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There is an old fable about a young fisherman named Captain Jace who lived in Piraeus, a city south west of Athens 1000 B.C. ago. His philosophy in life was ahead of its time as he focused on living life instead of avoiding death because he believes that everyone has their time on earth.

“Anyone can die anytime, at any second, and even choke to death from a sip of water. If it’s not time to die, it is not time to go,” he always says.

Many wise elders thought he was purposely chasing after death.

His response to them was, “I am living life! What are you doing wasting yours?”

Although Jace seemed confident on the outside, he did have a dark side to him. He drank mead as if it was water. In his mind, bliss was getting drunk so that he can escape to another world, another dimension of “made up” happiness, because he was in so much pain. It did not bother him if he would wake up face down on the cobble stones in an alley somewhere next morning after drinking all night. He thought he can drink away his pain so that he can forget about the loss of his parents to the Mediterranean Sea when he was eight years old.

When Jace was in his early twenties, he had a very successful fishing business and all the locals wanted their hands on his catch because he would always bring the best seafood. He would voyage to parts of the dangerous sea, strong currents and hidden corals, where no other fisherman would risk their lives to go to find the catch. A few others have tried to compete with him only to have drowned.

“You won’t die as long as you stick with me. It’s not time for me to go yet. Therefore it’s not time for you to go either!” as he boasts to his First Mate, Matthias and his crew.

One autumn day while he is singing his same usual tunes coming back to port, a beautiful blond woman at the port caught his attention. Elena was a tall and slender 5’8” sixteen year old with bluish green mesmerizing eyes to match the color of her dress. Without hesitation, he approached her like as if he had approached many other women before. Except this time, he knew she has caught his heart. They quickly got married within the few weeks of meeting each other despite of Elena parents’ disapproval. She was madly in love with him and there was nothing her parents could do to talk her out of it.

Life was splendor for the first few years of the marriage and his business quadrupled. Elena even convinced him to stop drinking as well. Since his business was doing well, he and Elena lived comfortably where he had a choice to retire to stay home with her.

Instead, he tells her, “I love the sea too much and I don’t want to give it up.”

For him, it is always a hunt, a conquering of man against nature, and to test his immortality against the angry seas so he thought. Deep down inside, he was really looking for his lost mom and dad all these years who’s ship capsized somewhere around the north of the Cyclades Islands.

Elena would always wait for him at the dock on the days of his return except for this one day in summer. When Jace did not see his wife, he went into a fury, a rage that no one can control him or calm him down. He kicked every wooden boxes, woven baskets and barrels that were in his path as he walked on to the dock. After he was done kicking, he ran back to his fishing boat, grabbed all of the twenty two baskets of fresh catch and tossed all of them overboard. No one was able to stop him, not even Mathias.

On the sprint home, past arguments with Elena and negative images of his wife flashes before him. In one scene, he re-lived the event where she yelled at him about how she haven’t felt love from him for a long time.

“All you care about is your fishing expeditions,” she screams.

He yelled back, “I’m trying to provide you a comfortable living. How can you say such things? Why can’t you just appreciate what I’m doing for you?”

In another scene, he imagined her cheating on him with another man in his bed. The more he visualized them together, the more exacerbated he became.

“How could she cheat on me after I risk my life providing food on the table?” he had thought.

These negative thoughts kept stacking one on top of another as he ran towards home.

When he arrived in front of his house, he kicked the front door open with such immense force that doors just parted and fell into pieces. His three servants quickly ran to the side of the house as they know his temper well. They did not want to be in the path of destruction. He searched every room to find Elena but she was not home. He grabbed everything that was breakable in the house and smashed them all on the ground. His was so focused on his rampage that he didn’t notice the shrapnel from the porcelain vases and pieces of limestone from statues on the floor had lacerated multiple places of his feet. He picked up all of the fifteen bottles of mead in his house and left alone with a trail of bloody foot prints towards his boat, alone in the dark.

Within an hour of his departure, dark clouds rolled into the port of Piraeus. The storm brought with a heavy down pour and thunderbolts lit up the sky as if it was day time. Under normal circumstances, even Jace would think twice before sailing out in such foul weather, but he did not care whether he lived or not. His intent was to drink every bottle dry. Jace was in so much pain that he just wanted to be somewhere else but here.

The storm progressively picked up and a fierce gust of wind snapped the main mast in half as if it was a thin twig from a tree branch. The break of the mast did not even flinch him at all. Jace was determined to drink his pain away. The large waves continued to pound his ship over and over as if a blacksmith was trying to shape an amber sword with a mallet. The final wave, a 55 footer, came in and smashed the boat into multiple pieces. Captain Jace went overboard and was sucked into the turbulent wave. The last thing he saw before leaving this world was the dark blue color of water as he slowly drifted to the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

Elena was supposed to come to the port that afternoon but she had lost track of time while praying at the temple. The night before Jace’s return, she had a nightmare that her husband was swallowed by the sea. She went to the temple that morning to pray to the Gods for her husband’s safe journey home. By the time she was ready to leave, the heavy rain blocked her path from returning to her home safely.

After the storm passed later that night, she hurried home next morning to find Jace’s best friend inside her house.

Matthias said, “Where have you been? I have been looking all over for you.”

He told her that he was not able to find Jace and the only things he could recover were the remains of his boat washed ashore. Elena’s heart dropped and broke into pieces like the shattered porcelain and limestone on the floor.

Even though many years have passed since Jace’s death, Elena had always felt his presence around her as she aged into her twilight years. She always felt that he was there to protect her as a guardian angel. Elena could still feel Jace’s presence at the side of the dock where she would always wait for his return.

Jace has been chasing after the past, the lost love of his parents. He never realized that love has always been in front of him and within him. If we constantly chase after what we think is missing in life, we would miss out on what we already have right in front of us.

Had Jace took the time to appreciate Elena’s love, would this story have unfolded differently? Had Jace stopped blaming God for taking his parents away at a young age, would he be able to see that God was trying to teach him a lesson of independence?

– If today was your last day on earth, what would you do or say to the people that you love or had loved?

– Would you still hold your grudges against them?

– Would you still yell at them?

– Would you forgive them and send love and light their way?

– How would you live if today was the last day of your life?

– What if we were to try and live like this everyday?

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Live.Love.Journey!

Thank you Katy Perry for inspiring me to write this story.

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I was walking to a local 7 Eleven near my house a few weeks ago with my yellow Labrador, Tiger, to buy my winning lottery ticket. During my journey, I bumped into an interesting mid-twenty years old man. He wore a gray beanie with snowflake print, a black jacket, and a satchel from Symantec. He greeted me with a smile and said, “Hello, I like your doggie. I used to have a golden retriever.”

I smiled back and went on with my mission into 7 Eleven (I’ll talk about my mission of starting a nonprofit company at another day) and handed one dollar to the clerk for a lottery ticket. Before the clerk gave me my lottery ticket, he said to me, “I will only give you the winning lottery ticket if you smile.” I smile and kindly received the ticket and said “Thank you!”

As I walked out of the store, Mr. Beanie approached me for some help with his current monetary situation. He asked for a cup of coffee and I told him that I was happy to buy him one. “Would you like anything else, like a doughnut?”, I asked and he said, “No, I am just happy with coffee.” I can tell from his demeanor that he wanted both, but also he did not want to impose or project that he’s greedy. I knew Mr. Beanie was of a different person so I was determined to help him.

I said, “Instead of coffee and doughnuts, would you like Subway instead?” He gave me the gesture of unsureness with his should up to his ear and he mumbled “I haven’t had Subway for awhile.” I said, “C’mon, let’s get you some food” and the three of us walked into Subway. The clerk said “What would you like to order today?” as I look at Mr. Beanie to see what he would like. “Ham and cheese please,” he said.

While the clerk was making the 12 inches sandwich, I asked Mr. Beanie if he had enough money for a bus ride. He took about .85 cents in change out of his pocket and said, “Probably not.” I reached in my pocket and gave him what was left in my wallet and said “Here, please take this for your bus ride.” He hesitated for a few seconds, dropped his head and started sniffling. I had to admit, he got me teary eyed as well at that moment. Just then, he gave me one of the warmest hugs I have ever felt in my life. I could feel how much he was in pain as I said to him, “Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright.” Afterwards, he thanked me and we parted.

I cried the whole way driving to the office later that day, and I couldn’t figure why. “Was I sad for Mr. Beanie or was I touched by his genuine gratitude from his heart?” I had pondered for answers but none came to me.

The answer came to me a few weeks later during my meditation practice. I realized that he and I are not very different from one another. We both are going through a winter season of our lives as we walk in the path of darkness. When I helped Mr. Beanie that day, I had offered a flame of hope to ignite his own torch so that he knows he is not alone in this world. On the same token, I could not have done this without the help of my yoga teachers, friends and family in lighting my own internal flame.

It takes a huge amount of courage to ask for help. Showing our vulnerability does not mean we are weak. We are all human and we all need help at different times of our lives.

As I continue this journey inward of the human experience, I am seeking for answers to my own question – “What is the meaning of my life?”

*If you like this blog, please help support me by forward this to your friends. Feel free also to leave feedback and/or questions I’ll do my best to respond.

Live.Love.Journey!

 

Before coming to yoga class today, I was in a state of despair and sadness.

My career is not where it’s headed, and my relationship of one year ended before Thanksgiving.

I had multiple questions on my mind, but I wasn’t sure what that main issue was. I just couldn’t narrow it down to what really bothered me.

Upon settling down in class, by unrolling my red thick yoga mat, something jumped out in front of me.

It was a small look-alike apple seed sitting on my mat, just blatantly staring at me.

Curiously, I picked it up to have a closer look and wondered how it could have journeyed on to my mat.

Then, another thought came to mind and I asked myself, “What does this mean?”

I mean I usually find brown lint from wool blankets, or flocks of some blond girl’s hair on my yoga mat. You don’t typically find a seed on a yoga mat every day, at least not on mine anyway.

As I pondered for a deeper meaning in all of this, I came to a certain conclusion.

I remember that not long ago, one of my favorite yoga teachers said “If you are not happy with your life and are not getting the things you want out of life, pay close attention to the things you have been planting.

Be aware of the problem “seeds” and understand why you have been planting those seeds. Once you are aware, you have the option to plant better seeds in life.”

I came to the realization that the act of planting an individual seed carefully requires placing the palms face down, or metaphorically, employing the gesture that represents giving.

Planting great seeds is not a process that entails having your palms face the sky, in anticipation of receiving. “If you want love, GIVE LOVE!

If you want happiness, then help others without any expectation of return,” is what my heart told me in that moment.

The seed reminded me to have the courage to give even during times of despair and sadness. I now have the seed in a make shift petri dish and wonder what will come of it as I patiently wait and observe.

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Live.Love.Journey!

The picture above was the seed on my mat.