Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The "B" way

  • Keep trying and you will succeed. Do not give up and enjoy each step you walk. Do not look ahead or back, instead look into where you are at this very moment. Appreciate what you have achieved, acknowledge your progress and celebrate.
  • Value each test and make the most of it, as each of them represents an opportunity to grow and a chance to know yourself better. Remember that we are what we learned and that through awareness comes the understanding and the possibility to change what it is.
  • Do not concentrate on the negative, on what you have not achieved; instead ponder why things are not the way you would like them to be and do something about it. Keep in mind that everything changes, that nothing is permanent and that you have the power to determine the end result.
  • Do not feel unsafe or insecure about how thing will turn up to be. As safety and security do not exist, they are just illusions of our mind to keep us prisoners and afraid of living.
  • Do not seek approval for everything you try, believe in yourself even if the rest of the world is not there to support you. Bear in mind that despite the lack of tangible signs you are where you need to be at exactly that moment.
  • Let patience and persistence be your daily companions, be aware that everything happens for a reason and any attainment achieved without challenge is not an accomplishment.
  • Share your blessings with others, be a humble leader that leads by example. When you look at the positive side of life, encouraging and inspiring others, you are fulfilling your life purpose.
  • Do not be judgmental of others lives, respect them; remember that they are not you and that they have a choice to be who they want to be. Treat others the same way you want to be treated.
  • Do not get attached to things, situations and relations. Learn to let go and open the door to new opportunities and experiences, only then you will grow.
  • Talk, think, act, and observe positively; apply this to everything you and others do. Remember that when you are positive, everything around you becomes positive. You are a powerful being, with your attitude you decide the end result.
  • Do not leave the desires of your heart for later, go for it now. Life is the present moment as later may never be.
  • Love yourself; accept your responsibility for everything that happens to you. Do not blame others, because you are not their victim but your own. Only then you will be able to love unconditionally.
  • Dance, sign, write, paint, talk, laugh, and cry if you want to. Be fully present, do not think too much; follow your heart and nothing will go wrong.
  • Don’t be afraid of love and experience it to its fullest, allowing you heart be. Do so, while keeping in mind that love is not about expectations, attachments, everlasting and ownership.

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The music is loud, making it difficult to have a decent conversation; the smell at the bar is almost revolting… a mix of sweat and tobacco. He is forcing himself to remain there pretending to have the time of his life. He never thought that getting back to his old town was going to be such a challenge. He found everything the same way he left it; he is the one that changed and has to push himself so as not to feel out of place.

Five years ago after enlisting into the Army he was sent to a conflict zone. His parents were very proud; their son was going to fight for their country. He was going to be a hero and also earn some good money to help them through the rough times.

He was too young to understand what he was getting into and by the time he realized it, was too late to turn back. None of the training received prepared him for what he went through. At war he saw all types of abuses; some of his comrades got intoxicated with the power they had and did the unthinkable. At war they found a place to release all their demons without being indicted. There, they were given license to abuse and kill… and many did it, oh yes… many did it!

The moral tribulations prevailed over what he was instructed to do. He could not stop asking himself infinity times: “Is this God’s will? Shall we kill our brothers and sisters? Are we not all children of the same God? What I’m doing here? Does this make any sense?” Tim was lost; he did not know any more what was right and what was wrong. During the first eighteen years of his life he was told to respect and to love everyone, despite the differences. He was also told that weapons were the devil’s tools to bring the worse out of mankind and separate them from each other. But then in the Army they were given guns and sent to a place where it was OK to kill if needed to, even if they did not have anything against the people they were fighting.

He is aware that men have been fighting from immemorial times. But before it was a question of self-defense, or conquering new territories and not a question of reducing unemployment and improving the country’s economy. Now, human rights are violated in the name of a fake cause as the real one is too grimy to be told. The civilians of the country they were sent to assist were the innocent victims of the economic game. However many of them were fighting for their ideals, for their country and for their people, while Tim and his comrades were there doing their “job”, it was a question of salary and not a question of survival.

To make things worse, once the war or the specific assignment was over, soldiers are sent back home and expected to behave as “normal” civilians, irrespectively of whatever they have done or experienced. On their return many suffer from continuous nightmares and are faced by a society that does not want to talk about what they have gone through. For Tim returning to his old town and to his previous life was challenging, more than he could ever imagine. He found it difficult to put together both realities: the one he just left behind with the one he was returning to. Tim needed some time off to compose his life; he was in urgent need of reconnecting with himself and with the simplicity so as to stop himself from falling into depression.

To be able to move on, it was vital to be fully present and make peace with his life. After trying several techniques and reading some “self-help” books, he decided to give it a try to the philosophy described in the Power of Now by Eckhar Tolle. Therefore he started paying attention to the details, noticing the regular things around him that frequently go unnoticed. During this time he began to perceive above other things, the infinite variety of flowers around his house, on the way to work, on the park, etc. He was overwhelmed by their silent majestic presence, and felt the uncontrollable need to capture their beauty and show it to the world. Tim collected all the money he had, bought a camera and set off ready to take pictures of each and every flower crossing his path. For the first time in a very long time he felt happy and adventurous, bringing to life his inner child, allowing himself to be fully aware of the present moment, conscious that the now is all it is.

By paying attention to the flowers and photographing them, he began to understand better the mysteries of life. He noticed that flowers grow everywhere, in the garden of an expensive house, in the bush, in the underprivileged areas, in the dumping ground, at the cemeteries and in the most unexpected places. Despite the conditions or the surroundings they grow to their fullest, fulfilling their life purpose, without conditioning their existence to where life has placed them or question the Universe for its unfairness. Each of them is unique, they come in all sizes, colors and shapes…. just like humans do. But the main difference is that the flowers are fully alive and present while the humans are just living and mostly focused on the past and/or the future.

His new passion inspires him every day, giving him the strength to be who he wants to be, regardless of the surroundings. He is thankful that he found relief and motivation in photography, and that he is able to share what he sees with others. Tim has traveled all around, meting different people and cultures; he is seeing the world beyond and with his life’s approach he is starting to influence the people around him, as they are also starting noticing the unnoticed, they are becoming more aware of the world around them, they are slowly waking up…

Soon he will have to return to the battle field; this will be his last assignment. He is prepared to go and complete his duty; now he knows that there are no mistakes in life, that everything happens for a reason and that it is up to him to make the most of it. He understands that he needed the experience to grow and re-discover himself.

Smiling big and wide Tim look at the group he is with, before rejoining their noisy and confusing conversations.

He is a happy man that sometimes steps back, but quickly recovers.

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The ART of communication

Part I

Communication is the art of transferring a message (to and from), where a person gives, another one receives and consequently both of them end up receiving. Good communication requires great listeners and observations skills to ensure that the message is understood by all the parties involved.

This art is frequently misunderstood and misused as generally very few do communicate to give or to receive. Usually we care more of what we have to express instead of how and when it needs to be communicated. We concentrate on passing the message but rarely take the time to confirm whether it has reached the targeted audience, then instead of communicating, we are just stating.

To find someone who really listens is a gift from the Universe or is our “shrink” (the one we pay a significant amount of money just to have the illusion of being listened to).

Today one of the most challenging things is to be able to have authentic communication, where two or more people exchange ideas, thoughts, feelings, needs, etc, while paying attention to one another (through listening and observing).

Usually, when given the chance, we burst into conversation mode, saying everything it comes through our mind, taking advantage of the rare opportunity given to us to express ourselves. So focused we are on letting everything out, that we forget to return the favor by providing others the chance to express themselves. Therefore we usually find ourselves battling with each other to gain control of the “monologue”. The one who raises more the voice or shows more determination or enthusiasm will be the one doing the talking, while the other one will be pretending to be listening. In fact the other party is probably having a conversation on his/her own (probably discarding everything that is being said or maybe lost on his/her own issues).

During the “monologue” both parties will keep looking at each other and nodding in agreement every now and then, as if they are really paying attention. Once the “conversation” is over, the one that did the talking will be feeling pleased to have found someone who has listened, and maybe for a moment (a very short one) will feel a bit guilty for not allowing the other one to express. So he/she promises: “Next time I will be the one listening!”

The one that did the “listening” is probably feeling dejected and confused. Most likely he/she will be saying to him/herself: “What on earth was he/she talking about? I can’t remember a thing, and what's more distressing is that I did not get a chance to say what I wanted to say! Next time I will be the one doing the talking!”

Our society has all the tools to communicate, but as time passes by we communicate less and less. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling lonely and on our own, despite all the friends, family and colleagues we have. Those are days when all we want to do is to talk with someone, but we suddenly realized that there is nobody ready to listen or share with us a real conversation.

Is this related to the fact that from childhood our parents and the society rarely gave us the chance to express ourselves? (What we like or dislike, what we want, what we dream about and what do we think about anything). Perhaps that explains why we believe that we are communicating through monologues, where one talks and states, the other pretends to be listening and does whatever pleases.

Is the technology around us the one responsible? Are we spending so much time seating on our computers surfing Internet, watching TV and reading, that we forgot the Art of Communication?

When was the last time that you spontaneously switched off the TV (computer, book) just to have a conversation with your child, (sister, mother, wife, husband, and friend) and find out how is she/he doing/feeling/ dreaming about?

When was the last time that you really listened?

When was the last time that you talked from the bottom of your heart aiming to communicate instead of making a point?

Through the daily practice and mastery of the Art of Communication we pay attention to life, we live in the moment, we are in the now, we are one and all.

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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