interactions in the future. And my results in the dating department changed drastically when I did.

There are lots of behaviors that make almost everyone feel uncomfortable, including dumping our complaints on others, acting needy and clingy, bragging about ourselves, being defensive and argumentative, being overly critical and judgmental of other people, and many more.


Addressing these behaviors takes some introspection. We have to discover what’s motivating them in the first place. And what usually motivates them, ironically, is the desire to gain approval from others.


When we recognize these behaviors and work on them, we’re less likely to make others feel uncomfortable. This doesn’t guarantee other people won’t reject us, but it does decrease the odds that they’ll want to avoid us.

When We Fail To Meet Others’ Expectations:-


People can also reject us because of their own personal prejudices, values, or beliefs.


I’m talking about those situations where someone else has certain expectations for us that we don’t meet up to. This is the case of the son who wants to be a musician, but whose father wants him to be a lawyer. If the son pursues his dream, his dad is going to reject him.

Or the introverted and reserved boyfriend who feels rejected because his girlfriend criticizes him for not being more outgoing, like her.

Sometimes rejection is simply caused by an incompatibility of values, beliefs, or personality types between people.


This is that scenario where rejection happens because people disagree with our life choices, or because they simply have different opinions, lifestyles, or personalities than us.

In these cases, all you can really do is accept that someone else is rejecting you because of their expectations for you. Again, it isn’t really personal. It’s often due to someone else’s inability to accept you for who and where you are. And they are entitled to that choice.


Accept that this is generally their issue, not yours. Or it could just be a compatibility issue neither of you is responsible for.

Knowing How to Respond to Rejection:-


It’s not always easy to recognize if there’s something to learn from rejection, or if the rejection is merely a consequence of someone else’s unmet expectations. But the distinction becomes much clearer when we develop self-awareness about our behaviors and how they affect others.

Either way, understanding the causes of rejection can take the sting out of it, because it’s never about who we are. It’s about what we’re doing. And we can either work to change that, or recognize that someone else is unable to accept it, and that’s completely on them.

By : Keenan Patram

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