There are times when you think you know but then you realize that you don’t. You think you need it but then you realize you really want it.
This being said in this post I am celebrating the journey! Where are you on yours? Have you taken the time to celebrate it? Have you stopped to think about it? If not, please know it’s time to!
This is in every sense the myriad of life! This is something we all go through at one point or another. However through it all it is imperative that we understand this is what life is- experience, highs, lows, ups, downs, and so many other forms of contrast other than what has been mentioned before.
Think about it- you are where you are because of where you have come from! You are where you are because you made a decision to start somewhere! You are where you are because you saw something and you put one foot in front the other and started a walk that led you to where you are today!
So it’s not the road you wanted- not the straight path you envisioned. It’s not the road you imagined it would be. Instead there are bumps (unexpected surprises that are not so good), maybe some potholes (disappointments that cause you pain) and winding bends (things that show you the need for added caution).
Stop and think or at least try to think! What is the last thing that made you smile? When was the last time you laughed? Where were you? What were you doing? What prompted it? Who was there? What made you so happy?
Hopefully this begins to get you thinking but don’t just think- feel and experience! Replace pain and sadness with something that is the opposite. Don’t ignore it and don’t forget it but don’t let it get the better of you.
Find some positives that can replace the negatives! Remind yourself of why you started and remind yourself of why you need to finish! Think of what you are sure about and focus on that to help you clear the path of uncertainty.
It may sound tough to do but once you get started it will become easier. Remember too that procrastination may just be a hindrance. it always helps to be your best friend rather than your worst enemy. Similarly it always pays to be true to yourself!
This is your journey and it needs to be celebrated. If you don’t celebrate it then it is highly unlikely that anyone will do it for you! Don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow we can agree is promised to no one!
It’s yours for the taking. The moment is yours for the making. Make the most of it! Live with no regrets because simply put, they are not worth it! Regrets are like weights that hold you back and weigh you down! What’s important is to live without regrets! Learn from mistakes. Try to right the wrongs! Treat people as you would like to be treated! Live each day like if it is your last.
In this post I am Celebrating Truths! The question many may ask is why? The response is that there are things we may avoid saying or listening to but at times we need to in order to prevent others from having to deal with such harsh truths and realities!
Being private does not mean being ‘social’ or ‘rude’ or being ‘stush’ or ‘unsociable’. It is called keeping your personal matters to minimal people which can occur for several reasons:
1. You cannot deal with a lot of people.
2. You don’t want to have to answer unnecessary questions.
3. You don’t have too much time or energy.
4. You don’t have time for the ‘faker-shaker deal’- a term I use for those who pretend, act pretentiously and generally use a façade because they feel they need to for the sake of appearances.
Many may choose to question why people keep to themselves and these are some of the many reasons that they may not understand. Instead they may choose to judge and condemn you. Leave them to deal with the karma they create and remember the important practice in life is treating people the way you want to be treated. Once you do that you will be at peace and you will have peace of mind. Just be sure that you do not let anyone take advantage of you or your kindness.
It is also important to note that with all things given respect goes a long way. Putting up appearances does the most harm to the person putting up the appearances.
Imagine my horror when weeks ago I placed a post and it I got a Ha-Ha-Ha comment to a photo I used which read, “When I look at my students I see unlimited possibilities.” It wasn’t so much that it was Ha-Ha-Ha as it was from someone who has a child of her own. It was nothing short of distasteful but it was valuable insight of the mindset of many who choose to give up on our students and how they can positively contribute to their lives.
The thought that came to mind was, ‘Imagine how horrific it would have been if this is how I viewed my students or my role as a teacher.’ Thankfully it never was and my students could all attest to this. Their progress and achievements is also proof of their determination and their beliefs.
‘Faker-shaker’ may sound neat and maybe even poetic but it is a harsh reality. Being true to oneself is what counts! Life is filled with opposites but those opposites help to create the balance and equilibrium that are so desperately needed. Those opposites help us to find ourselves and help us to appreciate this journey we call life.
Don’t be the person who paints an image on social media of caring but otherwise turns a blind eye and a deaf ear. Don’t be the person who is dismissive who cannot comprehend the negative messages their actions are creating.
Lots of food for thought right? Maybe! All in all it is a reminder to keep your focus, it is a reminder to be true to oneself and it is a reminder that you need to be as real as possible so that the world doesn’t get to you!
Today I celebrate our India Pilgrimage 2019! A little over a year ago we were blessed to be in Mysore! One year ago we were blessed to be in Varanasi! One year ago we were blessed to take bath in the Ganges! As I have said time and time again our pilgrimage to India was the blessing of a lifetime.
Had anyone told us what 2020 would be like except our Sadguru we would have questioned it because a first visit to Mysore Ashrama is a visit that will be followed by other such visits!
No one I believe would have thought that Covid-19 would bring the world to its feet. No one would have thought the travel industry would be brought to a standstill. No one would have thought life as we knew it would be replaced by the ‘new normal’.
Our visit to India was a trip that will never be forgotten! We left Trinidad on September 23 and arrived in India on September 25. We arrived at the Ashrama in the evening after a 3 hour drive. It was scenic and provided a first hand view of India as it really is- a mixture of hustle, bustle, honking horns of taxis and rickshaws, well maintained roads and businesses of all types lining the highway.
The next morning we were invited to join our Datta family from Trinidad (they had arrived a few days before) on a trip to Mekadatu where His Holiness was born. Along the way we saw so many beautiful sights- fields of flowers in full bloom, rice paddies well cultivated and maintained by hard working farmers, a buzz of activity in the marketplace, school children going to school and people in general going about their daily activities with pride and a sense of duty.
Our arrival at the temple where Jayalakshmi Maa stayed was peaceful and tranquil. The humility and the love of the people there is something which will always be with us. One thing that stood out was the peacefulness of the monkey who freely moved from tree to tree.
Had anyone told us that we would be crossing the river in a basket we might have doubted. With the water higher than it usually was, it was certainly an experience and an experience that was guided by SadGuru. There was no time to think of being afraid of anything and the peace and serenity that was with us was incomparable. The sound of the water as it moved, the monkey that moved freely, the small Hanuman temple where we were able to pay our respects and receive Darshan- all memories we will cherish!
We were fortunate to spend the night in Jayalakshmi Puram which is very sacred grounds and has a lot of spiritual significance for all Datta devotees. This journey allowed us to get a valuable understanding of the life of His Holiness and His parents, Sri Jayalakshmi Maa and Sri Narahari Teerthan Swamiji. The next morning we got the opportunity to walk through the village where His Holiness lived in His childhood days and in the afternoon we were able to visit Sri Jayalakshmi Nilayam. Our last stop before returning to Ashrama was Sogala- very sacred grounds surrounded by lush green grass and beautiful well maintained surroundings.
Our return to Ashrama occurred with us finding the Ashrama with a buzz of activity with Navatri preparations well underway. Experiencing Navatri in the Ashrama is beyond description.
It meant seeing the ladies busy sweeping from early morning, doing beautiful rangolis, looking at the ladies who led the procession each day dressed in the colour for the day with the kalasas on their heads, the dancers and singers moving in unison and then those strategically positioned at the front of the chariot carrying His Holiness and Sri BalaSwamiji. It was in every sense truly festive, celebratory and filled with energy.
It also meant seeing His Holiness beautifully dressed every morning on the chariot to Nada Mantapa where the devis would be aartied and gifted, Puja would be conducted and discourse would be given. It also meant bhajans from visiting groups who would have the privilege of performing while His Holiness conducted Puja.
Following the morning programme it meant being able to go upstairs to take the Darshan of the Divine Mother. Each day was a blessing! Following Navratri we were able to visit different parts of the Ashrama and nearby places like the Market, the temples at Chamundi Hills and the shopping area just to name a few. Added to this Divali was a memorable occasion that will always be with us.
Our journey from Mysore took us to Bangalore where the peacefulness, the divinity and the overall atmosphere reminded us of the Ashrama we had earlier left in Mysore. Undoubtedly the divinity, the positivity, the energy- everything provided insight on the spirituality and divinity of these spiritual grounds.
The next day we travelled to Varanasi, a city steeped in history and religion. Different yes, but the walk to the Shivala Ghat the next morning where we took bath in the Ganges was an experience we would never forget. The beauty of the sun over the Ganges is something we also will never forget. The steps that made it easier to step into the water were quite helpful too. It was not just about being in Varanasi but it was about being in Varanasi with His Holiness our Sadguru and with His Holiness Sri Bala Swamiji for the consecration of the Varanasi temple and for the Maha Ati Rudra Yagna. With guidance from both we were able to see holy sites and maximize the extent of our travels! Every day brought something new that was reflected in various ways! Every day provided something to treasure! The experience will always stay with us! It meant time in the presence of divinity, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Vishalakshi Devi temple, visiting the Kedarnath temple and several other sacred places throughout the nearby areas.
If you would like to read more about our 2019 India Pilgrimage please click on the links below. Please also click on the links to the videos above and do also take the time to view the photos that have been included.
In this post I am Celebrating Life’s Lessons! Regardless of how many times your brain may feel saturated, at some point something happens that shows you it isn’t but you have time to take in more.
Every day is a new one and every day brings a new dawn. Let that be your hope that you are not alone! Your Master, whatever name He is called by, is always with you, guiding and protecting you.
Every now and again it may happen and you might be flooded with something unexpected! Every now and again someone may show you something you lost sight of or something to snap you out of the illusion you have been living in. Many may think they have the right to judge but in truth and in fact they don’t. That is a fact that remains whether people want to hear it or not.
Friendship and love should never be mixed with envy. Friendship and love should never be synonymous with being selfish. Friendship and love should never be negative. Friendship and love should never be toxic.
Always give yourself the best chance possible! Always learn not to expect anything from anyone but always focus on being you and focus on being the best you that there is! I made a decision a long time ago that giving up or quitting is not an option at least not for me. Those who know me would know why! Those who don’t can question it but they may never understand why.
Like you I have had my fair share of experiences and I continue to have them day after day. Don’t let life break you and don’t let it trick you into living an illusion or getting entangled in one! Don’t let circumstances get the better of you!
Being in pain doesn’t mean you are justified in causing someone else pain. Nothing justifies being jealous of someone so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for what you have or what you deserve.
Think of every cold shoulder you got, every harsh word you have received, every tear you shed and every ounce of pain you experienced! Thank God you did not let it define you! Thank God you are where you are and Thank God you are existing!
After you do this I urge you to take the time to do the following: 1. Celebrate every challenge you have overcome!
2. Celebrate every time you have turned a frown upside down.
3. Celebrate every negative you have walked away from.
4. Celebrate every negative you have turned into a positive.
5. Celebrate every toxic situation you have walked away from.
6. Celebrate the fact that you have removed every toxic person who is no longer in your life or you are in the process of doing exactly that.
7. Celebrate every opportunity you have grabbed and made the most out of.
8. Celebrate every genuine person who has become a part of your life.
9. Celebrate every time you have done something for you.
10. Celebrate your growth.
11. Celebrate your strength!
12. As you focus on your healing celebrate how far you have come on your journey.
13. Celebrate the success and happiness of others.
14. Celebrate every day you survived.
15. Celebrate every today and every tomorrow you are yet to see.
Life presents us with so much and it can be a mix of so much- overwhelming, heart wrenching, confusing and complicated. But it can also bring reason and clarity!
Clarity can be as bright as daylight! Clarity can be as harsh as the coldness that hits your face in winter! Clarity can hit you like a ton of bricks! Clarity can knock you off your feet but you it is important that you stay grounded!
Sometimes you need to have a good laugh and sometimes you just need to get rid of the bottled up pain. Whichever it is do what is necessary!
Like many people I have had my fair share of experiences and I have learnt many valuable lessons:
People will always think what they want. They may even call you names because they don’t know you or like you.
You cannot force anyone to do anything. You can try to help others but only people who want your help will accept it.
Be careful who you talk to! Talk to God knowing He always hears and He always answers.
Never let yourself be disappointed! People will always do as they wish.
Always focus on what you are sure about. Those are the things that will keep guiding you.
Reality presents us with so many harsh truths that sometimes they may feel hard to swallow but here are some useful things which should be of help:
Always keep your focus. It’s easy to get distracted but keep your goal in sight and always work towards it.
Never resort to treating people the way they treat you! Nothing good can come from that! Focus on being you and always being a better you! Let people deal with the karma they create.
When you get clarity embrace it! Celebrate the things that didn’t work out and celebrate the toxic people that get removed from your life!
Never give up on prayer. Let God be your comfort and your solace!
Always look to each new day as a new dawn! Remember every moment matters!
Always accept reality for what it is! Some circumstances cannot be changed and people need to want to change in order to effect change.
Don’t allow yourself to be a pawn in anyone’s game. Let them keep playing their games and reap the rewards of their actions.
If you ever feel alone don’t. Close your eyes and allow yourself to feel all that is good and also allow yourself space to remember that you are beautifully made and designed by the Master.
Be clear! Be firm! Be resolute! Be you and love yourself! Repeat!
Have you been looking for alternatives to help you, your friends, children or other close loved ones access tuition online?
In the event that you are wondering why online options are better at this point, it is because of the very fact that Covid-19 has placed several challenges and restrictions around the world. These have created so many trying options that many have not expected.
Schools have been adjusted to the new ‘normal’, children have not been able to prepare for their exams- (at least not the way they want to) and parents have been put in a position to help them get their education and help them prepare (challenges like lack of finance, lack of facilities etc).
Rest assured that I am offering many great options. Those courses which I am presently providing are CSEC English, Mathematics, Conversational Spanish, POB, OA, Résumé Writing and Interview Preparation as well as Social Media: Effective Use & Management for Business. Bridging the Gap- Maximizing Website Accessibility is also being offered. The first five (5) courses are available at a monthly price while the remaining three (3) are offered at a fixed price.
My online classes are available to persons from several Caribbean countries and surrounding countries namely Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, Belize, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Suriname.
What benefits are in store for those who join my classes other than online tuition?
1. Videos on demand and ample notes
2. Opportunities for individual attention & personalized feedback
3. Lessons, assignments & quizzes that are easily accessible
4. Courses that are offered at great prices
5. An opportunity to benefit from discounted offers when provided
6. An opportunity that will help them realize that they should not give up
7. Having me as your Lecturer- means having someone who is dedicated, committed and passionate about teaching and helping others as well as a host of other benefits including my years of experience.
Here is your invitation to join me for any of my online classes!
I urge you to make full use of this opportunity and to share it with others! It is in every sense, yours for the taking!
I look forward to seeing you there and looking forward to working with each person who signs up. Here is a video I created regarding my English A Classes. Bear in mind it will also inform you of my overall dedication and provide some insight into who I am as an individual.
Celebrating the life of Selwyn Joseph In this post I celebrate the life of my neighbour Selwyn Joseph who died under very tragic circumstances on May 23rd, 2020.
Many would remember that May 23, 2020 was the last day of fasting for the month of Ramadan. Those who knew Selwyn would know that just about two (2) years ago Selwyn converted to Islam so it means that at the time of his death he was fasting and he would have eagerly been looking forward to Eid celebrations the day after.
Unfortunately he didn’t live to celebrate Eid. May 23, 2020, instead became the day he died under very unfortunate circumstances.
In the nearly six (6) years that I have been married to Shiva, I have grown to known Selwyn quite well. How would I describe him:
1. Selwyn has always been good to my family- always polite, always ready to help. One of the things I would miss is him passing by and calling out to us. I am sure based on who I knew him as being that he was also a good person to many people.
2. Selwyn loved his family. That was obvious and his love for his wife and children unquestionable. One of the things many people are quite familiar with was him getting dressed to go to mosque and often times taking his eldest, Stephon with him. Sometimes he would also be seen taking his baby girl for an early morning walk. A sight many of us can recall is him with his family. Mere days before his tragic death he was walking by with his wife and children and their smiles were priceless. No one would expect that just a few days later their family would be shattered.
3. Selwyn was a good friend and he always looked out for those closest to him. Those who knew him can attest to this. More so Selwyn stood up for what he believed in.
4. Selwyn lived a very simple life. Selwyn was a serious-minded individual, who everyone knew as one who would look out for those around him. As a Muslim especially he was committed to fulfilling his duty and he spent a lot of his time in the Mosque. A lot of his life also reflected his commitment to Islam.
5. Selwyn was a very talented painter. This was his trade and when he did a job it would be one many would talk of because it was a job that was well done.
Much can be said about how a man lived but in my estimation this description speaks volumes. No man is without flaws but that a man can make a positive impact should be remembered and more so it should be celebrated.
True enough the last moments of a man’s life speaks volumes. The circumstances surrounding Selwyn’s death were without a doubt very tragic. His last moments were spent in prayer and calling the name of Allah.
It has also left a sound reminder that man has not given life and as such should not take life. Further to this we should always treat people as we would like to be treated and we should always adhere to our values.
Nobody deserves to be taken advantage of and more so no man should be attacked whether he is weak or in a weakened state. Selwyn’s passing has no doubt left a void. His wife has been rendered a single parent and his three (3) young kids now have to grow up without their father’s touch, his comfort and his general presence.
Everyone who knew him has suffered a loss. In addition to his family (his wife, his children, his mom, his siblings, his neices, his nephews, his in-laws), his neighbours, his friends, his Muslim brothers and sisters have also suffered a loss.
Though I know I cannot have this dialogue with him now I must say that I am grateful for all that he has done for my family and I can safely say that he will be missed by all who knew him.
We pray that Selwyn has found peace. His life has been a lesson to us all. Selwyn Joseph may be physically gone but he will not be forgotten.
This post is dedicated to celebrating our loved ones and in particular those who have passed on.
In life you may see it as winning some and losing some but don’t see it as a race or a contest. See it as a journey with lessons that is meant to be lived to the fullest. Things may come unexpectedly and we can all agree that none of us is sure what tomorrow will bring.
Let us look at it like this: Life is a journey and on that journey there are many experiences. Just as people come into our lives so too we enter other people’s lives. Just as we make our entrances and exits so do they and the exits we make or they make are in preparation for a new chapter of the journey. Not all exits are the same and some are understandably harder than others.
The time we spend with each other gives us time to experience and to learn. In essence it gives us time to do good and to be good. It gives us time to learn, time to love, time to make the most of. It gives us time to celebrate the time we share, the opportunities we are given to learn from each other and to create memories while celebrating the opportunity those in our lives have given us to become better and do better.
This being said it is important to live each day as your last, make the most of each moment, do the things you need to do and give it the absolute best that you can. Life is uncertain and unpredictable if you want to call it such so get in the habit of making each moment matter.
Photo Credit: Mandy Hale
If you cannot for one reason or another (such as health or immobility) be thankful for all that you have and all that you have done and keep praying. Celebrate all that you are and all that you have accomplished. Take the time too to celebrate all your loved ones and all they have accomplished and all they stood for.
Photo Credit: loveliveson.com
Though we are taught to accept that when there is birth, death is inevitable, life’s journey may shake us in some unexpected ways. God, regardless of how we refer to Him, is caring, loving and forgiving. He nurtures, He protects and He guides so being angry with Him is not an option. Instead ask Him for courage and strength to deal with your loss. I know it is easier said than done but I maintain that I am no expert and I hold firmly to my belief that you cannot tell someone how to feel if you are not in their shoes.
Grief should not be bottled so don’t bottle it.
Just as you celebrate you, take the time to celebrate the loved ones who have passed on.
Remember their smiles, their words, the love they showered you with and the lessons they taught you. Remember the moments you shared and the impact they have had on your life. Thank God for the time you had together. Ask for peace of mind for yourself and courage to face the realities of what is.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/ A simple click on the above link would help to paint the picture of the reality that mankind faces as a result of plastic pollution. One very important fact we can all attest to is that the Earth is in trouble because of our use of plastics. This is primarily due to how humans pollute the Earth because of the way plastics are used and more so because of the way plastics are disposed of.
On October 17, 2019 His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda issued a call for all ashramites to stop using plastic. To each His Holiness provided an eco toothbrush. Those who are devotees and followers of His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda would surely understand that His Holiness does nothing that is against nature and He also does nothing that is against mankind. Instead it is the very opposite and His love knows no bounds. His actions are always filled with thought, love, sincerity and compassion and this is always directed at all of Creation.
His visit to Antarctica https://www.dattapeetham.org/events/2013/sri-swamiji-in-antarctica-29-dec-2013-to-07-jan-2014 is an example of this. The care given to animals wherever His Holiness goes is another indication of this. Shuka Vana which is home to over 475 species of birds, the koi pond, the Bonsai Garden which has a plant for each of the 365 days of the year, the Gau Shala and His visit to various places around the world is proof of this. One particular memory which stands out in my mind is seeing squirrels and monkeys up and down trees and running around the Ashrama. The way that they are comfortable and the way that they are at peace is evident. No questions need to be asked. The truth is they may not be able to live as peacefully as this in any other part of the country.
As humans we owe it to Mother Earth (Dharti Maa) to take care of Her because she has blessed us with the food which sustains and nourishes us and the land where we make our homes. However we should not take care of the Earth because we feel obligated to but it should be because we care and we genuinely want to. One very real way of doing that is by reducing our use of plastics. It is doable and it is very possible. All it requires is firm conviction (your thought and belief process) and action (actually efforts and measures to reduce your use of plastics).
Here as some ways to help the environment: 1. Recycle- ( glass bottles, plastic bottles, paper, unused books) You can do this by checking locally in your country of residence for this. Those who live in Trinidad and Tobago can refer to this previous post (https://rachaelathomasj.com/2018/01/23/celebrating-nature-recyling) 2. Reduce wastage meaning use just what is needed. Do not use what is not needed. Do not be complacent and mismanage. Such actions will not help anyone. 3. Support animal relief efforts. Provide help at animal shelters or render assistance by helping however you can – feeding, care and the upkeep of the homes of animals. Share information on protecting endangered species and lead by example. Whether it is leather back turtles, birds, fishes or snakes, help animals that you can help. 4. Switch to eco friendly products. His Holiness set a precedent at the Mysore Ashrama. No use of plastics now means eco friendly toothbrushes, compostable garbage bags and no plastic bottles. In essence it means an opportunity to now use eco friendly water bottles that are BPA free and greater use of copper water bottles. These are products you can adopt in your everyday lives. These products are available online and many businesses in Trinidad have eco friendly bags for when you purchase goods or they allow you to bring your eco-friendly bags.
This being said it is advisable to do some research and find out what is available where you live. Go through the internet, go through social media and see what is available for you! Here are some other things you can also look into using: 1. Bamboo cutlery 2. Compostable plates 3. Bamboo fiber cleaning towels 4. Recyclable storage bags 5. Dissolvable due free detergent 6. Reusable bottles 7. Reusable coffee cups 8. Metal straws 9. Paper wrapping Every step counts! Every action matters! Do what you can and make a difference! Save a life, help protect our Earth!