On Intention…

In some Arabic cultures, when someone gets something they have been hoping for, people say: “her intention was pure!” or “he must have pure will!” This signals to a deeply held cultural belief that the pure of heart will always be cared for by God. They do not receive miracles or luck by accident, but rather, due to their own goodness.

Intention isn’t everything… but it certainly plays a big role in shaping the lives we build for ourselves, as it feeds our actions. In pursuit of good friends and fun company, one will find himself out of luck if he himself is neither friendly nor fun. In pursuit of wealth, one will find herself penniless when she exercises greed towards others. In pursuit of love, one stands alone and disheartened if his primary intention is to take from love, and not give back to it.

If we are aware of our negative intentions and recognize the consequences, we can put them in check and gradually practice intentions that are better aligned with the path of happiness. But, if we decide to excuse our negative intentions, we cannot hope that nobody will notice, because they will. We cannot escape our intentions; we might as well plaster neon signs on our foreheads that tell it like it is.

There will always be people out there who are better off, and worse off, than you are. Be genuinely happy for their successes. Be genuinely sad for their pain. Be genuinely afraid for them when they get sick. Be genuinely excited for them when they get that promotion. If you are not genuine, they will be able to tell, and you will have missed the point of this life entirely.

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On Anger…

The great Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Anger deteriorates the self and destroys the soul. It may happen gradually, over the course of a lifetime, but the effects are permanent and damaging as ever.

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On Cooking What We Eat…

When I think about the good moments I spent with my grandmothers and mom, there is always a string of memories attached to the meals we shared. It’s interesting how common it is for people to associate very good traditional food with their grandmothers and mothers. Everyone seems to be especially nostalgic nowadays, in the prime of fast food and quick bites. Even the healthiest among us are often reaching for a low fat, low carb, high protein packaged donut… that expires in 2025. For lack of a better word… yuck.

The food we eat today endures some major struggles. The meat does not go from the farmer’s hand to the butcher’s to our kitchens anymore. By the time something reaches your dinner table, hundreds of people and machines have touched it, and it has probably travelled a long distance. For the conscientious individuals who care about what they put in their mouths, the last step of the process, cooking, is the first place to start regaining control.

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On Big Breaks…

Have you considered that, like everything else, money is energy? It is said that more money makes a person more of what s/he already is. If you come into significant wealth, you will see your values and thoughts reflected even more powerfully in your actions.

I often hear people say things like: “His nouveau-riche status spoiled him!” Or “She got a taste of money and then went after her siblings for a bigger chunk!” But, if you dig a little deeper, you will discover that he was always a little lazy, and she was always a little selfish.

Money is energy, and it makes you more of what you already are. This is why, before seeking it, we must be intentional about who we choose to be and what we value. Building wealth is not a one-shot deal, even for those who are blessed with a one-shot “win” or gift.

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On Laughter (out of place)…

Why do we laugh?

Because it’s funny… because we’re happy… because we are entertained… we laugh for all these great reasons.

We laugh when we are uncomfortable, hurt, confused, and angry too. We laugh when we don’t know what else to do.

I remember often laughing too hard and my mother reminding me that “smart girls don’t laugh for no reason.” Our cultural etiquette reserves laughter for the hysterically funny or hysterically unsettling experiences. It was not uncommon to hear someone tell a morbid joke and be greeted with fits of laughter: “Oh! How unfortunate to die in a car accident in this country. There are so many more creative ways to go about it!” Ha. Ha. Huh?

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On Energy…

Note: for the purposes of this writing, the term “negative” is used to signify something “not good” and the term “positive” is used to signify something “good”.

Energy cannot be made nor destroyed, but it can be transformed into another form. From a scientific standpoint, there is no disputing that everything is energy.

Have you ever walked into a room and felt overwhelmed by a very distinguished “vibe”? When someone tapped you on the shoulder, or entered your home, have you ever felt something new being added to your space?

A family friend of mine always proclaimed aloud that I should be aware of energy. At the time, while I had a gut feeling that he was right, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what he was trying to teach me. “If a place makes you feel sick to the stomach, don’t stay there, even if you think you have to,” he said. “If someone brings positive energy and light to you, cherish the friendship. If they bring negative energy and darkness, stay away. Choose your friends wisely,” he said. “Nothing can destroy energy, but you can transform it from negative to positive if you are aware of it,” he said.

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