Explore Your Ego – Positive Vibes Series

It would be helpful if every time you act upon your impulsive ego, a holographic screen appears in front of your eyes, which would shed light on “why” and outlines the motive! Or, perhaps, you go through an out of body experience to watch how you are entrapped in heedless and primitive impulses, which impel you to be helpless and act irrationally. Possibly, in the future, with the help of technology, you will be able to materialize such visual awareness. Till then, you might as well resort to certain practices that will push you to another level of existence, far beyond hopeless confusion.

First of all, let’s reflect on the sense of ego; whether delving into Eastern philosophy or psychoanalysis, both recognize that uncontrolled and impulsive ego will lead to suffering. 

Moving through different stages of ego to become the best version of yourself is not an easy path. The truth is that if you are lucky, life will sweep you through nasty havoc that will wound your self-identity and crush your image. A breakdown that can lead to a breakthrough by feeding the ideal self. Now, rising from the ashes is to take responsibility for your wellbeing. It starts with realizing that your thoughts are tainted by subjectivity and emotions since your mind has found security in the sense of belonging to the wrong structures, misinterpreted values, and egocentric pursuits.

While you are climbing up the spiral staircase of your spiritual evolution, I suggest you observe and question your motives, your triggers, contradictions, and practice the following transformational self-help:

  • Gain clarity by self-reflection and self-criticism – question your goal; if you feel uneasy about your reactions, cross-examine yourself to align your intent to your essence. Self-analysis is not about beating up oneself or agonizing but to understand the triggers, your role in the event, and blowing away the pollution so that the image of your intentions becomes sharp and transparent. The focus should be on you and not others.
  •  See yourself from another perspective – use abstract thinking to match your motives to your best possible self. That entails imagining your future “Self” in unpleasant circumstances only when channeling your energy to shield your best version. By setting unwavering rules to be of service to all, however, is possible and live as a human, your future “Self” releases toxic struggles and replace the void with contentment.
  • Question the expectations – step back and reassess your approach and your expectations and how they connect to the problem. By re-evaluating the expectations, you will recognize the difference whether they are conventional & reactionary or wise and tolerant.

Remember, you cannot fill the bowl with water if it is turned upside down. To be fully alive is to be well-disposed to “Self” and others. The key is to question your motives every time the destructive “Self”/ “ego” appears. Taking a volunteering leap to an inspired “Self” means using your knowledge, patiently, and for good. Have grit, as the journey is bumpy, and evidently, the spiral staircase will not get more comfortable. You will fall back a few steps, and you will be aware of your limitations. However, regardless of the hardships, this time, with conviction and a humbled “ego,” you know how to get up quickly and how to wipe up the dust. Finally, as you go further, you realize that gratitude and generosity are your mental tools to serve and use your power to benefit others so that you act like an intelligent being.

Featured image by Tom Roberts

Smile, Laugh, Hug, Expect Good Sensibly & Be Kind – Positive Vibes Series

Here’s the shocking truth: very straightforward behaviors such as a smile, hug, and laughter are the fastest way to boost positive emotions, although, there is this huge BUT:  if you don’t feel the sensation do not force it.

Maurizio Cattelan

Nothing is worse than a hypocritical and soul scratching forced laughter that stems from bitterness, resentment, and sheer Janus-faced intention.  It is healthier to be expressive of your true emotions than masking your low spirits by a pretense that “I am a happy jolly person.” Obviously, at times, treating yourself to a necessary smile, laughter or a hug to inspire and encourage yourself or others to keep going is sensible and productive.

Nobody argues that hugging and laughing calm the nervous system, lowers your blood pressure, your stress hormone and positively increases your social connections. However, you should push yourself to aim high by taking conscious decisions to feel good inside. Sometimes, we are confronted with situations where something or someone has made us uncomfortable or annoyed. A fake smile is not the remedy but as Rene Descartes remarked: “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”

Salvador Dali

Elevating your soul is not an easy task. How can you control your agitation? The way forward is to align your soul with gratitude, understanding and questioning your motive as well as others. No matter the intentions, being thick skin is not to put up with rude and unkind criticism. Of course, mastering such an outlook in life takes courage, as a very good friend of mine advised, either let it go and smile or confront it by keeping your tone light.  Like a feather, the feeling takes you to cloud nine, where you feel at ease, where your boundaries are outlined and expect good sensibly with a smile.

Naturally, not every day you can be forgiving, understanding, or want to hug or laugh, the road to self-growth is difficult but remember it is worth every step of the way. As long as you are present in your own life and manage difficult emotions like frustration, anger, and disappointment appropriately, you are on the right path. Occasionally, you feel enraged or sad, do not stifle it and let go of self-judgment. You should accept that being vulnerable is part of being human and maybe along the way, you have tied your self-esteem on things and other people to the extent that might bring the worse in you. It is healthy to pull back, replenish and learn to smile, laugh and hug so that next time they will spare your anxiety.

There is another rule when you are at odds and lack the capacity to express with civility, the ideal is to refuel by tapping into your empathy reserve and re-align your behavior in ways that reinforces your generous, gracious and thoughtful intentions. And what better ways to swell kindness and your noble motives but with a smile, a hug, laughter, and kindness.

Beginner’s Mind – Foundation of Mindfulness # 3

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.

Shunryo Suzuki

Past experiences and preconceived ideas have great value when it comes to making decisions about everyday activities. However, they are tainted to the degree that we cannot absorb the new reality of the present time or the face value of an action, a discussion, or a situation. It is always comfortable to skim through the information to support and validate our previous experience; nevertheless, we tend to lose the possibility of learning a new way of doing things or transforming our ideas for the better by seeing things with fresh eyes.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 11.08.22 AM.png
Art by Magritte – The Human Condition

Everybody knows that some things are simply impossible until somebody who doesn’t know that makes them possible. - Albert Einstein

The real problem starts when you are an expert, one who has more assumptions than questions. Fending off new ways of doing things or not being receptive to new ideas happens to the experienced. An apprehension swishes and contaminates the mind, which in turn will end up either with cherry-picking to justify the established rules and practices or simply dismissal of the new approach.

When we adopt the mind of a beginner, we endeavour to look at things as if for the first time, free from the influence of the past or speculation about the future. We open ourselves to what is here now, rather than constructing stories about what we think is here. Much like a scientist who observes without bias, beginner’s mind allows us to collect raw data. This opens us up to new possibilities, rather than being confined by habits and conditioning. — Tracy Ochester.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 11.08.41 AM
Art by Magritte – The treachery of images

A beginner’s mind is keen to meet a new person, have a fresh outlook on familiar people, or learn a new skill. Practicing beginners’ minds (or shoshin in Japanese Zen Buddhism) feeds a growth mindset. An outlook that refuses to have more of the same for the rest of its life knows well that the safety zone is not always the right place to be. It stales the mind and prevents you from growing and reaching your potential. By default, we prefer to stay in our comfort zone, yet adopting a growth mindset requires courage to embrace vulnerability and humility. To acknowledge that there is always a better way of doing things or when it comes to human relations, we give people the benefit of the doubt.

Ways to Cultivate a beginner’s mind

  • Adopt the notion that endless possibilities exist.
  • Switch off the autopilot mode. 
  • Be in the present moment.
  • Listen carefully when a familiar topic comes up; you don’t have to rush to express your opinion or add value; observe and ask questions like you didn’t know about the subject.
  • Explore something to re-experience the feelings; it can be basic as eating your meal or making your bed.
  • Stop labeling and notice that you are on auto judgment – Ask yourself why you consider things as bad, good, right, or wrong? Is it out of habit? Integrate seeing things in your life as they are!
  • Learn a new activity to integrate challenges to your comfort zone
  • Mingle with people who have a different view of life and explore their perspective and lifestyle.
  • Change a routine in your life, your walking route, exercise, or things you eat. 
  • Practice gratitude and appreciation – it weakens the habit of taking things for granted.

 

For more information, read “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Featured Image by aykutaydogdu

Tell Your Brain To Shut Up and Listen!

As promised, I embarked on the practice of mindfulness meditation to learn useful techniques on how to change our state of mind deliberately. The practice serves as a navigator through the ups and downs of life, transcending the fear and seeing things or the problem as they are. Meditation takes you to a place deep within yourself, a bridge to your inner wisdom that helps you stabilize distress—the optimal formula to nurture the best version of yourself.

At its core, the concept of mindful meditation is nothing more than being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. It is not always about sitting in the Burmese position (mind you, it does help) and chanting a mantra but to be present at the moment. As Jon Kabat-Zinn writes in “Catastrophe Living,” unless you change your way of looking at things, no type of meditation will be useful in the long run. He frames a set of 7 fundamental attitudes that will help with the practice of being present. Non-judgingpatiencebeginner’s mindtrustnon-strivingacceptance, and letting go are to be part of your frame of mind to channel your energies and reach an alpha state. I will dive deeper into each of these attitudes in my upcoming “Mind Series.” 

The practice needs commitment! In the beginning, it will be very hard to include the above attitudes in your thought process, but merely keeping them in mind and applying them in small increments in your day-to-day ways, from eating habits to rituals or working systems, will eventually be ingrained in your thinking.

  • A good place to start is to take notice of your daily habits. For instance, pay attention to what you are eating as if it is for the first time that you are seeing or tasting that food. You can try with just one fruit or any other produce that you like. This exercise involves minding one moment to another and can be extended to other tasks and routines. 
  • Intentionally, build up your efforts and set aside a time during the day to quiet your mind and focus on your breathing.
  • Taking notice of the breath is the anchor that shifts our battling mind and anxieties to a relaxing and calming stage. The turbulence is still there, but even if it’s for a few minutes, this exercise enables you to reconnect to your ability to stay calm.

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 1.13.09 PM.png
Photo courtesy of rafyA creative art designs
  • Diaphragmatic breathing – the idea is to intentionally contract the diaphragm muscle and relax your belly during the inhalation to rise and deflate on exhalation. Lie down on your back or stretch out on a recliner put one hand on your belly. Bring your attention to your hand and feel it move. Practice for 15 minutes every day. (“The power of Breathing, Jon Kabat-Zinn) 
  • The other way of practicing mindfulness of breathing is to be mindful of your breath during the day.

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 1.19.17 PM
Photo courtesy of designrfix.com
  • Kindly observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment and turn your focus on your breath each time you start dwelling on them.
  • Note the persistent thoughts, detect the emotional threats of the self-centered sentiments, anger, hate, or different moods.
  • Recognize that what comes to your mind is only a thought. By redirecting your attention to your breath, you will detach any value to the lingering thought, and gradually, you will have the strength to intentionally let go of the negative emotions and calm your brain.
Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 1.22.37 PM.png
Photo courtesy of designrfix.com

The whole process is not about pushing the unwanted emotions or thoughts away but cultivating the courage to see as they are. Meditation is about accepting the contents of your mind, regaining calm to reach the peaceful brain wave, and finding clarity.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 1.27.29 PM.png
Photo courtesy of designrfix.com

Explore your rhythms and pulses, and in concert with your restyled thinking at the same time integrating gratitudecompassionkindnessforgivenessgenerosity, and tolerance, steadilyyou can lead a robust lifestyle.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 1.52.12 PM
Art of Alex Gross

Take Free Character Test To Build on Your Strength

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu

The concept of building on your character strengths is compelling as; naturally, it has a practical impact on your thought process, your experiences, and your actions. Mainly, the idea is to stop thinking about what is wrong with you or your problems and all the opposing views of oneself and concentrate on your best qualities.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 5.23.38 PM
Igor Morski artwork

“The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in Psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life.”  – Martin Seligman

Exerting mindful energy to change the gloomy, critical lens about yourself and shifting the view towards your positive qualities is a buffer against anxiety, lack of motivation, the need for approval, or perfectionism. What makes us effective is our ability to master our strength, a positive mind stimulus leading to a fulfilling life that contributes to our wellbeing.

What makes us strong are the qualities that show high moral standards; in other words, “virtues.” In Character Strengths and Virtues, Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology and Christopher Peterson, identifies six classes of virtues shared practically in all cultures that made up 24 measurable dimensions of human strengths, based on scientific research and by extensive studies on all major religions and philosophical traditions:

Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, love of learning, perspective

Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity

Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence

Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership

Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self-control

Transcendence: an appreciation of beauty & excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality

Developing the core capacities of human beings achieved by the virtues mentioned above helps individuals maintain their wellbeing and live an accomplished life. To apply this concept, the positive psychology researchers have created tools and tests in a practical and rigorous scientific manner to identify the strengths of character measured by their virtues. The aim is to recognize your signature strength and practice it in new ways each day. For example, if your highest strength is creativity, each day you practice different ways to be creative, whether in introducing yourself, blending creativity in your appearance, learning about a creative person, and so forth.

 

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 5.33.02 PM
Igor Morski artwork

At the core of every individual lies specific character strengths that once honed solidly boost self-confidence gives a sense of direction and the drive to achieve goals. However, innate talent is not enough to ensure a successful result. The ability to improve and play on your strengths while skillfully discern when, how, and in what context your best qualities can amplify productivity and growth is the key to success.

As you focus on improving your good character traits, positive emotions will take shape. This optimistic element encourages tenacity and helps to cope with your vulnerabilities and challenges. You can learn more about your character strengths for free on www.viacharacter.org. The VIA Institute on Character is a non-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio, dedicated to bringing the science of character strengths to the world by supporting research, creating and validating character development surveys, and developing practical tools for individuals and practitioners.

“Positive Psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfilment: meaning and purpose (Seligman 2002, p. 61).”

It is worth mentioning that we have a social responsibility for the benefit of society and our individual lives to engage, be useful, and lead a meaningful life. To fulfill this obligation, two of the fundamental elements that reinforce the wellness of our state of mind and enrich our life and life for others are to cultivate our strengths powered by optimism.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 5.38.48 PM
Igor Morski artwork

The woman behind Spallanzani Jewels – Interview with Gaia Spallanzani

GAIA

Dazzling, radiant, appreciated, loved or inspired are among the many attributes & feelings that we all experience whether through our intimate relations to another or our relationship with ourselves. Over the course of centuries,  people tried to appease Gods with gifts, a gesture of gratitude and honour or exchanged them when they met another tribe to build trust. Increasingly, many other celebrations expanded the gift-giving culture. However, at its core, the symbolic act is to honour someone or oneself for personality traits and achievements.

ONLY YOU - LOVE ring Spallanzani Jewels
ONLY YOU – LOVE ring Spallanzani Jewels

Gracefully, communicating the message of recognition based on deep affections and best wishes is not always easy.  Still, explaining oneself with a single word that says it all, is pleasantly indulging.

Only you Bracelet - Spallanzani Jewels
Only you Bracelet – Spallanzani Jewels

The House of Spallanzani Jewels, founded in 1880, is the embodiment of that stylish and elegance admiration. A Milanese jewelry house with 130 years of savoir-faire and a portfolio of iconic designs, Spallanzani has successfully moved through modern times. Only You, the signature design of the house was inspired by Guido Spallanzani’s, (son of the founder) gift to his wife Rosabianca, a coded bracelet with the message – TSTQCA (Tu sei tutto quello che amo / you are all that I love). 

Stella Bracelet Spallanzani Jewels
Stella Bracelet Spallanzani Jewels

Today, Gaia Spallanzani, at the helm of the family business, has taken the jewellery house to new heights. Inspired by the glamour deeply rooted in a desire to influence the power of belief, she captures the “Oomph” in the collections. With her vision and the craftsmanship of Italian finest artisans, the Spallanzani’s jewelry makes an exceptional gift.

Interview

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

GS: I am a positive person, very superstitious but also very determined. My brain never stops, and I am always looking for new ideas and inspirations. I can also define myself as a very active woman because I balance my work life and my family life… (I have three kids)

Forever Spallanzani Jewels
Forever Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What are the principles in lifestyle that you want to manifest in Spallanzani brand-

GS: At Spallanzani, we represent quality, originality of the design, the pride from being made in Italy and also the history of our brand. It’s in our DNA. We are jewellers for 5 generations; we designed our most signature pieces from scratch. We were the innovators of the style (letter bracelets) that became popular in the fine jewelry in the 80’s.

AMOUR Spallanzani Jewels
AMOUR Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What does elegant design mean to you-

GS: An elegant design to me means something that gives you an ‘allure’ but is timeless at the same time.

Stella hoop earring Spallanzani Jewels
Stella hoop earring Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What does luxury mean to you-

GS: Luxury is something that is not for everybody. It is for a niche of clients.

Jupilings: What is the favourite aspect of your business-

GS: Creativity is what I love in my business and originality. We need shoes to walk, we need clothes to go out in, but we don’t need jewelry. Jewelry is a plus that makes you look beautiful, powerful, elegant, bold; it is like a cherry on top of the sundae. It is the “touche d’eclat” that makes you different and unique. I love that part of my business.

Jupilings: What is the hardest part of your business

GS: The hardest part of my business is sometimes what our client see the products but overlook the effort that has been employed through the process of making jewelry, especially in Italy. Nowadays, people see a product and buy a bag or a pair of shoes because of the price and the look, and they don’t care anymore about the quality. The clients want to work on consignment, and this kills the market. Gold has a price and so does good quality diamonds.

Only You - Sigillo ring B Spallanzani Jewels
Only You – Sigillo ring B Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have-

GS: I don’t have any routines. I can wake up in the middle of the night and send info of an idea I had while sleeping to my team and when I go into work the next morning (if I don’t do it I will forget it), we brainstorm to create one of a kind pieces. I also decide on a theme, we research for all the info, symbols, icons linked to that idea. Alternatively, I also look at our old designs, and from one single piece, I imagine a full collection.

Stella Bracelet with pearls Spallanzani Jewels
Stella Bracelet with pearls Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

GS: The best piece of advice I have been given is for sure: “you are a good seller only when you will be able to sell your pieces”. It is difficult to sell your pieces, your designs as there is always this limit when you don’t know if people will like it or not and worst if the will tell you or not, so I consider it very difficult, but this is something I am working on it.

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures-

GS: For our branding, we pride ourselves on our individuality that brings our clients one of a kind, luxurious pieces. As I’ve been handed down this company through my family, I want to represent Spallanzani as not just another jewelry company. To me, Spallanzani is like no other Jewellery House, and we show this pride through our products by using only the best stones, gold and designs.

stella starlight bracelet pink sapphires Spallanzani Jewels
Stella starlight bracelet pink sapphires Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

GS: A moto that inspires me is ”When there is a problem there is a solution,” so I do all my superstitious routines and then I try to figure out a solution.

Stella chain earring full diamonds Spallanzani Jewels
Stella chain earring full diamonds Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

GS: Who inspires me? I keep thinking of my mother and grandmother. Beautiful, elegant, classy, active and such a determined women, but also very funny.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today-

GS: A woman in today world does everything. She works, she manages the family, the kids, the house, she organizes the holidays and also the day to day. For me, women are SUPERWOMAN today. I am impressed every day by all a woman can truly handle.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor-

GS: I would have loved to be the leading actor of so many movies….above all the movies from the 50’s and 60’s. Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Vacanze Romane...I love Audrey Hepburn she was so classy, natural elegance… so I think I would have loved to be her in one of her movies, but another movie I keep remembering is Sliding Doors with ‘Gwyneth Paltrow.’ This movie explains very well what I firmly think as another motto of mine: “That what has to happen at the end will happen.”

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

GS:  I do have many mottos, one of my favorites would be: “where there is a problem there is a solution and make it happen.”

Only you "I woke up like this" necklace - Spallanzani Jewels Only you "I woke up like this" necklace - Spallanzani Jewels
Only you “I woke up like this” necklace – Spallanzani Jewels