Wardrobe Change

Have you ever caught yourself saying, today is going to be a miserable day and you were correct?  Have you ever predicted a great day and you were correct?  We may not have control over events in our daily life; however, how we react to events and people is under our control.  Our attitudes and thoughts accepted as “truth” drives our positive/negative experiences.

Attitudes and beliefs are like clothing.  If we are conscious of them being dirty or the wrong color we can change them to benefit us.  In the morning, improve your mood by doing something relaxing and calming before starting your day (clean clothing).  Inspect your thoughts and emotions (your perspective for the day -accessories).  Ask yourself, who would I be today without this thought?  What changes will I notice if I forgive someone?  What emotion can I express cleanly in person or in mediation?

Wardrobe Change

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.
The alarm is going off.
It is time to get dressed.

A huge wardrobe with many
clothes and accessories.

What shirt will I wear?
Anger, grief, apathy, pride, courage, acceptance, reason
or love?

What shoes will I step into?
Victim, martyr
or co-creator?

What glasses will I wear?
Rose colored, dark
or clear?

So many choices ….

Copyright. 2011 by Shervin Hojat

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Motivations Matters

Our motivation in doing things provides us clues regarding our consciousness and self-awareness.

To know ourselves, it is crucial to understand our own motivations in doing things – without judging or condemning ourselves.

  • Why do I want to live?
  • Why do I want to succeed?
  • Why do I go to the house of worship?
  • Why do I enjoy helping others?
  • Why do I want to have a family?
  • Why do I hate rejection?
  • Why do I do things that I do not enjoy doing?
  • Why do I conform?
  • Why do I rebel?

Such inquiries are intimate, curious and honest conversations with ourselves, which by themselves are very valuable.

In my inquiries, sometimes I have heard voice of a fearful child. Pointing me to certain conclusions and beliefs from my early childhood. This has been helpful in taking the next steps in my awareness.

I typically decide one the following:

1- Keep doing what I am doing.

 2- Stop doing certain thing because I have a wrong reason for doing it.

3- Still do the thing but change the motivation for doing it (not fear).

If you have not done so lately, I invite you to take a few minutes to become more intimate with yourself by finding out your motivations for doing things.

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

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Self-Acceptance

Last week, I pondered on a serious question.

Do I accept myself with all of my perceived “shortcomings”?

Have I accepted my ‘shortcomings’ such as: fear, impatience, need for connection, or supper sensitivity without judging myself as defective?

Is my acceptance of ‘shortcomings’ apparent in my daily actions and behavior?

How do we know if we have accepted ourselves?

One clue is how much attention and energy we put into getting approval from others. This may include not sharing our deep feelings (fear of judgement) and/or our opinions (offending others) with the primary focus of presenting an image of ourselves that the world wants us to see.

If we accept how we are at the moment, do we care if others accept us or not?

Let us look at some of the benefits of self-acceptance:

  • It is miserable being alone with someone (ourselves) who does not approve of who we are.
  • If we accept ourselves, then we feel we deserve to be happy.
  • If we accept ourselves, we do not demand others to change.
  • Self-acceptance creates a sense of peace, confidence and freedom.

I invite you to ponder on two questions.

Do you accept yourself?

How does self-acceptance manifest in your life?

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

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What Do You Need?

What do you need?

This is one of the most intimate questions we may ask ourselves or others.

It is a much different question than what are your plans for the future or questions to reflect on the past, which are mental exercises based on the past or the future.

If someone asks me, “what do you need?” the question brings me to the present moment – similar to when I take a few deep breaths.

Such a question puts our focus on actual needs rather than the means of obtaining them. It is easy to talk about plans for looking for a new job (a mean) rather than talking about our deep need for feeling appreciated and validated.

Sometimes, it is not easy to express our needs, especially if we had a traumatic experience in the past. What if we are judged or ridiculed? What if it makes us feel vulnerable and come across as weak?

It is easier to talk about our physical needs: I need a strong coffee. I need a good sleep. I am hungry.

It is much more difficult to talk about our emotional and spiritual needs: I need to feel validated. I need to feel secure. I need to feel connected. I need encouragement. I need to be heard.

Asking the right question is the first step in having meaningful and deep communication. The next step is a willingness to be present and to listen.

The first candidate to ask such a question is always start with ourselves.

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

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World Events

These days we may feel sad, angry, disappointed and helpless due to news of the events.

We also may feel inspired by the courage, bravery, sacrifice and resiliency of people mentioned in the news.

The other day, I realized my vibration was low and I was avoiding interacting with people.

I wanted to curl up in my bed and forget about everything. Curling up in bed may be a good short term solution, but what can be done for the longer term?

I can turn off the news and feel more peaceful.

Is it the right approach?  How long can I do it?

There are currently 17 active conflicts in the world, how many of those are brought to our attention?

How would we feel if we could follow up on all the pain and sufferings of people around the world?

How are we supposed to respond?

What can we do constructively help impacted people besides moral and financial support?

We need to address the issues at its root by showing courage and resolve.

All the current tyrants, at some point were mini tyrants, like weeds in a garden, we collectively allowed them to grow with our silence and indifference.

We need to become aware of potential big tyrants and not allow them to take deep roots.

‘You are all and all is you.’ If that is true, then we need to start with ourselves to change the world for the better.

The kind of energy we put in this world has an impact on the collective.

We need to keep our own mini-tyrants at bay by our courage and diligence!

We need to observe how we respond to disagreements and differences of opinions and approaches in our own lives.

Do we take a broad approach in resolving our differences? Or just like big tyrants, we want sources of agitations to be removed by any means necessary?

Do we  listen to the other approaches, or by using mind numbing labels we stop all conversations, and in the name ‘peace’ we declare war on ourselves and others?

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

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Partners in the Tango of Life

We often want to eliminate the bad and the ugly. However, the experience of good and desirable things in life are mostly possible due to the existence of their opposite.

The bad and ugly is like a flashlight in a dark night. If they did not exist, we would not distinguish the opposites.

Perhaps that is why sages consider everything in life as good.

In our daily life, we need to be aware of the above reality and do not miss the big picture.

In a movie, without bad characters, there will not be any heroes and the movie will be very boring.

All the good and bad are like actors in a movie of life. Both are required for a full-filling and lively experience.

It is not that we want to encourage and propagate the bad and ugly, rather being aware of their respective roles.

We appreciate the day because of the existence of the night.

We appreciate being full because we have felt hunger.

We appreciate our comfortable bed because we have been uncomfortable on a cold floor.

We feel happiness because we have felt sadness.

We appreciate our health because we have experienced illness.

We long to be together because we have experienced the pain of separation.

We appreciate loyalty because we have experienced betrayals.

We listen carefully because we have experienced not being heard.

We appreciate peace of mind because we have experienced chaos of thoughts.

We rally for peace because we have experienced wars and conflicts.

We seek education because we have experienced the effects of ignorance.

We laugh loudly because we have experienced crying in silence.

We are kind because we have experienced mean-ness.

We seek freedom because we have experienced being in a mental or physical cage.

We give because we have experienced the gift of receiving.

We do not take setbacks seriously, because we have experienced the temporary nature of things.

We share our love because we have experienced what it is like to be in-different.

We savor our lives because we are aware of the shortness of the movie.

In the tango of life, two partners are required: the Opposites.

Both are equal and needed partners to raise our awareness and evolve our souls.

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

 

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What is Your Focus on?

How we see the world, and where our focus is on, determines how we interact with the world.

Our perspective determines our thoughts and actions.

We can observe people and most importantly ourselves to get insights about our perspectives.

Consider observing your thoughts, reactions and actions for a day.

Is your focus on lack or abundance?

Is your focus on possibilities?

Is your focus on living or not dying?

Is your focus and motivation based on love or revenge?

Is your focus on seeing faults or appreciating the strengths?

Is your focus on security or freedom?

Is your focus on surviving or thriving?

Is your focus on finding the truth or being right?

Is your focus on appearance or accepting what is underneath?

Our perspective is like using the camera on our phone.

If we use our camera only in zoomed in or zoomed out mode, we will miss many things, and will have a narrow view of what is possible to experience.

Copyright @2022 by Shervin Hojat

 

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Traveler

Pack lightly!
you are just a traveler

Pack lightly!
Do not pack
anger, fear, past hurts, judgement, and restless-ness

Pack what brings you joy
Pack what brings you laughter 

Pack what brings sparkle in your eyes
Pack what accompanies you in a dark lonely night

There will be times
that you travel alone on unbeaten paths

There will be times
that you will have travel companions on your travels

Travelers, at first sight, who you feel you knew them before
Travelers who gradually touch your heart again

Travelers who you enjoy their friendship
Travelers who help you feel comfortable to be vulnerable

Travelers like you, who travel lightly
Travelers with whom
you can laugh, cry, dance, be silly, talk and get lost in the moments

Pack lightly!
Pack only love, and gratitude
Happy Travels

 

                                       Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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What Does it Mean to Do Your Best?

What does it mean to do your best and go with the flow?

Does it mean to accept whatever is in front of you and deal with it?

Most of the time the answer is YES and sometimes the answer is NO!

Let me describe two scenarios that I experienced last week.

I had a plan to have a relaxing visit two places in the afternoon.  Due to uncontrollable events, there was a delay in my start time. I decided to go with the flow, which meant accepting reality.  I decide which of those two places I need to visit that gives me the most joy. I was not upset about the change of plans. I decided to make the best of the time I had.

Lately, I have been dealing with a tight upper back mainly due to weight lifting. This situation was impacting my posture in my dance. I was doing my best to be aware of my posture and that was a struggle during dance. I was going with the flow, tolerating the discomfort, because I thought this is the price I need to pay for getting fit.

The other day I was talking with a friend and I mentioned that I like to see if I can do anything to help with my tight back. He suggested that I do some breath work.

Not knowingly, with that conversation I challenged a paradigm that tolerating constant pain is “doing my best”. An hour later, a thought came to me to try a strengthening device I had in the corner of my apt to use it a bit differently. I tried it and the pain was reduced by 95% after two minutes!

That night, I had one of my best and relaxed dances!

A reminder, if doing your best is filled with pain and suffering, perhaps you need to challenge your paradigm that nothing can be changed. You may be surprised how quickly your paradigm shift may give you the desired results.

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Feeling of Death and Re-birth

Have you ever felt that you have died and then are re-birthed?

I experienced the duality of two feelings at its peak last weekend.

I have had my belongings in storage for the past six years in Austin, Texas.

Last weekend, I travelled to Texas, with help of my son, to totally empty the storage in Austin.

Several days before my trip to Texas, I felt sad! I knew I had to get rid of items that had memories attached to them, some of them for decades.

I felt that part of me was dying! After all, who am I without my belongings, books, and work memories?

At the same time, I have not used what I have stored in the storage for at least six years and it seemed silly to be upset about letting them go.

The day that I was emptying the storage, it felt like Shervin had died and I was deciding what to keep and what to give away.

It reminded me of the time, I was deciding what to keep when my father passed away.

I decided anything that does not bring me joy and is a burden, it needed to go!

The hardest thing for me was over 600 books that I decided to sell or give away! I convinced myself that people can enjoy the books if they are not kept in storage.

Then it became easier to get rid of racquetball trophies, toastmaster ribbons, carpets and many work related items.

Although all the trophies and ribbons were the right thing at the time for my journey, they had now served their purpose.

After two days, the entire storage was emptied.

I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment! I felt free and alive!

I was not burdened by things of the past anymore!

I no longer had any items to display my accomplishments, but I had my smile and feeling of being content, which does not require any physical storage and can be shared with others freely.

On the way back, on the plane while feeling my sore muscles, I pondered, “What are beliefs, habits, activities or relationships that are no longer serving me, are a burden and I need to consider letting go?”

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

 

 

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Freedom and Safety

We choose between freedom and safety every day.

Some of the reasons for choosing safety can be our current responsibilities, our health, our upbringings or fear of the unknown.

As we mature and our responsibilities change, we may lose the fear of the unknown and enjoy the journey into the mystery.

Fear of the unknown is amplified when we are not present and are focused on anything but the present.

When we are not present and attempting to continuously live in the past or control the future, we lose our freedom and the potential to grow!

Imagine, if one attaches weights to an eagle, the eagle cannot soar in the sky freely and live his/her potential.

Some of the weights that hamper us to soar like an eagle are our ego, judgement, attachment to outcomes, and being out of touch with our capabilities.

If you feel that you are not free, you have had a good reason for taking actions to limit your freedom. However, that does not mean the situation needs to continue.

You are now wiser and have lived through your worst fears and have survived them!

Remember that the first time you enter a dark room (unknown), is the most difficult time, especially if you are projecting your fears into it.  After a couple of times, you may easily navigate through the dark room with ease.

Reflect about the times when you were inspired, relaxed and creative.

Were you present?

Did you feel free?

Were you attached to a certain outcome?

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

 

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What are you focusing on?

What have you been preoccupied with and focusing on lately?

This is a worthwhile question to ask every day.

A good friend of mine sent me a lively tango video of two cute elderly couples dancing tango in an open area.

That video of their dance brought big smile to my face.

I later pondered, “What is most unique about the couple?”

The first thing that came to my mind was their focus!

Their focus and pre-occupation was on spending quality time dancing freely.

They were not performing for anyone, but performing together playfully.

The couple could have easily put their focus on many other ‘real’ things (their age, worry about future, health, …) that could have taken away their joy instantly.

Most likely, they are healthy and can dance at such an age, because they have a habit of focusing on what they can control and matters the most to them.

It is easy to lose track of our focus, if we are stuck in self-pity, constantly thinking of what is wrong or listening to fearful news.

If we constantly feel angry, are resentful or are fearful, we most likely have a wrong focus, and a change of focus and change of course is required.

Changing of course can be sparked by asking a simple question and waiting for an answer.

“What can I do today, to bring some joy and laughter to myself and to people around me?”

Maybe the answer you receive is to “count your blessings”.

Or, “go dance in the street” or “go dance in your kitchen”.

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Two Mantras

Have you been in situations that your mind was racing and you were offended about something that someone had said or done?

How did you resolve such situations?

The way that I have resolved such situations lately is doing two things after taking a deep breath:

  • Repeat two mantras few times
  • Go over list of  people and things that I am grateful for (for two minutes)

The mantras that I learned from my teacher may shock you! I would have been shocked if I had heard it two years ago, as well.

The mantras are: “I am nothing. I know nothing!”

One may ask, why do you say such a thing while almost everyone has issues with self-confidence?

These mantras challenge our “ego” which has been causing us suffering.

At first, like anything that challenges the status quo, you may feel resistance repeating the mantras.  It will get easier as you will experience their benefits.

Let us dive into the sentence “I am nothing”. What does it challenge?

  • There are situations that we identify with a role as who we are (good father/mother, engineer, spiritual person). We try to defend the role and we get offended when our identity is challenged.
  • There are situations that we identify as bad/weak/unworthy and we judge ourselves viciously.

The word, “I am nothing”, energetically is like having mud all over our body and taking a hot shower. It has a cleansing effect that causes one to drop any identity (good or bad).

Next, let us dive into the sentence, “I know nothing”. What does it challenge?

  • It reminds us to pay attention to our assumptions which can be wrong.
  • It reminds us that our reality is based on our perception and beliefs.
  • It reminds us to be open-minded, curious and humble.

My experience of using these two mantras is freedom, peace and calmness!

Our mind stops racing, when there are no more roles to defend and there are no more ‘expectations’ to meet or demand.

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Welcome Home!

In many traditions holding on to anger, hate, jealousy, judgement, regret, worry, self-pity, and shame are prohibited. Why?

Because it hurts the person physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Most of us have forgotten our natural state of peace and joy, therefore, we need reminders and rewards.

We can read books about love and how beautiful it is. But, unless we allow ourselves to experience it, it stays as a mental concept.

The same applies to not holding on to negative emotions. Unless we experience the absence of those sticky emotions, it stays as a mental concept.

You may ask, how can one let go of hurt or disappointments?

At first, it is not easy! It is like letting a piece of you die (death of ego). It is painful. Over time, practice of letting go becomes easier and easier (start with small steps and celebrate your successes).

This is not much different than going to the gym. At first, it is hard and sometimes painful. Over time, you feel better about yourself and you look forward to feeling alive in your body.

As we practice letting go (does not mean approving behaviors of others), we feel more joy and peace. This at first, may show up for 10 seconds at a time! The duration will increase dramatically over time.

Letting go is an ultimate form of self-love. Wouldn’t you want to feel calm, joyful, loving, more productive and alive regardless of chaos around you?

As you keep practicing letting go of sticky emotions, without judgment or blame, a gradual shift happens in you.

You will start feeling joyful without any complex reasons!  A sip of coffee, a chirp of a bird, touch of a tree, hearing a song, feeling a fresh cool breeze, a hug, a text may burst out the joy within you.

At first, you may ask yourself, “What is wrong?  Why am I so happy? I have not accomplished anything this morning!  Shouldn’t I be more ‘successful’ to feel this happiness?”

Nothing is wrong and many things are right.

You now regularly tap into the sweet nectar of joy and peace within.

Congratulations and welcome home!

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Your Life is Precious

You have heard that life is precious and we need to appreciate it.

But why, if most of the time we feel less than great about our lives.

It is because we have taken many things for granted.

Have you thought about odds of you being born? Your parents, grandparents and great grandparents and ancestors had to exist on a suitable planet like Earth to start their lives. They stayed alive despite all the wars, famines and diseases. They met the right person at the right place and time, they liked each other enough and conceived a child who survived childhood. Isn’t your existence unique and worthy of appreciation?

How about a butterfly that you see and take a picture of? Out of 100 butterfly eggs only 1 or 2 become butterfly.  A butterfly needs to be at the right place and time for you to see and take a picture. Isn’t this unique and worthy of appreciation?

How about your pet that you love dearly? How many things had to go right before that unique animal to be alive and stay in your life? Isn’t this unique and worthy of appreciation?

No matter how you are feeling at this moment, many things had to happen to make this feeling possible and so many things had to go right or not so right. How many dangers and disease did you bypass since childhood in order to be here today? What you are feeling by itself is a miracle and is very precious.

Look at your body and how many things working automatically which you really have no control over them. How many things needed to go right so you can wake up this morning and be able to read this article?

That is why your life and your experience are very unique.

You are very unique and the life you are living is very precious.

Copyright @2018 by Shervin Hojat

 

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How To Unstuck Yourself?

If you want to unstuck yourself. , you need to take a small uncomfortable step.

I like to share two of my experiences when I have felt stuck, and how small uncomfortable steps unstuck my situations.

  • I was debugging my software and I had a deadline. I worked on it during the day and at night and the issue was not resolved. I decided to go to bed and deal with it when I wake up. Next day, I woke up at 4 AM with preoccupied thoughts of how that issue could be resolved. I attempted to find out the cause of the software bug for another 45 minutes and it was not successful. I was stuck and I felt frustrated. I realized that my peace of mind and energy is being compromised. I thought of asking for help from a co-worker. But I felt very uncomfortable. I need to be independentWhat if the issue is something simple? What if it is something that I should know?

    My peace of mind was more important to me than potential perception of others. I decided to take the uncomfortable step. I started crafting an email to ask for help. All of sudden an idea came to me where to look for the cause of the bug which solved the problem. I had to take the first uncomfortable step to get unstuck.

 

  • Few days later, I was debugging another issue and the source of the bug was not obvious. I was stuck!  I was trying to use my will power to solve the problem. I was telling myself, I must fix this issue and then I can go for a walk. After a few minutes of struggle for answers I realized that my energy is depleted. I decided to let the problem stay unresolved and go for a relaxing walk.

    While walking on a nature trail, all of sudden the line of code that had that issue showed up in my head. The issue was solved. I was no longer stuck! I had to take the first uncomfortable step to get unstuck.

Do you feel stuck at some aspects of your life? What is it that you are dreading?

– Is asking for help embarrassing?

– Is letting go of control difficult?

– Are you avoiding feeling certain emotions?

Be kind to yourself, value your wellbeing and challenge your beliefs.

Take a first uncomfortable step, you may get unstuck in a magical way.

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

 

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Why Me?

Am I being punished?

We can understand why ‘bad’ people may go through hardships. They may deserve it!

We do not understand why good and loving people go through hardships. It does not seem deserving.

The hardships we may go through is not a punishment, it is part of the evolution of our soul on this planet.

What makes a diamond rare and precious, is its character developed due to experiencing hardship (high temperature and pressure).

What makes a soul beautiful is the degree of its evolution.

Evolution of soul requires, letting go of attachments and false beliefs which can create hardship due to our resistance.

The more evolved a soul is, the less of the hardship may be internalized.

Attaining anything worthwhile, requires some form of hardship.

If you are faced with hardship, be kind and gentle with yourself, be steadfast, it is part of the evolution of your soul.

Perspectives on hardship from two of my favorite teachers:

  • “Where there is Ruin, there is a hope for treasure.” ~ Rumi
  • ” Braving obstacles and hardships is nobler than retreat to tranquility. The butterfly that hovers around the lamp until it dies is more admirable than the mole that lives in a dark tunnel.” ~Khalil Gibran

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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What If

We all dream and sometimes can remember our dreams.

Some of our dreams are as real and vivid as our awake life.

Some of our dreams are terrifying and some of them are yummy and joyful.

It is fun to dream especially when we do not follow any rules, and are not bound to the Earth’s gravity.

Sometimes, in our dreams, we are aware that we are dreaming. In such a situation, we are not terrified, we are rather curious and playful.

Think back to a time that you had a scary dream.

How did you react when you woke up from your terrifying dream?

Weren’t you happy that it was just a dream?

Did you want to be aware that you were dreaming while in your dream?

I would!

What if the life that you are experiencing, is just a dream and you have not yet awakened from your sleep?

Would you deal with difficult situations in your life differently, if you know you are experiencing your life in a dream?

If this life is a dream:

Who is the dreamer?

How well do you know the dreamer?

 

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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The Roles We Play

We all play different roles in the cast of life as part of our becoming.

All the roles we play are temporary and they will end someday.

The result of roles we play, transformations occur within us (positive or not).

Some of the roles we play are by our choice, and some are not.  Environment of some of our roles may not be our choice either.

For example, we all have to play the role of a child (no choice), with a varying family environment.

Some of our roles may be:

  • We play the role of a child who receives lots of love, a little or no love.
  • We play the role of a famous person, average person or an unknown person.
  • We play the role of a parent whose child performs great or performs less than average at school.
  • We play the role of an individual, who may experience good or bad health.

It is important we do not allow our temporary roles, transform us in a negative way!

Our negative transformation happens when we attach our identity (who we are) to our roles. This is when our ego and programming kicks in a high gear.

For example:

  • We may play the role of a person who struggles with finances, but we cannot allow it as a result of identifying with the role to turn us bitter and blaming.
  • We may play the role of advocate for justice, but cannot allow it as a result of identifying with the role to turn us into an unjust person.
  • We may play a role of advocating for peace, but cannot allow as a result of identifying with the role to turn us into a combative individual.
  • We may play a role of helping humanity, but cannot allow as a result of identifying with the role turn us into an uncaring and arrogant individual.

Whatever temporary roles we are playing, whether we like them or not, can help us become a better or a bitter version of us.

Humility, honesty, acceptance during our role playing are our allies in the journey of experiencing a better version of us.

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Reflecting On Valentine’s Day

It is very desirable to be able to share care and love with those who we enjoy their company.

However, we need to keep in mind the person who is responsible for making us feel loved, is ourselves!  It is the nature of our thoughts, beliefs and actions that dictate how we may feel on this day or any other day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sharing a poem from years ago:

A day
with many expectations.

A day that you are expected
to show love.

A day with the expectation
of receiving love.

A day when love is measured
on how well you can afford things.

It is great to be appreciated and remembered on this day.

There are 364 other days that you may crave love and attention.

Who is supposed to love you and make you feel good inside all year long?

What kind of flower will bring you constant joy all year long?

What kind of chocolate will bring you constant joy all year long?

Who knows your needs the best?

Who cares about you the most?

Who can bring you joy all year long?

Do not search for the prince or princess out there.

Look in the mirror. It is YOU!

Have you cared about yourself today?

Have you gone within, to know yourself better today?

Have you told your inner child, I love you, today?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 Copyright . 2008 Shervin Hojat

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Junk Food of Soul

Do you consume junk food?

If no, how do you manage staying off junk food?

When I was younger I used to consume junk food.

Later on, I realized that eating junk food makes me agitated.

I am no longer attracted to junk food even though they are prominently displayed everywhere in the stores. I prefer having my state of calm.

We not only feed our body junk food, we also feed our soul junk food.

Junk food of the soul, also brings down our vibration and keeps us stressed, angry and anxious.

Junk food of the soul is sticky. Like a virus, it needs a host to survive while replicating itself.

Junk food of soul, is our repeated thoughts and beliefs that keep playing in our head (we host and feed them) while lowering our vibration.

Since we think those thoughts are us, we listen to and take in every thought as truth and relive it.

How many times a day do we listen to and take in thoughts like: “I am not lovable”, “I am a failure”, and ”my future is gloomy”?

Such thoughts are junk food of the soul on a 24×7 binge.

How to reduce feeding junk food to our soul?

  • Become aware of thoughts that lower your vibration; when you are agitated take time to find out what thoughts (junk food) caused that.
  • Mediate; listen to relaxing music; walk in nature; anything that naturally puts you in a state of calm. This is your true nature and needs a reference point as a reminder.
  • Consider your repeating stale thoughts as advertisements; they are planted to manipulate you; ignore them!  You are not your thoughts; you do not have any obligations to those thoughts.

How are you going to nurture your soul today?

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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As IF

What can we do to positively impact this chaotic world?

Letting go (fear, anger, …) , connecting to our essence and being in the moment is the most effective way to be a source of  joy, love and understanding to ourselves and others.

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As If

Sing as if you are the most elegant songbird.

Dance as if you are freed.

Smile as if you see your beloved.

Cry as if you are a spring feeding a thirsty plant.

Cook as if you have an honored guest.

Breathe as if the last breath you want to remember.

Observe as if the first time your eyes see.

Listen as if you do not know anything.

Smell the flower as if she has a secret message for you.

Give as if there is no end to its source.

Receive as if the Sun is warming you up on a chilly day.

Internalize the sunset as if your soul stores the best images.

Hug as if it is the last hug to remember.

Stay still so you can feel the oneness.

Listen to silence so you can hear the music.

Love so you can experience yourself!

Copyright @2021 by Shervin Hojat

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Two Weeks

With holidays, there is always a question: what are you planning to do the next two weeks?

Last week, a friend asked me that question.

I did not have a fixed plan. I could work or take some time off, take it easy, watch movies and listen to podcasts.

Later, I pondered, would I do anything differently if I had two weeks left on this planet?

The answer was ‘yes’! 

I wanted to appreciate all the people (alive or dead) who have left a lasting impression on me.  This included family members, teachers and friends who I have not talked with regularly.

I wanted to let them know that their smiles, laughter, kindness and care had made a difference to me. What made them special to me was their presence of heart, while they were going through their own big challenges.

I also wanted to drop my anger and disappointment toward the few people who I was not excited to be around. Mentally, I know they are here to help me grow. Emotionally, there is something still unresolved.

I made a list of people who have enhanced my life experience. I realized how blessed my life has been.

Each time that I updated the list, I felt a sense of deep gratitude and richness in my life.

For the next two weeks, I have a plan to execute that is deeply meaningful to me.

Would you do anything different in the next two weeks, if any, if you had two weeks left on this planet?

Happy Holiday!

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Our Relationships

All of our joys and hurts are due to our relationships!

Why would anyone want to be in a hurtful relationship? It does not logically make sense.

Take an inventory of your hurtful relationships in the past (or at the present).

What were the common themes?

  • Were you able to express yourself freely?
  • Did you feel safe to be yourself?
  • Did you feel that you were respected and valued?
  • Did your vibration diminish with such interactions?

Why do we stay in such a relationship?

Fear of not surviving (economically, emotionally or physically), hunger for positive validation and familiarity are major factors that cause us to stay in toxic relationships.

Think about an abusive work situation. Think about a friend or spouse who talks down to you.

Do you have peace of mind and high vibration in such a situation? What is the reason for staying in such a relationship?

This situation is not exclusive to our friends or work.

There are deeper relationships that take away our joy and peace and we do not question them.

These deeper relationships are like old friends that we have known and have trusted for decades!

Take a look at your  relationship with beliefs that “you are a failure”, “you are not lovable”, “you are not good” or “you are this or that”.

These beliefs are like toxic friends who may call you any time of day and night and repeat their mantra.

After listening to them, you most likely will feel miserable, sad and angry.

You have accepted abuse of such old “friends” for decades. Why?

The other abusive relationships are with our additions.  Addiction becomes our companions who comfort us  at first and dim our lights gradually.

Some of such friends (addictions) who we believe we cannot live without are: food, drugs, hatred, need to control, self-pity, seeking approval, self-importance, drama, jealousy, gossip and blame.

We know their friendship is not good for us (for sure for others) but we allow them to sabotage our spiritual growth.

At the root of our abusive relationship is our relationship with our “ego”.

This is another old friend who can be very mean and we listen to its mis-guided advice constantly.

This friend was supposed to give us information without judgement. Now it expresses its opinions and demands to be in charge.

How does this ego friend ego talk and treat you?

If we are seeking peace of mind and joy, we need to examine ALL of our relationships that we cannot live without.

We then need to explore the space within our heart, free of the need for limiting/toxic relationships, to experience the truth of who we are.

Spiritual growth is a journey that requires being gentle with oneself and no self-judgement.

During your journey, be aware of friendly voices who will try to sabotage your progress.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Forgiveness: An Act of Self-love

Let go and become peaceful.

Letting go of certain events and behaviors are easy, but some are not.

We can easily let go of the behavior of a stranger than a friend or a family member.

Why? Because we have invested more time in such relationships. As a result, we have more expectations.

We may verbally express that we want to let go of disappointment and hurt, but such feelings do not leave us alone. Sometimes we even forget how to let go.

I had such an experience a few days ago. I felt angry, hurt and disappointed for several days.

I could not mediate and focus. When I woke in the middle of night, my mind reminded me of the hurt and disappointment. It was difficult to go back to sleep.

I was frustrated, exhausted and upset with myself. Why cannot I let this go?

Day later, at 5 AM, while I was struggling with my thoughts, something in me said, forgive!

The light came on for me!

What do I have to lose?  Can I be more miserable than now?

As soon as I decided to forgive, my relentless thoughts stopped. Emotional storms within me subsided dramatically and I felt calm. 

I had no need to tell other people that I have forgiven them. It was not about them. It was about me and my energy. 

By allowing myself to forgive others, I have allowed to forgive myself!  

I no longer had to carry the burden of hurt with me and relive it. I also no longer had a need to blame others or myself for the hurt.

Later, I felt light and I felt empathy for others who I felt who have hurt me.

I realized that others may hurt me without knowing or awareness. I also know I have hurt others as well.

I realized others may not forgive me right away. It is not under my control. But I could forgive myself and the situation. 

Think of all those nagging thoughts you may have in meditations, during the day or when you wake up in the middle of night. Will forgiveness of yourself and others release those gooey thoughts and associated suffering?

I have experienced that when we energetically forgive, others also forgive us much easier. It is an amazing dynamic.

Forgiveness is a bitter medicine that we may not want to take at first. It may take time. However, it is the right medicine for our soul, mind and body. It is one of the best ways of expressing care and self-love.

The beautiful truth is that our freedom from the past hurts ultimately does not depend on anything outside of us. We are in charge of our freedom and peace through forgiveness.

Some quotes regarding forgiveness:

  • Grace comes to forgive and then forgive again. ~Rumi
  • Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.  ~Buda
  • To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it. ~Confucius
  • It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~Francis of Assisi


Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat 

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Survival Mode

Have you wondered why people do things that are not in their best interest?

They may even agree that their behavior is not healthy and still do it!

It is like something else drives them.

What if this driving force is the need for “survival”?

If you are lost in a jungle and you feel that you are in danger (real or imaginary), a sense of survival kicks in. You will behave differently and will feel very tense.

Need for survival (avoiding death) may not be just physical. It may be emotional as well. Both of them feel similar.

Some triggers for survival may be previous traumas or ancestral memories in our DNA.

Let us assume that we deeply want to be valued because the feeling of not being valued/worthy scares us enough that we believe our survival is at risk.

We may believe that the best way to be valued is to make lots of money or become famous (at the expense of our health and relationships).

We also agree moderation in work is healthy, but rarely do it in action.  We may even get upset at our own behavior for not doing the right thing.

It is very frustrating and demoralizing. Why is there a discrepancy between our actions and words?   

We are in survival mode!!!

It does not matter if we agree working for long hours is not good for us.

By trying to reduce work hours (vacation or a different job), we may temporarily eliminate the symptom.  

We need to deal with the root cause and not just the symptoms to eliminate the situation.

Taking Tylenol for an infected tooth is a temporary remedy of symptom. The root cause fix still needs to be addressed.

In my opinion, depression, rage, hate, co-dependent behaviors, taking and many forms of addictions are all symptoms. They need to be corrected and root cause needs to be addressed as well.

Why? Because we are still in survival mode, and fear is driving our actions/inactions.

How do we know we are in survival mode?

Being constantly restless (busy) or feeling numb and not enjoying our lives can be the clues.

Before we judge others’ undesirable behaviors or our own, we need to understand most of the undesirable behaviors are symptoms.

This does not justify the behavior, but provides understanding toward its root cause.

If you are frustrated with some of your behaviors, be understanding and kind to yourself.  Often, your survival skills also become your strength.

You are doing your best based on your current beliefs! What triggers a sense of survival in you is real at this moment.

The most effective way to eliminate the symptoms is to understand the root cause (belief/trauma).  The timing for everyone is different. When we are ready we can address it.

If helping others too much is your concerning symptom. Do not spend all your energy on avoiding helping others. It will sap your joy and energy.

Focus most of your energy on understanding yourself and changing the belief(s) that cause that symptom while managing the symptom.

Maybe you need to question/change your belief on what makes you valuable (root cause) and then can help others by choice.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Do You Love Yourself?

For some of us, this topic may be an abstract subject or be considered a selfish discussion.

Let us consider a loving relationship among two people.

What are some outcomes of such a relationship?

• They bring the best in each other
• They attempt to reduce pain and stress in each other
• They listen to each other
• They enjoy being together
• They forgive each other
• They show love in action
• They do not blame each other
• They respect each other

Now if you love yourself, shouldn’t the above outcomes be present for you as well?

• Do you bring the best in you?
o How often are you angry or worried during the day?
o How often do you feel joy and smile?

• Do you attempt to reduce pain and stress in you?
o Do you take time to meditate or relax?
o Do you take care of your needs?
o Do you eat the food that nurtures you?
o Do you draw a boundary on how much people and outside events may trigger you?

• Do you listen to and acknowledge your needs and feelings?

• Do you enjoy being by yourself?
o Are you busy all the time?
o Is sitting silent with yourself a torture?

• Do you forgive yourself and others?
o Remember if you stay angry, the first person that feels the anger is you

• Do you show your love by action?
o Do you buy yourself a gift with joy or you only do it for other people?
o Do you try to reduce pain in others while yourself is in pain?
o Do you ridicule or diminish what you feel?

• Do you blame everything on others?
o Blame only takes your power away and puts you at mercy of the behavior of others.

• Do you respect yourself?

When we love ourselves, we can love others freely and with ease.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Be True to Yourself

For a minute, imagine that you are a small Sun.

What are your roles and responsibilities?

Will you stop shining if you are surrounded by dark clouds?

Will you please others at the expense of deviating from your essence?

Will you be anyone other than yourself?

Imagine what the Sun in our solar system goes through.

Some people get skin cancer due to over exposure to its rays.

Some people enjoy its beauty.

Animals and plants rely on its energy to live.

Some people hide from its heat and may get sick or die from its intensity.

At some locations, some people want the Sun to be cooler or hotter.

Does Sun feel guilt and shame due its undesirable impact on others?

Does Sun feel proud and arrogant due to all its life giving?

Will Sun’s behavior change if everyone one the planet disapproves of its presence?

Remember the essence of who you are.

You are light.

You are love.

Do not dim your light to fit in or be accepted.

Be true to yourself, no matter what happens around you.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Preserving Your High Vibration

These days, with unusual chaos and uncertainty, it is becoming obvious that keeping a high vibration is requirement for thriving at spiritual, mental and physical level.

High vibration is a natural state when you are connected to your core and essence (knowing self). This usually requires regularly sitting in silence and observing your thoughts.

Imagine you are watching a movie. It maybe a scary and upsetting. Maybe there are some events portrayed that are not fair.

You are watching the movie, but it does not need to become your reality and allowing the movie to zap your life force.

The movie will end sooner or later. The residual impact on you is very crucial.

It is like type of food you choose to eat. It may have a lasting impact on you.

Does spending your energy and attention on that movie serve you?

Some people get a bag of popcorn and watch the movie. Some people watch the movie and complain how disgusting it is.

Some people walk away from watching the movie in the middle or do not get engaged in watching it at all.

That ‘right’ choice (in the moment) comes from levels of self-awareness.

Every day we engage in many movies with different actors at home or outside home. These movies will have different outcomes depending on our quality of interactions and our state of being.

Imagine you observe somebody drops a trash on the floor of a nature trail.

Definitely, it is something irresponsible to do. You also do not know state of mind of that person.

You, as nature lover, are correct if you want to fix the situation.

Your choices may be:

1- You may go and confront the person; lecture them on how irresponsible they are (how good you are indirectly).
2- You may decide to ignore the situation, walk away, hope someone else will deal with it.
3- You may decide to pick up the trash and move on.

All the above three options maybe the correct thing to do depending on level of your awareness.

What are the key question to ask in such a situation?

• What is my state of being? Loving? Agitated?
• What is my end goal?
• What action(s) keep my vibration high?
• What does my heart say?

Lately, I have observed that I have given options of being right or keeping my vibration high.

At first, it is very difficult to allow someone keep doing something ‘unfair’, ‘wrong’ or ‘intentional’ and do not engage with them.

Usually many of such things are trivial with lots of unresolved charges within us (toilet seat, lane change, gossip, blame …).

The ultimate question is to ask: if I engage in a certain way, how will my vibration be impacted?

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Love and Respect

Do love and respect go together?

Can you love yourself and have no respect for self?

Can you love  the environment and not to respect it by damaging it?

Can you love someone and not show respect by not being present with them?

What are different aspects of respect?

  • Listening
  • Being present
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Help
  • Kindness
  • Being considerate
  • Freedom to choose

If  I have issues with other people respecting me and my boundaries, then perhaps I need to re-evaluate my own self-respect.

Do I  listen to myself?

I am present with myself?

Do I have empathy for myself?

Do I treat myself kindly?

Am I honest with myself on how I feel?

Do I give myself freedom to choose?

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Change and Chaos

How do we respond in times of change and chaos?

Put it mildly, many things are uncertain. Many of pillars that we rested our peace of mind on may be gone or crumbling.

We may dread watching the news. Our friends may not be as social as before. We may feel emotionally and physically exhausted. We may feel lonely.

What we are going through is a catalyst to know ourselves and grow. 

Look back at past few months. You have made it so far. You have adapted. You are stronger as the result.

We do not have control on many of the events. We have control on how we respond.

The best form of response is being in high vibration as much as possible.

The following reminders has helped me to raise my vibration which I hope they help you too:

  • Find things to be grateful about.  Remember our lives are about opportunities to grow and learn.
  • Remember pain point for everyone is different; What may be easy to deal with for you, may be very difficult for others.
  • Lower your expectation of how others should respond to you. Do not take things personally.
  • Be lovingly specific on what you need from others or what you can provide.
  • Be flexible. Plan and if things change, do not lose your peace of mind.
  • Do not get trapped in one perspective. Constantly ask Universe to help you see what you need for your growth.
    • When you want to pick fruits from a tree, you do not stay in one place and pick the fruit of that section only. You move around and with each new perspective there are new findings. This concept applies to many aspects in our lives as well.
  • Give others what you want to receive.
    •  If you want to be understood, make attempt to understand others.
    • If you want others around you be positive, you be positive.
    • If you want others be kind, you be kind in actions and words.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Love and Action

“Love without action is meaningless and action without love is irrelevant.” – Deepak Chopra

Action and love need to go together (with awareness) for our spiritual growth.

What are some actions related to love?

· Acceptance of the other person- it is not about fixing them.

· Being present with them.

· Being vulnerable to verbalize your love

  • Many people’s dream is to hear ‘I love you’ from their loved ones.
  • Verbalizing love is a good start.

· Acting in their love language

  • If someone loves flowers, showing your love by getting them power tools is not a very effective way to communicate that love.

Why action without (unconditional) love is irreverent?

· Any action based on vibration lower than love, can only reflect the energy that was put into.

  • Unconditional love brings out that energy in giver and receiver
  • Acting with expectations most often produces disappointment, resentment and anger. Recall a time that you may have given and later felt resentful because you expected something in return and did not receive in kind.

· If an action does not propel us toward raising our vibration, is self-defeating and not in our highest good.

I invite you to ponder about people whom you love (including yourself).

Is there an action you need to take to communicate your love more effectively toward yourself or others?

What would change if you acted toward yourself or loved ones with more unconditional love?

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Tribute To A Friend

Last Wednesday, a friend texted me with a sad news. He broke the shocking news that our common friend, Balmiki, who I have worked with in two companies – has unexpectedly passed away.

Bakmiki, was one of my few friends who I had at my work.  We had common passion for nature, photography and poetry.

We had enjoyable times walking, sharing pictures we have taken and talking about books we have enjoyed reading.

I had to ponder why I felt so sad from the news?  I have not talked to him for more than one  year since he moved to another city.

I realized that when we talked with each other, we were often laughing and exchanging ideas. 

Whenever I think of Balmiki, smile comes to my face.

Some reflections on my friend’s sudden passing:

  • Do not take anything for granted, focus only on important things.
  • By sharing our passion, we share joy with others.
  • Quality of our interactions is dependent on how present we are.
  • We remember people by how they make us feel.

Rest in peace my dear friend.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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On Manipulation

Manipulation is a way to control and direct others to have a certain desired behavior.

Some reasons for manipulation is lack of effective communication, lack of awareness and lack of honesty.

Some tactics used for manipulation are:

  • Fear/mis-information
  • Urgency
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Various forms of Rewards

If we are not conscious, we all will participate in such manipulative games.

If we are conscious and have a sense of who we are, then impact of such tactics are minimum on us.

As children we may be ‘directed’ by fear, shame or guilt for own protection. As adults same may apply.

What can we do in this regard?

  • The only way to improve things is to start with ourselves.  
  • Contemplate on how much you may manipulate others and through what means.
  • Contemplate through what mechanism you are most likely to be manipulated (fear, shame, praise…).
  • Only give and share when you have no agenda. This means you do not have fixed expectation of correcting other people’s behavior to your own liking.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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How to Respond

Imagine something unexpected happens. Your travel plans get cancelled. Your income is reduced, or an unexpected illness is encountered.

The default reaction is to get very upset and say why me? It does not seem to be fair! You have gone through a lot already and this was the last thing you needed. Your every step of recovery is encountered by constant grief and resistance to moving on.

You may also respond by acknowledging the loss and then turn the situation into wonder! You may wonder what gifts this difficult situation may bring you (remember Universe is on your side).  Of course, you may not know the answer yet, but changing your focus has several quick benefits.

With the above mindset, you are not bitter, you are more creative, and you are more relaxed. People around you respond with more ease and care towards you. The recovery step is surprisingly more pleasant than expected.

This concept is not just a theory. It has worked for me and I have experienced benefits of it.

Perhaps this approach can work for you too. You need to put it into practice to find out.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

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Tenants

You may not be aware of all your tenants who may compel you to react to events based on their presence. Just sit down and be quiet for couple of minutes. Can you hear them? What do they say? What do you feel? Do the tenants give you energy, courage, inspiration and vitality or sap your energy?

Tenants

Look around.

See the signs.

“Rooms for rent. All tenants welcomed.”

“No background check required.”

Another sign says.

“Live in my head rent free”

Unsuitable tenants create havoc
physically and emotionally.

The mean boss and his words
occupy a large room there.

The lover who shattered a heart
has a cozy room there.

The insecure child plays hide and seek in the rooms.

The angry adolescent smashes furniture in the basement.

The martyr friend lives in the largest room
constantly trying to get the attention of other tenants.

The intellectual occupying the living room
broadcasts doom and gloom
providing “his” version of truth for consumption.

It is time to evict all the tenants.

It is time to be selective of our tenants.

A new sign goes up:

“Vacant room available only for uplifting tenants.”

“Background check is required.”

Copyright @ 2011 by Shervin Hojat

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