“Self-observation is the first step of inner unfolding.” – Amit Ray
Have you ever tried to meditate before? It’s a very simple thing to do. It might seem like you really aren’t doing much, but you are building up muscles in your mind through this simple practice. Meditation can be done virtually anywhere, anytime, as long as you keep an open mind. One practice you can do prior to meditation in preparation is practicing mindfulness. I challenge each and every one of you to put aside ten to twenty minutes of your day, to practice mindfulness. For those of you that don’t know what that is or how to practice it let me enlighten you. It is when you enhance your senses and observation to really notice the little things going on around you. For instance, if you were eating a piece of cake, take in the smell of the aroma the cake is putting off, taste the soft, delicate, fluffy frosting over the spongy moist cake. The easiest time to practice mindfulness is while eating but you can really do it anywhere. It is just an example but hopefully got the point across. Once you are ready to start meditating, you’ll need to pick and focus your awareness on an anchor. Anything can be an anchor, you just need a place your mind can come back to and rest. Sensations, images, sounds, movements, or even counting are easy anchors you can use if you have trouble thinking of one. Once you have your anchor, you mind will inevitably begin to wander. This is completely normal, just bring your mind back to your anchor. Don’t think of a wandering mind as a failure, a wandering mind indicates that you have reached the moment of mindfulness. Each time you focus on or come back to your anchor you are building up your concentration. While building up your concentration, you also detach from your regular thought stream. That is the moment in which you let go and let your world around you dissipate into nothing. Now when you focus on your wandering mind, it gives you a little insight into your habits and patterns before returning back to your anchor. Over time you will really start to understand yourself and your own mind. If you consistently practice mindfulness and meditate regularly, stress will be reduced, you’ll become more aware, and your overall mood will be greatly enhanced.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck
Career vs job, can I do what I love but still get paid? For some people the answer is an easy yes. For others, that question circles around a lot of sacrifice and patience. How can you follow your goals, hopes, and dreams while still making money doing what you love? For a lot of people, their passions are not going to be immediately profitably. They are going to be upheld by everyday responsibilities. Whether it be something as simple as paying for rent, to paying off your debts, to something like getting married and starting your own family. So you ask yourself, what should you do? Should you suck it up and sell out for a job that may make you money, but you may not love what you’re doing? Or should you stick it out and scrounge on food living as minimalistic as you possibly can trying to make it in a field that you love? They are the questions you need to ask yourself. First things first, you need food to survive. If you have to suck it up for a bit to make enough money to feed yourself, do that. You just need to keep your eye on the goal and take the proper steps to get there. If you want to be a chef but need that “quick buck” you may get a job in the fast food business even if it’s just skimming the the surface of the industry. Take the small stepping stones in order to follow your passions. Passion drives success. It all really comes down to how badly you want it and if you will make the necessary sacrifices in order to achieve your passions. People need to realize that life isn’t just about money. It shouldn’t be about flashy cars, bejeweled jackets, or just a bunch of useless stuff. Always remember that money shouldn’t be our main focus. It should be about following your dreams and achieving your true passions in life.
Cooking is an art that many people think they have mastered. But ask yourself something first, can you really master something that has an infinite amount of variables and outcomes? The answer is a hard no. You may never be able to fully master the art of cooking, but through hard work and time you can sure get pretty damn good at it. When you’re cooking in the kitchen, you have the luxury of actual equipment and supplies. The sky is the limit when you are cooking so don’t hold back. You can venture online looking for recipes that suit what you are in the mood for or you can simply do what I usually do, wing it. I’ll visualize a dish that I had at either a restaurant or at someones house and head off to the store in search of ingredients. What you can do if you eat at a restaurant is bring a little notepad, write down what ingredients you can actually see or what tastes you might detect, and write down the ingredient that you think it is. I know it sounds kind of silly to do it like that but the mystery of what all the ingredients are and trying to recreate that is a good and fun way to learn the different textures and flavors of certain ingredients. If you eat at someones house, it doesn’t hurt to ask for the recipe. Gathering the ingredients is another good way to learn and experiment with. Following a recipe online step by step will get you your ultimate end product but while you’re at the store, pick up a few extra ingredients to put in your dish to make it your own.
Cooking with someone else is also a good way to learn different styles or good habits that they might pass on to you. I have this friend that is Filipino that I absolutely love to cook with because the style and flavors he uses differs so much from what I was taught. Cooking brings people together regardless of where you are from, you also get to learn and experience the different cultures and styles around the world that are just so fascinating and diverse from where ever you might be.
You also don’t necessarily need the best kitchen or the best equipment to make something amazing. As long as you have passion and you put that passion into what you are doing then it will start to show. Some of my best times cooking were actually out on the road or up in the mountains far from the best gear or supplies. When I go camping I always bring the following with me; my mini stove, and when I say mini I really do mean mini, my trusty spork, a cooking pot, some matches, a knife, and of course the ingredients for the dish I’m going to be preparing. That’s it, you really don’t need much when you’re out like that. Now when I’m out on a road trip a few of those items get a bit of an upgrade size wise like the stove for instance. But the essentials and basics will never change.