Do you ever wish you are a different person? Nobody wants to be in a being who is suffering, feeling victimized and unworthy, insecure, and unhappy.
In the past, each time I get an invitation, the first reaction is to find reasons not to go. I get panicky about what to wear. I start wondering what to say in a conversation or how we're going to handle the payment.
The other day I got a call from my late husband's cousin inviting me to a dinner in their golf club. My anxiety went up as I feel awkward to be in these places. I couldn't say no, but my mind rushed to thinking of reasons to get out of this engagement. I am not sure if I will feel at ease with them. I never worried about this before because my husband would always carry the conversation. I never had to say anything unless directly asked, and as the conversation flows smoothly with him around, I had never worried.
I probably tried on so many dresses to make sure I dressed appropriately, not embarrass my adopted cousins. We have not seen each other since the COVID lockdown, so I was a bit apprehensive.
The day came, and the weather was terrible. Possibly, I could convince them to cancel. I tried, but they responded that they had called the club and they're fine. So, I prepared myself for the pick-up. When I entered the car, I saw that my cousin's husband was in shorts. My cousin, who casually dressed, assured me that everything goes. I saw when I came in that people there wore whatever was comfortable. It was their second home. That made me feel at ease.
As we're still maintaining social distancing, we wore masks in the car and ate in the outdoors. The dining room is very spacious that even with many people there, we had enough space away from other diners, which made for a more lively conversation.
Being my first time to be with these cousins on my own, I worried earlier what to say, but as the dinner progressed, the conversation became smooth and enjoyable. I entered fully into it, expressing my views freely. For them, this must have been the first time they have heard much from me. The conversation was so compelling that we ended with a greater desire to see each other more.
Reflecting on this experience, I saw how much I have changed as a person. I seem comfortable with everyone, happy to engage with them, and valued my contribution. I started to feel my worth as a person. What changes have I recently made to my life that brought about this new being I love?
Here is the most crucial step I took. A friend of mine recommended that I check out the workshop on transforming yourself. This friend told me that with the new science of epigenetics, I could even change my genes. So, I went to YouTube and looked at some of the videos on epigenetics. I started educating myself on the more effective personal transformation. My friend also suggested I check out the workshop of Dr. Joe Dispenza.
After watching several videos on meditation, I saw how crucial this practice is to the change I want. So, I started meditating, and the changes I experienced encouraged me to go on. I did this for about two weeks until my friend convinced me to take Dr. Dispenza's workshop.
Thanks for the time COVID has given us, I ventured into the workshop. I have meditated before, but this workshop led me to the most intense experience in my life. I found myself tuning in to the unknown, the place of possibilities where I find my new potential.
I don't get any commission from this website, but the transformation I see in myself pushes me to share this program. I feel so happy about my new self, the new person I created in this workshop.
What is important is that you seek your inner transformation. Once you start, the forces around will help you.
Does this butterfly look back to its past?
Most of us direct our attention to what we had in the past. Some of us even live in the past. Why do we do this? Because we know it for sure. We don't have to struggle to accept it. We have embraced it, and it comforts us. It is familiar, yet cozy.
The Future, on the other hand, is unknown. It is uncertain. It is something we do not know, and so do not trust at all. Most of us would not even think about it. We will deal with it when it comes. At the moment, we want nothing to do with it.
But do you know that where we focus our attention is where we direct our energy? Therefore, when we focus on the past, we give it power. History now influences how we live our present life. It dictates how we behave and how we respond to the new realities in our current moment. When we continue to do this, the more the Future becomes unknown to us, unexplored and distrusted. What's worse is nothing will change in our lives because we live the same reality we did before. We are only repeating what happened before. Is this what we want?
What if we challenge ourselves to imagine our Future and avoid looking back to the past. If we do this successfully, we train ourselves to look towards the Future, go for what is in front of us, and stop looking back. How we respond to the events in our present moment will be directed by this new image. Wouldn't that be more exciting? More exhilarating? Only then will we see changes in our lives.
Maybe some of you will ask, "Why do we have to do this when we are happy talking about the past, reminiscing the significant memories we enjoyed and shared?" While this has its advantage, it stops us from growing, from moving onward and transforming our lives. We are satisfied with what we have had and are happy to stay in it.
From now on, only focus on the image of your Future Self. Many of us don't have a vision of how we want to see ourselves in the Future. So, I invite you to do this. Upon waking up every morning, picture the Self you wish to be in the Future. Picture your joy as you live this new reality. Feel the emotion of enjoying this new life.
As your day unfolds, watch your thoughts. Each time the past takes its hold on your mind, refocus on the picture of your new Self. Keep doing this until the past has lost its grip on your thought.
Before you sleep, picture once more the image of your new Self. Keep doing this until the vision is clear in your mind. Remember to feel the emotions that go with the fulfillment of this image.
As you do this every day, you then live your life based no longer on the past but the vision of your Future Self. Transform like this butterfly.
When Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to sign up for taxes, the town had a lot more action than just a stable. All of the trades that were alive and active in the community like Bethlehem would easily have been seen and heard and provided life to the community.
This was just not just a country of shepherds. There were stonemasons and carpenters, fishers, roofers and makers of cooking utensils. Perhaps, metalsmith and certainly blacksmiths.
The Basilica of Santiago de Compostela tried to display the Nativity in the total context of Bethlehem. Even better, the beautifully crafted figures move and give a sense of the world going on in the Holy Land in the year 0. Fishers fish. Woodcutters cut wood. There's real action going on and when you walk around the entire miniature world, you get a sense of how it must have felt to live there at the time.
Of course, there are the shepherds watching their sheeps and there's the wise man checking the skies, the assorted animals that live in the manger swing their heads and complain about losing sleep. So, in this great grey, somewhat foreboding Basilica is a small world of humanity living out their lives in what historically is one of the most important moments in history.
See the Full Nativity Display of Santiago de Compostela
Many Western Europeans grew up with a multi-generational Christmas holy family scene that was rolled out on to the mantelpiece in mid-December every year.
This varied from stick creatures made by the children to high quality porcelain. The main interest was in protecting them from indifferent cats, ignorant tennis balls, and over cooking by the fireplace below. They were a tradition, little else.
But some cities in Europe have quite a different understanding of the holy family display. As an example in Zaragoza, a major portion of the central town square is filled with every character, animal and tree that could possibly be included in the Nativity scene. They're all life-size.
Walking around the 50 meter by 20 meter installation is an interesting experience as you feel you're peeking into history. The images avoid the soporific looks of the traditional Nativity with smiles and happy glances. The entire presentation has an upbeat feel that brings back some of the non-mercantile joy generations once had in Christmas.
There are many reasons to visit Zaragoza but if time permits at Christmas, visiting to see this life-size Nativity along with the market that springs up around it and the wonderful mix of architecture, modern and vintage that surround it, is really worth the effort.
We have been coming back to Hanoi for years now but this is the first time we have seen this type of Ceramics.
Said to have travelled along the silk road to some of the finest homes in many countries all over the world, these ceramics now reside in 46 museums of 32 countries and territories.
These ceramics as the name suggests originated in the village of Chu Dau in the province of Hai Duong in Vietnam around the 13th century under the Tran dynasty.
But it was only in the 14th to the 17th centuries when the ceramics gained prominence. Unhappily, the civil war between the Trinh and Mac dynasties stopped the production of these well appreciated treasures.
The Chu Dau ceramics were of 3 types: those for the ordinary people, ones for high ranking officials and the ones for royalty.
Interest in these ceramics came back when in 1980, Mr. Makoto Anabuki, First Secretary in the Japanese Embassy asked if he could find out more about the antique ceramic vase, Hoa Lam-Blue Flower, he saw exhibited in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul. This vase was autographed by the artist, Bui Thi Hy. This started the research into this antique ceramic.
Excavations were undertaken in the northern Vietnamese village of Chu Dau and they found thousands of ceramics and old kilns signifying that this place was engaged in pottery long before it was a busy trading hub.
The ceramics in spite of having been buried for long, still retained its distinctive colour and design. So, today studies are made in view of bringing back the authentic patterns, materials and ornaments used by the early potters.
My husband and I just happened to see the display in Hanoi, 2 Le Thai To, of Chu Dau ceramics. We were on our Sunday walk looking for a coffee place when the display caught our attention. Intrigued, we went in the store and got out with this, a memento of something we've come to appreciate.
Today, the village of Chu Dau can be visited from Hanoi. A day tour will take you to the village where you can see the old kilns and the excavated site.
If you love pottery, here's another popular village for this craft in Vietnam:
For those who love travel, here are some of my top recommendations of places to visit.
Click on the picture to know more of these places: