When did we acquire the fear to make mistakes? I was wondering if a child would learn to walk if every time he/she falls down, the parents criticize him/her. I wonder if a surfer would get to enjoy the experience of learning to surf, if every time he falls down, he thinks, “Here you go, I failed again.” Before we learn to ride a bicycle, we fall many times. At the end, learning to ride a bicycle is worth the effort.
In school, we are marked down if we make mistakes, if we fall down below the standard. There is research supporting the idea that innovation blossoms when people are given the space to make mistakes. Even Mahatma Gandhi valued experimentation and said, “Freedom isn’t worth having if it doesn’t include the freedom to make mistakes.”
Then why don’t we allow and encourage making mistakes? At work or business, we avoid mistakes in order not to be seen as incompetent. There is an underlying message that in order to be successful, we need to be experts. How would we learn if something works for us or is for us, unless we try it first?
The fear we have of making mistakes is the underlying cause for procrastination. If we lived our lives as a surfer who knows that falling down is a natural part of the experience, we would take more risks. There are so many difficult conversations we are avoiding all the time with our boss, our partner, friends, family, etc. That book or e-mail we wanted to read/write or send. That new business idea or product you are overanalyzing.
If we fall down (because if we risk, you will fall), you will get up and keep going for the sake of the adventure of being alive. So why don’t we accept falling or failure as part of the ride? We are afraid of feeling something unpleasant. At the same time, the same unpleasant feeling is a reminder that we are alive.
I walked out of my apartment building this morning and it was so beautiful outside. I couldn’t help but notice the snow sparkles. I had to show my son the sparkling top layer of the snow. I have been enjoying so much the morning sunrise. We are so fortunate to see the sunrise on the way to work! I am driving and I look at the pink sky. Yes, there is beauty in winter….that’s for sure. I don’t forget the fact that I have to scrape the windshield, warm up the car, and put layers of clothes, but as I look at the sunrise and listen to some music on the way to work, my attitude changes and I set a nice tone for my day.
I guess I am trying to talk about inspiration. Isn’t it inspiration that we are all looking for in our day, in our experiences, and interactions with people? I know I am. When I read, I want to read something that moves me. If I listen to music, I want the music to get to me, I want to feel it. I am referring to experiences that touch me on a deep level. At the end of the day, these are the experiences which bring meaning to my life. Sometimes I think that my life is about connections—with family, friends, and people in general. My interactions would not be meaningful to me unless I felt connected with my loved ones on a deeper level. At least this is how I am and I am aware that people are different. And it is all good.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I was never taught to be gentle to myself, to be kind to myself, to be self-compassionate. I read an article recently addressing self-compassion and it made me think. I started asking myself “Do I give myself a break sometimes? Do I beat myself up for my faults?” Read More →
For those of you who are vegetarian, here is a vegetarian chili which is yummy:
Makes 8 servings:
1 table spoon of olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
- Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
Since our Chili cup event is coming up, I decided to collect some tips on how to enhance your chili experience at home.
1. If you chili is too thick, don’t use water to think it out. Use broth instead. Water deludes the flavors but the broth add to the flavors.
2. If your chili is too thin, you could add some tomato paste to thicken it. If this doens’t work, the next step is to add corn starch or corn meal.
3. Most folks use green jalapenos which are sold at the grocery store to give the chili its hotness. Apparently, there are many types of chiles with different names like: Anaheim, Poblano, Serrano, Santa Fe Chiles, etc. Basically, we can experiment and have fun with the whole process by trying different chiles. It is possible to use a combination of chiles as well.
4. The first step we take is to cook the meat. You need to brown the meat before you add the liquids to the recipe.
5. The better the quality of the meat, the better the chili. If you get meat that is less tender, make sure you cook the meat longer to soften it up and consider using a meat tenderizer.
6. Use fresh vegetables, not canned. There is a major difference. (This makes sense!)
7. Cook the chili the day before you plan to eat it. This way you give all the flavors in your chili time to blend. If you don’t have enough time to cook it the night before, prepare it in the morning and let it simmer all day.
8. Use your own mix of spices, herbs and chiles instead of using a prepackages mix. Prepackaged mixes have a lot of salt and preservatives which can change the taste of the chili. The batch of chili spices you make can be stored in your freezer for up to one year.
9. Don’t use old spices for your chili (or for any other cooking….for that matter). If you happen to have old spices, make sure they have been on the shelf for less than a year. After one year, spices loose flavor.
10. Have fun! Making chili takes time, but it can be a lot of fun as well.
Some of us like our chocolate very much. Who said that chocolate recipes can’t be healthy? Apparently, chocolate doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. Here are some recipes I found. I hope you like them!
Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
10 servings Serving size:
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 15 ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Raspberries or small strawberries (optional)
- Mint leaves (optional)
Place chopped chocolate in a 2-cup glass measure or small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on 70% power (medium-high) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave on 70% power for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until chocolate is melted, stirring every 15 seconds.
In a food processor bowl combine cheese, half-and-half, and vanilla. Cover and process until combined. Add melted chocolate while food processor is running. Process until well combined. Spoon into demitasse cups or small bowls. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.
Read More →
I remember walking in the neighborhood in Vegas where I lived when I was 18 years old. I was enjoying my walk and smiled at the people passing by. I decided to do my own experiment. When people smiled back, if felt great. If they didn’t, it was still all right because I was doing what felt right.
Did you know that we smile even while we are in the womb? 3-D technology now shows that developing babies smile. After babies are born, they continue to smile (at the beginning in their sleep) and even blind babies smile in response to the sound of the human voice. Isn’t that fascinating or what?
Have you ever wondered why being around children who smile frequently makes you smile more often? There is a high chance when we smile for people to smile back. It would be very challenging to frown when looking at someone who smiles. Charles Darwin developed the Facial Feedback Response Theory which suggests that the act of smiling makes us feel better. This theory is supported by a research done in Echnische University in Munich, Germany. In 2009, scientists used fMRI (Functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain. They found out that facial feedback changes the neural processing of emotional content in the brain and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile.
Unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has therapeutic effects and is associated with reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.
I am not finished yet. It seems like smiling is one of the best things we could be doing. Smiling makes us look good in the eyes of others. A study at Penn State University confirmed that when we smile, we not only appear more likable and courteous, but we are perceived to be more competent.
Here is a brief summary of the stats about smiling:
- When you smile, you look good and feel good
- When others see you smile, they smile too
- When others smile, they look good and feel good, too.
Well, we can all together start a smiling revolution! One thing, though, the smile you give has to be big and genuine.
In conclusion, smiling can improve not only your life, but also the lives of others. It helps us live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
Mother Teresa said: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”
You are ENOUGH, we are ENOUGH…
Another school year! I see some new faces and lots of familiar faces. It is so nice to see the students stopping by, saying hi, making sure they connect now that they are back on campus after being away for the summer. I love it! My son also started kindergarten! I am excited for him and I am nervous as well…
I read an article recently saying that educational institutions have the responsibility to make the experience of the students as meaningful as possible. This statement got me thinking and it felt right. Here I am, working from my office with prospective immigrant students and assisting current students in many different ways. One big part of my position is to connect with students on a human level. I will admit that this is the favorite part of my position.
I have worked in educational institutions for the last ten years. I started as a student advisor in Vegas, then at U of M, and now at Red River College. I like the energy of educational institutions. I also realized that I am still a student. I learn every day how to be a human and I love the stories I hear every day. I secretly call myself the Story Keeper.
One day, the students we come in contact with will graduate and will go on their own path of life. Many students will have the same diplomas and professions. But each student is the only person who has custody of his/her own life. Not only the life at school and work, but also at home, at the bus, in the car. We all possess not only a life of our mind, but also a life of our hearts.
You may wonder how does this all related to Wellness? Bear with me, I am just painting the big picture, I am setting the stage for the main message to unfold. After all, health and wellness have different dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, etc. All these dimensions are interconnected.
So, how can I do my part of making the experience of the students meaningful? I can offer the best of me and be present for the students only when I operate from a place I know I am enough. I am calmer and I listen.
What makes me ENOUGH? I am enough because I am alive and I exist. I am enough even if nobody knows my name. Becoming successful doesn’t make me enough. It just changes my experience, but it doesn’t change me.
Being enough, I become comfortable with my background, my past experiences, abilities because none of those define me. Now that I am enough, I don’t have the need to impress people because what people think of me is secondary to the way I think about myself.
As a mother, I have my daily challenges. I ask myself often of the lessons I would like my son to know. I read, I analyze, and then….I need a break from it all. But there is one thing that I want my son to know—that he is wanted just the way he is and that he is loved no matter what. It is all right to be open to learn more about parenting, but at the end of the day, the best gift children need is the unquestionable approval of their existence. It sounds simple, but….it can be one of the hardest things to do.
Hello everyone! Watermelon is the perfect food to eat in summer time. After hanging with people from all over the world, I learned that watermelon can be sometimes eaten with salt or it can be seasoned many different ways. You can ask my Mexican, Indonesian, and Indian friends. I came across this salad that I am going to give it a try. You might enjoy it as well.
Watermelon Salad with Jalapeño and Lime
30 minutes or fewer
Thanks to farmers in Texas and Arizona, sweet flavor-packed watermelons are now available year-round. Black sesame seeds add a nice color contrast to this dish, but if you can’t find them, white sesame seeds work just as well.
- 3 Tbs. lime juice
- 2 Tbs. olive or avocado oil
- ⅛ tsp. lime zest
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and sliced
- ¼ cup basil or Thai basil, cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp. black sesame seeds
- ½ tsp. sea salt
1. Whisk together lime juice, oil and lime zest. Set aside.
2. Place watermelon cubes in single layer in large shallow dish. Pour lime juice mixture over watermelon, and gently toss to combine. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Place 5 jalapeño rings each in 4 shallow serving bowls. Mound 1/2 cup watermelon in center of each bowl. Divide marinade among bowls. Sprinkle with basil, sesame seeds and salt, and serve.
I attended a workshop at the Manitoba Tourism Education Council called Managing Workplace Stress– A Survival Guide. I wanted to share some of the ideas and tips I learned with you.
We can allow stress to manage us or we can choose to manage stress. There are many different methods out there and just like the causes of stress are individual, so are the solutions. Finding the ones that work for you is a matter of trial and error. Some suggestions are listed below.
1. Think positively: the idea is to try to avoid negative thinking and over-analyzing what co-workers have said or done, as this increases your stress levels. If we allow the negative self-talk to start, it can spiral out of control.
2. Be realistic: As much as you may want to be Superman or Superwoman, you can’t be. Be realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. There is no point in trying to complete a two hour task in 45 minutes.
3. Set Goals: Being realistic doesn’t mean that you should not have goals. Absolutely do so. Goals help you move from negative situations to positive situations; goals provide motivation and direction. Just remember to prioritize your goals and focus on the most important ones first. Recognize that you may need to give something up in order to achieve your goal and break large goals into smaller goals, so that they are more manageable.
4. Stop procrastinating: When you procrastinate or delay a challenging or difficult task, you increase your stress level. Instead of doing it, you think about, you stew about and you worry about it. Getting into the habit of attacking your to do list, instead of pushing it to the side, will reduce your stress level.
5. Learn to say “no”: We sometimes put additional stress on ourselves when we agree to take on more than we can handle. When someone asks you to do something, even if it is something we would like to do but simply don’t have the time for, it can be very difficult to say no. Examples:
Clarify your reason, without making excuses, for being unable to help. ” I can’t right now because I have another project that is due by 5 p.m. today.” or ” I don’t have time today, but I could schedule it in for tomorrow morning.” or “Yes, I can help you by filing this paperwork and will get that done for you tomorrow morning.”
6. Find the Funny: Humor is another great stress reliever. It has been scientifically proven that a good belly laugh lowers blood pressure, reduces hormones created by stress, gives the immune system a boost, and creates a sense of well-being and happiness.
7. Get organized: Look around. If you would rather work around your clutter than deal with it, you could be inviting more stress into your life than necessary. Eliminate clutter, set up an effective filing system, gather essential tools, and manage workflow, and you will be on your way to creating an effective, less stressful workplace.
8. Assess yourself: Sometimes we are the cause of stress in the workplace. Take a moment to honestly consider how you treat those around you. Are you in any way contributing to the stressful environment in your workplace? If you are in a supervisory/management position, are you recognizing and rewarding your team members for their efforts? Are you being overly demanding? Are you providing the training and support that they need in order to succeed? Remember, your success depends on their success.
I hope you find the suggestions useful.
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them.” Denis Waitley
When I was six years old, I wanted to be a jewelry designer. I made earrings, pendants, you name it out of wire and beads. When I told my mother that I want to be a designer, she said that I will not be able to make it in Bulgaria creating jewelry. So my childhood dream to be a designer was out of the picture. I focused on my studies.
In college, after I finished the Community College of Southern Nevada, I transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I went to see an Academic Advisor to discuss two career options I had in mind–Nursing and Elementary Education. The advisor said that it would take longer for me to finish a degree if I pursue either of these two careers. Well, I went home to discuss my options with my sponsors (my host family at that time). They said that I will have to pick something else, something which will take less time to finish. I end up taking…….International Business. What a disaster! Somehow I finished my degree, but any free minute I had, I read books on psychology and spent time with my friends from all over the world.
Who said that I can’t be a designer? The designer in me is still there. I can still do what I consider beautiful. I can create beauty around me—with the food I cook, in my home, in my interactions with people. After all, I am the designer of my life.
Why not being a teacher? Now that I am a mother, I can teach my son so many things. I will encourage him to do what he loves, because only then he will enjoy life and be successful. I will also share with him that what I learned is that the purpose of our lives is to be happy. Of course, one day he can verify my theories experientially.
Here I am trying to teach my son something, but meanwhile he is teaching me so much about love, patience, and being in the moment.
“Live your life in the manner that you would like your kids to live theirs.” Michael Levine
Now this puts my life into perspective……