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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Repair or give a new use to somethings (2012.W22)

Bucket Challenge: Repair or give a new life of one of the stuff you don’t use anymore.
(Ending Sunday 3rd Jun 2012)

Most of the time, when our belongings aren’t useful anymore. We just throw them away, like we do with newspapers; we buy, we consume and we trash it.

This habit we take with stuffs can easily shift to people. I’m sure you all now a man who sees women as tools and goes from one woman to another one without really enjoying the relationship.

Throwing things pollute and make us poorer, but don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking that we keep all the newspapers we buy in our life. But as we throw things, it is good to be aware of this act of destruction and consider for a moment if there are no better options. Many things we throw away can easily restore a second life, be fixed or maybe someone else will be happy to receive it.

The simple fact of fixing something allows us to understand its history, how it works and is designed. We never really know how things work, we just use them.

As with people, most of the time we just interact. We don’t try to understand the person and this can lead to many miscommunication. The meaning of the things we say can be very different from the words we use. We communicate a lot through hidden meanings and just listening to the words we say, it doesn’t allow us to understand the hidden messages.

But when you learn, even roughly how things work or why they work like that, it opens a whole new world of messages and understanding. And this may offer you many more options and opportunities.

We tried to restore a bench with some fixes and gave it a new graphic look. Now it is beautifully sitting in the garden, enjoying the spring sun and looking forward to summer! Give yourself this challenge!

Challenge: Repair or give a new use to something

Extra Challenge:

Don’t throw things without having at least 2 seconds of consideration for them. This will define how you interact with life.

Goals:

The comparison between people and stuffs is very close, so please have few consideration for people/stuff and in general.
Time required: 1 hour to much more.
Energy level: Low to High
Preparation: (a) Find somethings to fix (b) Fix it

Need ideas or counsels? www.instructables.com

* Encourage and support us by sharing this post with your friends or clicking “LIKE” if you like our post:)

Don’t forget to share with us your experiences and how your life has changed because of the challenge!!

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Weekly

 

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The Journey into Yourself!

Book review on:
The Journey Into Yourself
By Eckhart Tolle

The Journey into Yourself (Review in Amazon)

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Description for the book: inspiring, be aware of present, inner space,

Why did I choose to read this book?
My Relationship Coaching course has just finished and I wanted to find some readings to further understand relationships, i.e. relationships with opposite sexes, families, friends, others and including with myself. I saw this book accidentally in the audio selection and I thought, why not take a journey into myself, a relationship with myself and see what I could learn in this journey!

With a bit courage, I’d like to share with you that I am a person who don’t take disappointments well, think too highly of myself and sensitive in taking criticisms. It takes lots of energy for me to ‘recuperate’ from the damages. So I thought (a) prepare myself for the potential disappointments; (b) reduce my own ego and (c) knowing myself & my own weaknesses and accept them before others point out or make a criticism about it, these will help me better in equipping for my own defenses. On top of this, I always believe constant searching and improving oneself is a life time mission. So I heard this 10 hour book.

If you are like me or at least the part want to know yourself better, this book is an interesting option! It’s not a step-by-step type of guide book to know ourselves better, but rather focuses on the relationship between “YOU” and “THIS PRESENT MOMENT” and the concept of “ACCEPTING AND SURRENDERING TO WHAT IT IS NOW” at this present moment. This concept helps in bringing awareness to the present, catching and watching own emotions and energy flow, seeing and understanding own thoughts arising and at the same time, allowing and giving the space to ourselves in the stillness to let everything happens in the inner level. It’s a journey into ourselves with different perspective.

What did I learnt or was inspired by from reading?

There are many ideas or statements I have found it very interesting and inspiring! (not sure if I am 100% agree with them, but it’s an opening for me):

  • We are living in the moment of “NOW“, but always at the moments of “the PAST” and thinking about “the FUTURE“.
  • Every thought has its moment coming into our mind, attracting our attention, making us going into details and making us becoming the ‘thought’ itself. We need to be aware of these moments, because we are the master of our thoughts, not the slave of our thoughts.
  • Now” is the prerequisite of being in life; if you miss this present moment, you miss the entire life. When you are connected to this moment, there is no expectation of how this moment should be, but only living it and accepting as what it is at this moment.
  • Be aware of what are the ‘things‘ that distracting you from living and being in this present moments; you have given these ‘things’ higher priority than ‘you are living in this moment’. For example, you are in a middle of a  good chat with your family over lunch table and all of a sudden, your phone rings, what do you do? Are you aware of how you prioritize ‘things’?
  • By Seeing, Feeling, Stepping back, becoming Aware of our own thoughts pattern and Allowing, Accepting as it is, we are creating and giving ourselves a silent space, a silent moment to just BE OURSELVES and a second chance.
  • When we allow, accept and surrender to life, to as what it is, life goes through ‘you’ and you become part of this living life. If you notice your resistance to surrender, it’s a good start to explore the root cause of your resistance and letting go of it. When we let go of what’s holding us back, we become free emotionally and mentally.
  • Zen is everywhere. The state of mind, being Zen, does not require one to perform any rituals, to do certain practices or go certain places; we may enter Zen simply through sound, body, almost through anything everything which requires us a certain level of attention, alertness, openness and letting go of ego, to the status of simply “BEING YOURSELF“.
  • Personal drama gives a sense of who you are; your STORY represents a sense of self. It’s all about ones own EGO. An ego about “I am right“, “I am suffering and you (or the world) owe it to me.“, an excuse to “who I am today” or “whom I have become today“. People normally don’t die with their stories which happened and finished in the past. They continue living in the past pain or glory, instead of living in the present and accept who they truly are, not what they think they are.
  • To simplify life is not to indulge oneself in excessive consumption of own ego.

What will I start doing differently from now?
I am not too sure what would I start doing differently now, perhaps focus more on being in “NOW” and stop thinking too much for the future. What I do know and feel differently is that I notice this silent space within, a space I could store and slow down my emotions (processing them), seeing and inspecting my thoughts (trying to accept as they are without judging them or myself), accepting who I am, being and knowing who I am and choosing how differently I want to react to the event (a second chance to behave from the auto-response).

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Checked, Thoughts

 

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Free Online Courses

The internet’s offering of information is nearly unlimited, but this is not always a good thing. Many people get lost with this overflow of information and don’t manage to recognise good qualities information from bad ones. Hopefully we have Google which never stop improving their search engine and Wikipedia who provide answers to most questions we have in mind. These two websites revolutionise the world, more precisely the access to information.

This post is about a new kind of information revolution. This post is about the democratisation of university level courses provided for everyone and for free.

This revolution gently started in October 2011 when the two most famous teachers in AI start an online course program. To a huge surprise more than 160’000 students registered for this course. There were children, single parents, PhDs… People from all around the world were following the course. I know that because I was one of them. This was an incredible experience, so many views and ideas were sharing in a respective and productive environment.

After the big success of this course and two other ones launched at the same time, an incredible thing happened: Many teachers from different universities started to propose similar free online courses.

And I am not talking about slides and exercises put online but real courses with lectures taught by world-class professors who work in universities like MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley and so on.

Lessons are presented as interactive videos with quizzes, there are also exercises, exams, active communities, slides, etc. Even if there are thousands of students, by a voting system student can vote for most interesting questions and teachers will answer them on YouTube.

Every course is free and for everyone.

Here is a listing of courses I have found.

Course Category University Duration Next Session
A History of the World since 1300 Humanities and Social Sciences Princeton University 12 weeks 17 September 2012
Algorithms, Part I Computer Science Princeton University 6 weeks August 2012
Algorithms, Part II Computer Science Princeton University 6 weeks November 2012
Analytic Combinatorics, Part I Mathematics and Statistics Princeton University 5 weeks February 2013
Analytic Combinatorics, Part II Mathematics and Statistics Princeton University 5 weeks March 2013
Automata Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Stanford University 6 weeks TBA
Basic Behavioral Neurology Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology  University of Pennsylvania 4 – 5 weeks July 2012
Calculus: Single Variable Mathematics and Statistics University of Pennsylvania 12 weeks 27 August 2012
Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology  University of Pennsylvania 4 – 5 weeks July 2012
Compilers Computer Science Stanford University 10 weeks TBA
Computer Architecture Computer Science Princeton University 10 weeks September 2012
Computer Science 101 Computer Science Stanford University 6 weeks TBA
Computer Vision: From 3D Reconstruction to Visual Recognition Computer Science Stanford University
University of Michigan
TBA September 2012
Computer Vision: The Fundamentals Computer Science University of California, Berkeley 10 weeks 23 April 2012
Cryptography Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Stanford University 10 weeks TBA
Design and Analysis of Algorithms I Computer Science Stanford University 5 weeks TBA
Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World Humanities and Social Sciences University of Michigan 10 weeks 23 July 2012
Fundamentals of Pharmacology Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology  University of Pennsylvania 4 – 5 weeks June 2012
Game Theory Computer Science
Economics, Finance, and Business
Stanford University 7 weeks TBA
Gamification Economics, Finance, and Business University of Pennsylvania TBA TBA
Greek and Roman Mythology Humanities and Social Sciences University of Pennsylvania 10 weeks September 2012
Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act Economics, Finance, and Business
Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology 
University of Pennsylvania 4 weeks June 2012
Human-Computer Interaction Computer Science Stanford University 5 weeks 28 May 2012
Internet History, Technology, and Security Society, Networks, and Information University of Michigan 6 weeks 23 July 2012
Introduction to Finance Economics, Finance, and Business University of Michigan 10 weeks 23 July 2012
Introduction to Genome Science Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology  University of Pennsylvania TBA TBA
Introduction to Logic Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Stanford University 7 weeks TBA
Introduction to Sociology Society, Networks, and Information
Humanities and Social Sciences
Princeton University 6 weeks 11 June 2012
Listening to World Music Humanities and Social Sciences University of Pennsylvania 7 weeks 23 July 2012
Machine Learning Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Stanford University 5 weeks TBA
Model Thinking Economics, Finance, and Business
Society, Networks, and Information
University of Michigan 10 weeks September 2012
Modern & Contemporary American Poetry Humanities and Social Sciences University of Pennsylvania 10 weeks September 2012
Natural Language Processing Computer Science Stanford University 8 weeks TBA
Networked Life Computer Science
Society, Networks, and Information
University of Pennsylvania 10 weeks September 2012
Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes Computer Science
Economics, Finance, and Business
Society, Networks, and Information
Mathematics and Statistics
Princeton University 10 weeks September 3, 2012
Probabilistic Graphical Models Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Stanford University 10 weeks TBA
Securing Digital Democracy Computer Science
Society, Networks, and Information
University of Michigan 5 weeks 3 September 2012
Social Network Analysis Society, Networks, and Information University of Michigan 8 weeks September 2012
Software Engineering for SaaS Computer Science University of California, Berkeley 5 weeks May 18 2012
Statistics One Mathematics and Statistics Princeton University 6 weeks 3 September 2012
Vaccines Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology  University of Pennsylvania 4 – 5 weeks June 2012
You can find other courses here.
There is also Khan Academy which have more than 3’200 great videos for college and high school level.
 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Thoughts

 

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Stay Within the Silence Space (2012.W21)

Bucket Challenge: Spend a day in Silence or In the Silence Space You Have Within
(Ending Sunday 27th May 2012)

What is the Space Within? 

The Space Within is the space where you, your physical body and your thoughts becoming aware of and embracing each other. It’s in this space where allowing is taking place, allowing things, objects, events and the understanding of yourself, physically or mentally, just the way they are. It’s the space of letting go of ego, judgments and thoughts, voluntary or involuntary.

Let me explain this way: when an incident happens (for example: a +-35 years old prostitute takes a +-10 years old young girl along while trying to attract business on the road), the incident itself is neutral and as it is (what we be seeing without thoughts). However we, with a pair of tinted glasses (tinted by background, religious beliefs, personal experiences or beliefs, ethics…etc), we have different views than what we actually see (i.e. she is so shameless, she is polluting younger girls, she supposes to protect her …), we have different thoughts and judgments appearing in our brain (i.e. how could she does that.., how she ends up like this …). These thoughts bring emotions to us (i.e. may be anger, disappointed, feeling disgraceful, sad, empathetic …) and perhaps these thoughts also re-enforce your beliefs or actions (once again).

The pattern here is that (1) an incident happens –> (2) We SEE what we want or choose to see —> (3) We FEEL what we think we are feeling or want to feel —> (4) We CONCLUDE what we believe or want to believe, and continue the looping, merely guided by our subconscious mind (whatever suits us, believe or not). What the Space is referring to is that after we have becoming aware of our own pattern —> (1) —> (2) —> (3),

we become aware of our own patterns and take a step back; take the time to see the incident as it is, watch our own thoughts and judgments made instantly, flying in and out of our mind; just allowing the thought and judgment as it is, accept as it is, allowing this moments for – the incident, what you see, what you think and for you alone. This is then the moment the Space arises.

This new Space within is a stillness, a silence, a pause, a chance, an opening to new vision and an opportunity to make new decision (if you want to break your own patterns); it’s an awakening call to see other possibilities and alternatives available out there; it’s a disguised second chance!

From there, the (4) mentioned above will no longer be the same each single time. Because we will be heading into the Space with one question, but leaving the space with many solutions to choose from! :)

Let’s work together to find and explore this Silence Space within us!

Challenge: Spend a day in Silence or In the Silence Space You Have Within
Find the Space Within and spend time with your inner self (this doesn’t mean you stop doing everything; it’s more doing daily things with the awareness of what you, your body and your mind are doing!)

Extra Challenge:

Take 1 or 2 incidents in your life, take them to this space within and enjoy looking at them.

Goals:

To see own patterns, to create this space within, to learn to accept things as it is, to practice and to enjoy the space :)
Time required: 8 hours
Energy level: Medium to High
Preparation: (a) Try limit talking or make contacts with others. It’s a time spent with yourself;(b) Be aware of your own thoughts patterns and actions and allowing this SPACE to come in.

This post is inspired by the book “The Journey into Yourself” by Eckhart Tolle (the author of “Power of NOW“). In his book, there are more examples and insights into the relationship between oneself and NOW and this SPACE allowed for solutions, creativity, inspiration and stillness (peace) to appear.

Here you may find my book review on: The Journey into Yourself (to be published this week).

* Encourage and support us by sharing this post with your friends or clicking “LIKE” if you like our post:)

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Weekly

 

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29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life

Book review on:
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
By Cami Walker

29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life (Review in Amazon)

Personal Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Description for the book: inspiring, encouraging, empathetic, giving

Why did I choose to read this book?
Tell me, who does not like gifts? I was first attracted by the title, “29 Gifts” and then by the story of how misfortune happened on a health individual (could have been on anyone of us), how she went through her battle with sickness and the road of recovery by giving to others. Her spirit enrolled me. Her life started to change when she started to shift her focus from pitying herself to giving others. Positive changes started to happen as she focuses out! It’s not a concept or theory, but a real life story which impacts on others and lives of millions.

What did I learnt or was inspired by from reading?
There are few ideas or statements I would vouch for in this book:                                                           (translation may lead to slight differences in understanding)

  • I will give passionately.” If we give, out of obligation or unwilling heart, this will only create negative energy which no one appreciates or benefits from.
  • When we open our hearts to give, we receive ‘humbleness’ in return.
  • While learning how to give, at the same time, is learning how to receive.
  • Faith + Giving + Gratitude = Abundance
  • When one is indulging oneself in self-center (self-ego), one becomes small, self-focused and lonely
  • one tends to neglect that self is a part of a bigger universal picture to fulfill the needs of human race.

What will I start doing differently from now?
I checked out and joined the 29 Gifts Organisation, Changing Life One Gift At A Time. There are many good initiatives which require our participation and actions to make this world a better place; to remind us showing our appreciation and gratitude to others, i.e. our families, friends, colleagues and strangers, as well as to ourselves.

I like the idea or the concept of ‘Giving‘ and ‘Receiving'; even more, I like experiencing and living through them. This is what makes us human and feel we are living our LIVES!!

Joining Cami :) to promote this GIVING activity! Join us for our weekly challenge: Giving 7 Gifts Away

Video: Cami Talks about 29 Gifts on the Today Show

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Checked, Thoughts

 

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Giving 7 Gifts Away (2012.W20)

Bucket Challenge: Give away 1 gift each day for 7 consecutive days
(Ending Sunday 20th May 2012)

Giving is a virtue; giving generously is a bonus.

To be able to give is a blessing; be able to give generously is an abundance of the heart!

Receiving is a form of giving; giving the opportunity to the giver and allowing ourselves to be humble (that we need other’s help).

If you have not yet opened your heart to GIVE or RECEIVE, this post brings the 1st GIFT to open your heart, if you let us!

People nowadays have more possessions than people 10 or 20 years ago and yet give or share with others much less than 10 or 20 years ago. People nowadays earn much more in monetary terms and yet hold tighter of what they have … Isn’t this contradicting?

For some people, GIVING is natural and it’s not a difficult act. However for some people, they just don’t give, let along giving to total strangers. When you ask them, it’s either the act of giving just never appears in their mind or the act is not a part of their habits, or simply they just don’t feel or want to give.

Everyone takes RECEIVING differently. Some do not really like it, their ego see it as they are being pity on. Some are very fond of it as they take advantages of others via receiving from them. And some see it as the opportunities to connect and sustain the two ways interactions, thus the relationship.

With GIVING or RECEIVING, the action is not merely a DO, but a sincere GIVING or RECEIVING involves our hearts, genuine caring, open mind and careful execution. So both the giver and the receiver are content and fulfilled in the process. They both experience what they want to experience and will promote this GIVING and RECEIVING further with people around them. There was a movie, Pay It Forward also promoting similar concept! Have a look in YouTube video :)

So, our challenge for this week is to GIVE and to RECEIVE with your heart! It’s not so much about giving the tangibles, i.e. money, car, clothes, books away to others, but more about to offer what you have that are intangibles, the elements that make up the YOU today, i.e. your kindness, wisdom, helpful hands…etc. And as to RECEIVE, our challenge is to be aware of how open we are to receive from others and how we receive from others.

Start with giving a gift after you have read this post and experience yourself the feeling of GIVING!

Our first gift to give away is this POST to our readers :) Hope this 7 days gifting and receiving experience impacts and influences your life! Come join us!

Challenge: Give away 1 gift each day for consecutive 7 days!
Share your abundance with others

Extra Challenge:

Increase to 14 days!

Goals:

To experience via giving, how life around us may be changed ~ (and notice how valuable you are!)
Time required: x hour(s) each day for 7 days (depending on what you offer to others)
Energy level: Medium to High
Preparation: (a) Set your mind to give without expecting any returns;(b) Focus more on the intangibles (i.e. help, advice, words of comforts, actions) that you may offer to others than the tangibles (i.e. money, food…etc).

This post is inspired by the book “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” by Cami Walker.

Here you may find my book review on: 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.

* Encourage and support us by sharing this post with your friends or clicking “LIKE” if you like our post:)

Don’t forget to share with us your experiences and how your life has changed because of the challenge!!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Weekly

 

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Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

It was quite a change to leave the coldness of Patagonia for the warm and humid jungle of Iguazu. By just traveling in Argentina it’s possible to see nearly all kind of climates.

As you can see on the maps the waterfalls are on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

After 20 minutes in the bus from Iguazu city, we arrived in the Iguazu National Park where we can see the waterfalls. It took us one full day to fully explore the waterfalls and the park. And I use the plurals for waterfalls, because there isn’t just one big waterfall, but many ones with different levels and sizes. It was fantastic to discover new waterfalls while we were exploring the jungle.

Here are some pictures we take:

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Thoughts

 

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