Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wait, let me take a (mental) photo!

I have been doing a lot of that lately, just taking the moment in with my eyes and storing it in my mind and not on a memory card.

We are all glued to our phone which also happens to be our personal assistant, our computer and, of course, our camera. It is so easy and so tempting to take a picture of anything and everything and be gratified with the instant viewing and sharing. 

Nothing wrong with that, except:

1) It's easy to miss the moment as it is happening, reviewing it only in the photo we took or the movie we made, AFTER it has already happened. When my son took his first steps, I watched him closely (with both eyes) cheered him on (clapping with both hands), and was there to hold him (again, with both hands!) as he lost his balance. That memory will always be crystal clear in my head and I don't need to see any photo to remind me of that special moment. I'm glad I saw it in real time, with full presence of mind, as opposed to through a tiny screen on my phone/digital camera.

I did make a video and take pictures the same day, and the day after, for family and friends but I didn't want to miss the real deal when it happened for the first time. I enjoyed the experience without distraction or without sharing it with an electronic gadget.

2) When our life is flashing before our eyes, moments before dying, I doubt it will flash in the form of digital photos :) I think it will flash in the form of memories experienced through sight, sound, smell and perhaps even taste. I think it will be moments you spent holding a loved one, snuggling your baby, laughing with your friends and all the things you experienced when you were not looking through a phone or camera screen.

3) The billions of pictures that we take through our camera, how many do we actually bother printing, framing, or putting in an album?? Maybe five percent of them? Maybe less. So not only are you missing the moment, you are missing the moment for a photo that will live in a memory card for the rest of your life.

But don't get me wrong; take photos and make movies by all means but don't rush for that phone or camera at a key moment, instead enjoy that moment and capture some form of it moments later. So put down that phone and look around you; when you see something interesting just look at it for a while and don't rush to take a photo :)

Yeh, put that down for a second :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

There are vampires out there...

Not literally (seriously doubt it, sorry Twilight fans!) but definitely figuratively. These are the people who will suck the positive energy out of you like a vampire would suck its prey's blood. 

Interestingly, in spite of all the blood chugging, vampires are still always pale. The same applies to energy suckers; you can spot the type from a mile. They look gloomy, down and out and just plain miserable - just visualizing that in my head was a downer, imagine how much it sucks to have those energy suckers around!

Recognizing energy suckers:

- It's the person after talking to whom you feel bad about yourself, or guilty or, of course, drained of all positive and productive energy.
- These are the people who will always think that their lives are worse than everyone else's, doesn't matter how good they have it. 
- They always feel entitled for more.
- They always feel unlucky and underserved. 
- They find faults in your success.
- They underplay your achievements.
- They are jealous of you and WILL kick you when you are down.

I don't think you will confuse them with good people going through a bad time but remind yourself of that distinction. These individuals are different from those who are generally happy but maybe sad or upset for some reason for a while- in that case your shoulder should be the first one for their tears. 

The keys to be sucker-free!

- You can only help those who want to help themselves. Understand that sometimes there isn't much you can do for someone who is mentally set on being unhappy. They may not even know it, but if you notice it, help them recognize that. If you see progress, help them further. If you see regression and feel yourself sinking with them, jump ship! 

Having said that, don't be too quick. Of course, how much time you can give to a "sucker" will depend on your relationship with the person and your own levels of patience and endurance. Give people a chance. But know your limits. There are other people in your life who rely on your positive energy, so make sure you have some left for them.

- If you can't exclude "suckers" from your daily life, learn to create a mental shield- don't let them latch on! Don't indulge the "sucker" by listening to their saga of (self-created) misery. Offer regrets and move on, something like, "Oh I'm sorry to hear that, I'm sure things will look up soon but I better finish my project/assignment/cooking," might help.

It first you may feel like a horrible person, which you will because you are not a "sucker" and you don't like to bring people down. Remind yourself that this is not how you deal with people normally- this is how you deal with the ones who are determined on being miserable.

Now let's drink and be merry! To honor our "suckers" I thought I'd share a Bloody Mary recipe ;) Just subtract the vodka for a virgin version. Click here for the recipe, courtesy of

Have you dealt with a "sucker" successfully? If so, please share your strategy :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Go, play outside!

A piece of advise that should be practiced as it's being preached. How often have you heard of parents complaining about their kids being tied to their video game controller or glued to their computer screens/Ipads/smart phones/tablets (phew....exhausting list!) But your complaining alone is not going to resolve anything - it might even make matters worse. You have to set an example by doing not just saying. So try doing this:

- GO OUTSIDE WITH THEM. You just have to do it. Don't have the time or energy? Well, neither do the kids these days; they are using up all their energy and time trying to keep up with constantly budding new technology and their friends' Facebook statuses.
Also, let me just put it out there, if you are a parent, you better dig up new wells of energy and time because, well, you are a parent and you are responsible for the welfare of another human being who depends on you.

- See it as an opportunity to get the much needed exercise that many of us also claim we don't have the time and energy for. This is how you will nurture two birds with one stroke ;)

- While you are out there, learn and teach a new sport/game. Teach the ethics of good sportsperson ship. Teach fairness, tolerance, the value of teamwork and how to deal with defeat.

- Start this practice early on in your child's life so that they can get hooked onto the habits of building, playing, learning and inhaling fresh air :) 

What are some of your family's favorite outdoor activities?

Photo courtesy:


Friday, April 5, 2013

Small Sacrifices, Big Benefits 3/3

I would like to wrap up this three part series by focusing on the soul. Here's how you can make some sacrifices to reap big benefits :)

For your soul:

- "Sacrifice" some time from your week to teach what you know how to do well. There are a few benefits to this; you are polishing your existing skills while teaching someone a new one that they can use for the rest of their lives, as well as forward to others. Also think of this as continuing your legacy in this world :) Win, win, win.

- Take a moment to think before you comment, "sacrifice" the need to say something bitter or harsh even if you deem it to be true and on the mark.  There are big benefits to this particular sacrifice - you will save someone from getting hurt by your words and that good karma will come back to you sooner rather than later. Plus, you will feel completely awesome when you look back at your tongue taming :). Trust me, it has taken me a long time to adopt this trait and I feel so much better with my sweeter tongue :)

- "Sacrifice" some of your wealth for the benefit of others, aka, charity. You will only get richer, in more ways than one.

Please share some of your "sacrifices" that bring big benefits to your life. I would love to hear from you.  

Photo courtesy: