“You Are Here” -The Five Mindfulness Trainings

 

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings were developed during the time of the Buddha to be the foundation of practice for the entire practice community, including monastic and lay members. The basis for the trainings is mindfulness. The Five Mindfulness Trainings protect our freedom and make life beautiful. As guidelines for our daily lives, they are the basis of happiness for individuals, couples, families, and society.

The First Training

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking or in my way of life.

The Second Training

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on earth.

The Third Training

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

The Fourth Training

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and to relieve others of suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or words that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

The Fifth Training

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy to my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body and consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and the transformation of society.

-From Buddhist Teachings and Book “You Are Here” by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Wise Words of Thich Nhat Hanh

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“Many people aspire to go to a place where pain and suffering do not exist

A place where there is only happiness.

This is a rather dangerous idea

For compassion is not possible without pain and suffering.

It is only when we enter into contact with suffering

That understanding and compassion can be born.”

– From the book titled “You are Here”

Fall 2018 Fashion Inspo: Feeling Free

After graduation, this past summer has been all about finding myself and being in tune with myself, what is it that I want to accomplish with it, and what are the things that make me feel centered and happy. Feeling free is one of the things I aspire must, free from my thoughts, anxiety, and free from social views. Within these concepts, I’ve also looked to achieve the feeling of being free through my clothing. I liked being able to do things without my body feeling limited and constricted with tight clothing or loads of layers. Because of the summer heat, I gravitated a lot more towards loose clothing like dresses, skirts and wide-legged pants. Once I did that, I found myself feeling more centered, less restricted, a lot more confident, and overall happy without having to put much thought into my clothing. I still felt and looking put together, so I was ready for any occasion, other than for working out. I’ve decided to incorporate the minimal lifestyle and free feeling concept into my 2018 Fall wardrobe.

 

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Girl Talk: My First Time pt. 2

I left off with my lunch date with Eli…

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After I questioned his age and not really pushing it even though I wasn’t sure he was being completely honest, we continued to have interesting conversations and enjoying each others company. We were having such a good time that we didn’t want to end our date just yet, so we decided to go out for a walk before we called it a day. We decided to just walk into a mall nearby the cafe, but we had to drive there as it was on the other side of the highway, and yes dumb me got inside his car with this gut feeling that he might be hiding something, and not even thinking he can potentially kidnap me right there and then. But, I made it to the mall none the less, and we had a great time, it lasted for a few minutes before the physical tensions got to us, and we started holding hands, and wanting to kiss, but he was too tall and PDA is really not my thing. We decided to head back and call it a day, but once we got in his car to return back to the cafe where my car was, we couldn’t help but to start making out. Yes, it is still somewhat PDA but no one was watching, at least I didn’t notice anyone looking. It was getting pretty heated and I had to immediately abort that plane before anything serious happened in the front seat of a car, at a mall’s parking lot. We got back to where my car was and said our goodnights, we definitely planned to meet for a second date. We had talked for a few more days before we went on our second date which was just a movie date, nothing special, but the kicker was for the third time we met. Around the time we both had basically the whole day off, I just had a morning class, and we decided to hang out at his place, and no he did not live by himself, but it was just him that day. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything serious to go down, but any girl besides me would’ve seen the obvious coming. I arrived at his house, he had made chai tea latte for me, my favorite tea, we headed up to his bedroom, he showed me a few of his book collections in Buddhism that we had previously talked about, and then we got into bed and started making out. Back then I was just thinking this is all its going to be, a make-out session, nothing more. I’ve never been in a situation like that before where I was making out in a bed with a guy, so I had no clue the way my body would just feel and surrender to every single touch. Next thing I know our clothes were off, we continue to make out with again me thinking that’s how far it was going to get, but NOPE his hands started slowly tracing up my inner thigh and that’s where I was like ‘Okay things are getting serious’. I stopped him immediately and told him ‘I wasn’t ready that I was a still a virgin’, he was a total gentleman and understood me, but a few minutes after still making out, I gave in. I knew it was definitely way too soon, with a guy I barely knew, but the moment felt right, my body felt right, and was craving it, I mean I waited that long. I never really started discovering my body by masturbating until that same year, a few days before my 18th birthday. So you can understand why I wanted to just do it. Protection was used, of course, I was being a little carefree, but not irresponsible. The sex wasn’t great, at least not for me, it hurt like hell, and I never had an orgasm. I’m sure many women’s first time or men’s first time wasn’t that great either, but at the time I was just questioning the whole thing, just because I didn’t enjoy it. I left his house right after, just lying my butt off when he asked me if I had a “Good time”. On my way home, I was just thinking if that’s what sex was going to be like the whole time, and questioning my decision that maybe if it was with the right guy or if I had waited for the perfect time that the experience would’ve been better, but as we all know now that isn’t really true.

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Fast forward a few months, the sex did get better, in terms that it wasn’t as painful and terrible as the first time, but he never did really get me to orgasm. I went through a lot of first with Eli, our first fight, first time getting in trouble with my parents to be with him, first time trying new things, my first pregnancy scare, my first love, and my first heartbreak. We talked for about a year and we never established if our relationship was official or not, and if you have read my first Girl Talk post, you’ll know that whenever I bring this up to the person we immediately stop talking. With him it was quite different, we would stop talking, but then reconcile a few weeks later. Because he was my first and I had really strong feelings for him, I still decided to give him another chance, far too many honestly. I thought that maybe he would change his mind, that I just need to give it time. That was never the case for us. But a few months before we had called it off completely, the truth had started to come out.

We were out on a date, and we were just talking about a friend of mine who was dating a guy much older than her, and he just blurted out that he is probably older than the guy. Now I always had my suspicions about his age from day one, and I never let it go, but at that point, I really didn’t care what his age was anymore. WELL… I tell him, “The guy is 28 and she’s 19 and you’re supposedly 26 now, so you’re not older than him,” and I just give him this stare like “You’re 26 right?” and he just tells me he’s actually THIRTY-FREAKING-TWO! And I know I said I didn’t really care what his age was, but My God, I was not expecting that number, the highest I was expecting was 28 or 29. I was honestly so in disbelief that I asked to see his driver’s license just to check if he wasn’t  punkin me or something. The guy was in fact 32 years-old and not only that, his name wasn’t actually Eli,that was his middle name. Everything from that moment just started making sense, as to why he didn’t want to be official with me. I didn’t make a scene at the restaurant we were eating, but my face said it all. I was the one who drove that day and I was honestly thinking off driving off and leaving him there. I didn’t leave him there though, I just wanted answers as to why he would lie about his age and if that was the reason he didn’t want us to be official. He reassured me though that he only lied becuase he was insecure and didn’t want his age to be a factor on whether or not I wanted to talk to him, and then he promised me he only needed time to determine what we had, that it was nothing about the age difference. I believed him, I fell for it like a stupid idiot to then further on, have my heart broken. He told me that he didn’t want to continue talking to me because “He felt he needed things that I couldn’t give him and that he soon realized that the age difference was an issue.” I was completely in shock that after being told that he really wanted to be with me and after I forgave him for lying to me about his age and still wanting to be with him after the fact, he then decides to have his on realization without taking in consideration how in deep my feelings for him were already.

From that day on, I believe I was cursed to have the worst relationships ever with men. I tried learning from the mistakes I made with this one experience and tried by not repeating it in other occasions, but whatever I do, I still end up in the same mess, broken-hearted by a guy that I’ve talked to for months, cared for, and in the end wasn’t even my boyfriend. But things happen for a reason and no one said it would be easy, so I’m just patiently waiting for the “One.” But the fact that I’ve already experienced this more than twice, tells me that it is going to be a long road before I get there.

– I’ve got more dating stories to write about, so definitely like and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been in a situation similar to mine or comment on the fact that this 32-year-old man still lived with his parents, that always makes me feel better about the whole situation… –

*Names have been changed to protect the person’s identity.

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Girl Talk: My First Time

 

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As I am sipping my first glass of wine of the day, I thought to myself why not write about my first time. In my last Girl Talk, I talked about how I use online dating, well that wasn’t my first time doing so, to be honest, all of the men I’ve dated I’ve met through a dating site. I’m here though to talk about my time of firsts, my first time on a dating site, my first time going on a date, my first time having sex, and yes this all happened with the first guy I met through the online dating app, OKCupid.

Let’s go back to my First job, I had recently graduated from high school and I started working as a Hostess. First Few months I’ve gotten pretty close with most of the waitresses, with one in particular, her name was Ashley, she would always tell me about her crazy dating experiences and the different guys that she has met. Well, one day I finally asked her where the hell she meets all these guys, without making her sound like she’s some sort of Call Girl of course, and she tells me she’s met them online on a dating site called OkCupid. Now I’ve known what online dating was, I mean we’ve all seen Catfish, but I hadn’t ever actually met someone who’s been on one before, and this amazed me, it was like I was given the key to the universe or something. I didn’t immediately hop on the online dating train because I was skeptical, and scared, to be honest, but came fall, my first semester in College, and I did decide to create an account.

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My first few weeks in college I felt quite lonely, it was such a big campus, there was a lot of people, and it was really hard to get acquainted with anyone as a commuter so, I turned to OkCupid to perhaps find a new companion. What fascinated me about this site it was how detailed oriented it was, when you create an account you have to answer all these questions about yourself that you hadn’t even thought about before like, ‘what are you good at’, ‘what is something that set you apart from other people’, etc. This gave me the slight confidence that I would meet someone rather decent when reading their profile. Besides the self-summary about yourself, there are these other questions you answer that they use to ‘match you’ with someone that has answered similarly to you, like if the question asked if ‘you’re a serial killer’ and you answered ‘No’ and the other person says ‘No’ as well, then you can feel a little relieved that you won’t get killed on your first date. But I digress, given all these qualities about the app that ensure you’re talking to someone that meets your interest is what attracted me more towards trying out online dating. Again this is all just a facade, you can’t ever truly tell how a person is till you’ve had a physical interaction with them. I, of course, being the naive 18-year-old fell in deep, and just started swiping my life away to find potential matches, until one day I matched with Eli. Eli was “25” years old and you’ll get why I put his age in quotations later-on, he was a very handsome man, his picture immediately caught my attention, but his profile didn’t have much to say about him which startled me for a while. I don’t remember much how our first conversation went, but I do remember him commenting on my curly hair and comparing it to Robert Plant’s hair, for those of you who do not know, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Led Zeppelin. Now I am a big fan of classic rock music, so this was a clever and funny way to get my attention. So we hit it off right away, we had loads in common, and he had a great sense of humor, but I was still a bit skeptical which is why I didn’t let it go any further. I actually stopped using the app completely for a while whilst I was getting adjusted to the college/work life, therefore “ghosting” the guy. After a couple of weeks, once things have settled down I decided to go back to the app and a few days after Eli saw I was online and decided to reach out again. Here it was where I thought if after a few weeks of not talking he’s still interested I should at least give him a chance, and that’s when we exchanged numbers and planned for our first date, and my first date ever to be exact.

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So yes, as an 18-year-old this was going to be my very first date, with a man I met online, yeah I’m clenching my teeth too. Even though my anxiety levels were through the roof that day and my introverted-self was just trying to think of a way to get away from meeting this ‘stranger’, I pushed through it and got ready for the date. Now, we decided to meet for lunch at this nice Italian cafe, once we met the first reaction was, “Wow he’s tall” and “Thank God he looks like his pictures,” but something seemed quite off and I couldn’t put my finger on it upon the first impression. Either way, we sat for lunch, we shared meals as I had no idea what to eat, typical, and I was a total mess. I was having trouble getting my words out, I was heating up and getting all red, as I’m sure many people might’ve been on their first dates. He definitely noticed how nervous and anxious I was and told me to take some deep breaths, which was very sweet of him. As I brought my nervous levels down, I had a chance to look at him better, and I noticed how much older he looked than ’25’. I mean anyone can just look more mature than their age, I, for example, look much younger than my actual age, he for all I know could’ve been asking himself if I was even of legal age. I did ask him if he was really 25 and he didn’t hesitate and said he was, and asked me if that was an issue with me, I said no and didn’t really put too much thought into, but my gut was telling me to keep pushing it.

TO BE CONTINUED…

*Names have been changed to protect their identity.

 

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My Nature and Architectural​ Photography

I’ve always been a photography person, capturing the beauty that my eyes get to see every day in a camera has always been a passion of mine. I’m mostly drawn to nature and architectural structures. It is one of those things that pose for themselves, you don’t need to stage it, and it is definitely a challenge as a photographer to capture something so simple in a creative and captivating way.  These are a few of my photographs.

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The End of a Chapter: University

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I have finally completed a big chapter in my life, graduating from university. This past weekend, I completed and received my B.A. degree in Psychology. Whilst this was a big milestone, my academic journeys have yet to end. In order for me to practice psychology, I have to get an M.A. and possibly a Ph.D. in the near future. I have yet to apply for any Master programs, but I’m hoping to get in one by next year. As for jobs, I haven’t landed anything in my desired field and like I said it wouldn’t happen unless I am a licensed psychologist. But, there are entry-level jobs that I can get with B.A., like being a Psychiatric Technician. While this is not my dream career, it is definitely a start. The thing that I’m dreading the most is taking the GRE, I am so bad with standardized tests, I honestly had to take the SATs 3 times in order to get best scores in each category. I will be preparing for it all summer, and I’m hoping the first time is the charm because I want to leave all that stress from it behind going into the new year. The goal is to get a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and then later on after working for a while, get a Ph.D. to have my own private practice. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying every minute before I have to start school again, also working on polishing my CV too, but definitely staying optimistic and continuing to pursue my dreams.

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