Four Keys to a Simple Life

peaceful life -

Key to a Simple Life - relativelyLocal.comMy cousin was writing a book.

Now is the time to make peace with your past, so you don’t mess up the present!

“Aging Is A Full Time Job” by Marcia Casar Friedman

She sends me snippets of her writing once in a while, through which I get to learn more about my mother’s father’s side of the family. The more I read the more I see I am like her, the one who got away, carved her own path in life, despite the relatives trying to hold us down…

On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 3:58 AM, Marcia wrote:

I’m writing a new non-fiction, self-help book about making life changes.

The chapter about “Being the best you can be” is a work in progress. I’m writing to get your advice.

1. Do you want me to reveal your name, when referring to you? OR

2. Would you prefer writing to me about your experiences in India, instead of my writing about them?

I don’t know if I’m saying, what you would be saying. Please correct, change, advise, or submit your point of view(about the same length as shown below)

This is where I am today with that detachment section:
“Detach Yourself

My cousin lives in a day by day, uncluttered, lifestyle in India. She enjoys helping people, awesome sights from nature, knowing that nothing is permanent and that worrisome situations will dissipate in time. She believes the joy of giving comes from giving itself; the other perks are a wonderful bonus.

Material possessions, money, and technology do not capture her focused attention. Happiness will not look for you. It takes recognizing the past is over and done, move forward with an attitude of gratitude.”

Thanks Nicole,

This was my response:

Wow, first of all I’m honored that you would consider my story as part of your book. I don’t mind if you use my name. Funny how the bio I wrote a couple years ago, when my goals were to represent myself in the “what do you do for a living” model, have significantly changed… struggling to define (on paper) who I am as I am continuously evolving/revolving every single day here.

Here are some comments to clarify what you wrote (use them how you see fit). Forgive me as I see I’ve gotten quite wordy, but this has taken the place of my morning writing practice today. (starting to revamp my online presence and set up a blog)…

– worrisome situations will dissipate in time

Actually I try not to be worried about anything… that activity in and of it self is a waste of time and energy. Things happen, some are in our control others are not. If there is something worth worrying about, it really means there is something to which action must be taken – a far better effort than worrying alone.

– Material possessions, money, and technology do not capture her focused attention.

Well, remember I’m was raised in the USA and (if/when I travel to cities here) am surrounded by young people who are chasing the American Fantasy (dream that’s not real) and strive to follow in the (failed) capitalistic model (not yet knowing any better).
Right now I’m in a state of re-evaluation, trying to shed some of the residue from that upbringing.

Material Possessions: not proud to admit I do have lots of them, however most of it boxed up in a Brooklyn loft I also have to eventually deal with. I realize though the more possessions you have, the more strings that tie you down, the less free you are. I’m slowly figuring out how to cut these strings, making mental lists of my belongings, what I can sell, give away, stash at another relative’s place, ship out here…
Furthermore I now have stashed my belongings in four places in India as well. So now when I travel between them I can carry just a backpack – usually my lap top, harddrive or two or four, cameras and audio recording equipment is what takes up most of the weight.

Technology: I have and use take advantage of much of this as well. Grateful now technology has gotten much smaller – however I have fallen behind the times a bit, as I have a simple phone with no camera or internet capabilities (my other devices have yet to be combined into one iPhone or android). And I must say I am grateful for the internet, I definitely feel less far away and less disconnected than I did in my first trip to India 11 years ago. And I notice a change in my mental state between times when I have a solid internet connection (constant streams of FB, Twitter, blog, news etc updates compete for attention with chat windows and skype calls keeping me up way past my usual bedtime, or inspiring me to turn on the computer before I even sit for my morning meditation) and those times when I don’t even have electricity, and I am reading books with actually pages you can turn with your fingers or spill chai on, drawing with crayons, colored pencils or painting with water colors, or making music with actual instruments.

However remember I’ve been a technology teacher for several years in NYC and started this project Ascetics with Cameras; but I also have mixed views in my mind about things. I have observed how people can use technology (meant to make our lives easier) for communication, connecting with others, syncing our lives, and I have also observed how all of this technology can make us lazy and has the potential to atrophied our brains (for example: thanks to FB I don’t have to remember any birthdays, thanks to back of storage on my phone and laptop and google products I don’t have to remember phone numbers email addresses or even the websites I’ve visited or shared most). Where as in NYC I was expected to teach elementary school children how to use the mouse to draw and type on the keyboard to write, now I am back to living in a world where kids are actually taught to write and draw with their hands (imagine that!). I am also watching sanyasi ascetics (whose linage history tells stories of the power of the mind to manifest things, travel out of body, understand another’s thoughts etc…. and even these guys are beginning to be on cell phones, laptops and FB. I often just shake my head and wonder what is happening and where all of this is headed.

Money: I haven’t had a job (that earns an income) in nearly 20 months. There is something quite amazing about this, as well as having the potential for anxiety. I have no idea (yet) – how I’m managing this – survival – as I am still experimenting with the how the Universe provides what one needs if the intentions of the wisher are clear.

– Happiness will not look for you

Happiness is within you. Look inside, find it in your silence, accept all that you observe/experience, you cannot be disappointed this way.

– It takes recognizing the past is over and done, move forward with an attitude of gratitude.

Marty taking his holy dip in the Ganga river in Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh When Marty (my estranged father, who I had not had much contact with over most of my life) came to India I think he expected I would still be upset with him and he was really nervous. On our third day, after I made him take a dip in the Ganga River in Rishikesh (where the Beatles used to hang), I told him this: “You can relax and realize I’m not angry anymore. Not only is that luggage too heavy for me to carry through this journey (I’m tired of carrying all that weight), I have also learned some things. I’m not sure when or how I learned this, but I understand that just as the molecules in our body are changing every second, our entire being is changing. You are not the same person you were back then, when you left, dropped off the face of the earth, blew us off for eleven years or more, make loads of unfulfilled promises that made me not have faith enough to count on anything or anyone. I can continue to be angry with you (now) as you are not the same person as you were then. You are not even the same person you were moments before I said this.

An attitude of gratitude: It may sound cliché, but I’ve been experimenting with this for many years. It helps to wake up every day and give thanks (for what ever you are grateful), to give thanks before you eat a meal, before you sit in silence, before you go to sleep. Only when we focus our energy on all the positive things in our lives, can we give more fuel to prosper, more positive-ness comes forth. Those who focus on the negative, when they complain or worry, they actually give more fuel to experience more and more negative and in the end those are the ones who seem to suffer and struggle to come out of it.