I just recently discovered Sharon Salzberg’s Metta Hour podcast. Sharon is known for teaching loving kindness meditation and I was privileged to have sat through a couple of her sessions at 1440 Multiversity earlier this year. For today’s podcast, she had a conversation with George Mumford. I chose this particular episode because George’s book, The Mindful Athlete, is one of the most instrumental content that I used in my run training.
I felt that the session spoke directly to me as I’ve been struggling lately with a sense of being off-center. I realised that this feeling springs from not being right here, right now. George succinctly put it as “There’s nothing wrong right now.” What worries us and causes so much anxiety in our lives are things that happened or might happen. But right now, there really is nothing amiss and that this moment is all we have. We hear this all the time but we still live as if our lives were not in this one present. We scramble, frantic and unsure of what to do. But if we pause and just be in the moment, we really will know what to do. It is already in us, just waiting to be heard and accessed. We just gotta listen.
Meditation is a way of tuning into these moments. It is a streamlined approach to nurturing mindfulness, cultivating attention, tranquility, keenness and insight. The active practice of slowing down to acknowledge every action and their very intention gives us back our now. I like the idea of meditation as a daily continuity practice, available in even the most mundane and repetitive of actions. It’s in the repetition that the shift happens. I hope I can get back to this beautiful process. I need it most right now.
Today I walked from The Grove to Emerald Avenue. I couldn’t get a Grab ride and I figured if I got one I would wait for it to arrive and then end up in traffic then I would be stressed because I’m stuck and would be late for my meeting. So I decided to walk. It is a good thing that I was wearing a decent sando (undershirt) under my dressy blouse, jeans and a trusty pair of flats. So I stripped to my undershirt and joined other individuals who plied this path on foot everyday.
I love long walks and use this time to reflect. I realised a lot of us feel that we don’t have a choice on how things and the rest of our lives will play out. We would rather wait for things to happen since this is how things have always been. This is our default. Then we feel stuck as if left with no other option. It’s a vicious cycle.
But we can actually walk. We can choose to move. It isn’t the most comfortable thing to do but it gives us movement and sometimes any form of motion is progress. Yes it is hot outside and pollution just sucks the air out of us but accepting that the walk won’t be a leisurely one helps put things in perspective.
I walked alongside others who do this daily. I am reminded of the need to always find time to walk with the people who I would like to know and serve more. We walked past cars that were stuck in traffic. I was thankful I wasn’t one of those people stressed and fuming in their vehicles. All I needed to worry about were the real hazards to pedestrians – crazy drivers breezing through crossings, pickpockets and potholes.
As I was sweating profusely in my sando, I also reflected on one of my unique gifts. I have that ease of navigating across varied income segments. I can move from purok to posh, barok to baroque and in this case sando to sass. It must be my multilayered experience of growing up poor then studying amidst the elite and now finding myself immersed in circles that I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams have imagined I would be part of. Perhaps it’s also because I am genuinely curious about all sorts of people, from different walks of life.
Overall, I’m happy I chose to walk today. It was a great reminder to always choose that which will move you forward. In your movement you will find further clarity of direction and ultimately solace and strength.
PS: I just need to be better at estimating distance and time. I honestly thought it would be a 15-minute walk. I didn’t realize that it was a 3km stretch. I guess I was using race pace to estimate.
This week my tiny heart went through a beating. The highs and lows were a bit too much. I feel raw just reeling from the ebbs and flows. I’m honestly still getting used to this type of a ride but I see it as a practice of strengthening. The changes in heart frequency hones and conditions it. Framing it this way doesn’t make it any easier though.
To cap it all off, my Manila-bound flight was suspended in mid air for almost an hour today due to bad weather. The uncertainty was nerve wracking. As if I needed more of it in this already crazy life. Amidst all these I succumbed to open heart meditation practice for solace. It has been most helpful. I treat it as express self care made available simply by touching one’s heart center.
We all need to find these little life hacks that can serve as balm for our woes. It’s like a first aid kit that can provide ease to our effort. This self care tool box may include a mix of technique, people, practices that have been our go-to safe spaces. There is so much comfort in that.
I’m sitting quietly by myself at a coffee shop, mulling over the challenges that I have to hurdle past. Then a song with the line “you’ll figure it out” pipes in. The universe really does know how to talk to you and you just gotta stay keen and listen. I wonder though whether it will throw in an extra set of clues to help me in figuring things out.
What is clear is that I feel strongly about that which I have to fight for. The work that I do and the people who work with me are all worth struggling for. This clarity leaves me feeling reassured but also pressured to not let them down. It’s interesting that when one ceases to think only of the self, one gets closer to a self that is fuller and expansive. You realize you have the capacity to bear more and be more.
As I am called to figure things out, I know that I may have to do the hard things that I don’t want to do. I may have to ask for help and I am just not used to that. I have always been one to fend off for myself. Being independent and self-sufficient is how I’ve always operated in the world. It honestly is painful for me to seek assistance because I always have been one to figure things out. But maybe this time the way to sort out the path forward is to ask for help.
Today I felt that I was where I should be even as it felt so surreal at the same time. I felt at ease. I normally feel nervous, clammed up whenever I am tasked to speak in front. My tummy would be in knots before pitches or any public speaking gig. But today, as I prepared to face a roomful of people for a Women in Blockchain event that I helped put together, I felt at peace. I felt that I belonged and that I had a place in this space. It was comforting.
It also felt that things were so surreal because I never imagined I would be leading such a community given that I am just getting my feet wet in this industry, learning as much as I can every day. I am jumping right in, embracing it and just showing up as best as I can. What made it extra surreal was being part of a panel with someone considered as one of the most influential people in crypto. This never crossed my mind as a possibility.
This ease may be coming from a genuine interest in the women who are curious to see how they too can find their place in this space. One of the things I am super passionate about is helping people bring their fullest selves in the work that they do and I think these women came because they wanted to explore how their unique strengths can come into play in this new era of technology. Funny how the word Ikigai was brought into the conversation today. I believe I am at ease because I am slowly discovering my own ikigai and a big part of this is helping others discover theirs . Excited to see how this will unfold for me. In the mean time I’ll revel and stay at ease with the surreal:)
As an entrepreneur you are expected to hold polar things in your head- clarity/uncertainty, optimism/pragmatism, immediate/long term. I had a conversation with a few visiting business contacts around this topic and what I got out of it is a lesson that I have discovered as well in my running, yoga practice and the habits that I try to integrate in my day to day.
The ability to hold these contrasting realities springs from a practice of attention and intention. Paying attention to what is right here and right now. Being attentive, listening intently, noticing deliberately, being present. It is when we do so that we pick up the nuances of interactions, keenly understanding motivations and therefore guided accordingly on what courses of action to take next.
Intention is the filter by which we see these little decisions with. By keeping the vision of a future as a backdrop to our ever changing and shifting daily lives we remain steadfast. If it is just simply living in the moment, we lose ourselves. Our groundedness rises from knowing what we are striving towards, what we stand for and ultimately what is most essential to us. So attention and intention come hand in hand, each one breathing meaning and reason to the other, an alchemy to thrive in our crazy rollercoaster startup life.
I meant to write about this topic after a fireside chat that left me with a stirred spirit. But I let the reflections simmer as I went through a week of validating a business direction and facing another round of pitching and hustling. I also had a week full of meaningful conversations with people who are figuring out what makes them truly happy, some taking a pause to explore and others who are in the midst of living their life’s mission. It was indeed an interesting week.
The theme of drawing energy from one’s deepest desire remained in the background then it came front and center last night as I had a surprising conversation with someone I didn’t expect to have such a meaningful connection with. She spoke in length about her mission of creating pivotal moments of compassion by putting together her unique gifts, experiences with the context that calls for her to rise and show up every single day. It was a journey that started off with an existential question- why do I have to give up all that I’ve been working on just to go back home. It was yet another reminder for me that our most fundamental learnings come to us when we make our way to where it all started out.
So in light of this week, it begs to be asked, what is my deepest desire. I am happy that the answer has remained constant for the past year, and yet am mindful that this may evolve over time. What drives me is the desire to build an environment where people bring their fullest selves in the work that they do. I have seen this happen to me personally and to the people closest to me and so I want to make this true to more people. This is the source of my energy, starting with the people who I have invited to be part of what I am building at the moment. Everyday I choose to embody this genuine desire, shaping my decision and actions around it. Practice is the only way I know how to show up in the world and it is this same method I would do for the constant manifestation of my deepest desire.