Sunday, July 8, 2018

Zen and Marriage

The rate of divorce is skyrocketing in the United States, and the U.S. Census estimates about half of marriages end in divorce.  According to relationship experts, the number of long-term relationships heading towards separation is becoming more frequent with a longer life span and a growing acceptability of divorce. A case in point: former Vice President, who after 40 years of a seemingly happy marriage, decided to separate from his wife, and announced that they would go their own separate ways. 

So what the experts are in fact saying is that people divorce because they have a longer lifespan, and that divorce is no longer a social taboo.

But marriage is about commitment and responsibility. What our society is saying is that individuals have a right to look for something better as long as they have a breath of life in them, or to opt for something more satisfying as long as something is available to them. If that were the foundation of marriage, then why bothered to get married in the first place? Remember, marriage is not a dress that you throw away when it no longer fits you. If you find that your body has outgrown the dress, you can slim down so that you can fit into the dress again, or you can have it altered so that it can fit into you. In other words, life is about changes, and so is marriage. You just have to adapt yourself to these changes, and that makes it  challenging and interesting, and that is what marriage is all about. You don't just walk away from a marriage because you don't like it anymore. A marriage is a lifetime commitment for thick and thin, for better or for worse.

Are you finding yourself in a marriage that you want to get out of, or in a relationship that you don't like?

Only you have the answer.

However, here are some thoughts of Zen wisdom:

First of all, Zen is not an Eastern religion, but an ancient Chinese philosophy based on the wisdom of Lao Tzu, a sage and the author of the famous ancient Chinese classic "Tao Te Ching."

Life is full of problems, so do not strive to seek a solution to all the problems in life. As a matter of fact, too much striving is the source of stress, which may create more stress and therefore more problems than solutions.

Right and wrong co-exist, so do the desirable and the undesirable. In life, embrace what is pleasant, well as what is unpleasant. Just as Sosan, the Zen scholar, said: "To separate what we like from what we dislike is the disease of the mind."

True love is loving without expectations. Love is never having to use someone to make you feel better. Remember, you are who you are, and you are good enough for the one you love.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Be A Beautiful Mother

If you are a woman, you would want to be beautiful, youthful, and forever young.

What is beauty? Is beauty only skin deep, or something only in the beholder’s eye?

In the Orient, the perception of beauty may vary from that in the West: the focus in the East on inner beauty or the "inner eye" may sometimes seem difficult for the Western mind to comprehend.

The traditional Oriental perception of beauty may have the following inner innate qualities:

1. Compassion for others

2. Detachment from negative thoughts and feelings

3. Peace of mind and inner tranquility

4. Right-mindedness from a true heart

A truly beautiful woman has a serene face with a softening spirit. Such a face is often a reflection of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual aspects of that individual. Beauty is more than skin deep: it exudes inner confidence and radiance.

You may become aware of the first click of your biological clock around age 30, when your first streaks of silver appear on your hair, or around 35 when you first notice your crow’s feet (for some, this may have happened much sooner). Can you turn back the biological clock?

According to Phyllis R. Koch-Sheras, clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, understanding the changes and learning how to accept and cope with them are anti-aging strategies.

Complement your inner beauty with your extrinsic beauty. Nature has given you a lovely face: take good care of it and preserve it diligently with daily facial regimens to make you forever look the best of your age.

Your skin is your beauty. The youthful look of a person is primarily based on the skin of that individual. After all, the first impression of a person is the face: the skin color, the skin texture, and the feel and touch of the skin. Your skin renews itself every 35 to 45 days. Do not interrupt or slow down that skin cell replication process with alcohol or nicotine. Get right and get enough sleep. Above all, do everything you can to maintain its color, texture, and softness. Makeup only masks the defects.

Naturally Skinsational: It provides natural skincare recipes to keep your skin youthful and healthy. It saves you a lot of money on cosmetics that don't work.

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 2, 2018

Making Your Baby Smart and Smarter

Making Your Baby Smart and Smarter

Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a smart baby. Well, at least most parents tend to think that their babies are smart. No matter what you think, make your baby become smart, and smarter with each day passing. You can do that because you are a smart parent yourself; you wouldn’t be reading this book, if you weren’t wise enough.

Are you wise? Well, what is wisdom?

If you have wisdom, most probably your parents are also smart and wise. However, that doesn’t mean that wisdom comes solely from genes. You may have wisdom because you desire to be wise; that is, you want to know more, and the more you know, the wiser you may have become.

If that be the case, then is wisdom closely related to knowledge acquisition? Well, not exactly. Wisdom is more than just being knowledgeable: it is the capability of the mind to see things as they really are, and not as what they may seem to be, or are supposed to be. To illustrate, if you place a baby in front of a mirror, at first the baby may think that it is another baby in the mirror. But, soon enough, the baby will find out that it is just his or her own reflection in the mirror. Likewise, many of us may think that we are who we are; however, with true wisdom, we will perceive who we really are, and not who we wish we were. Wisdom helps us separate the truths from the half-truths about ourselves or just about anything. That is why the path to wisdom involves asking many probing questions about self and others. Therefore, it is important to teach and train your child to ask questions as often as possible.

My Reflection

Asking questions was one of the many first things that I taught my daughter when she was a child. I remember once she asked me why her shadow was always following her. I was amazed at how observant as well as how inquisitive she was. Even now, her husband comments that she always asks questions about this and about that.

Asking questions activates brain cells, and thereby instrumental in promoting brain development and enhancing intelligence. Encourage your baby to ask questions.

Remember, as adults, we have utilized less than 20 percent of our brain cells; there is still plenty of room left for enhancement. All in all, wisdom is the mental capability to see the truths through self-intuition.
Being clever or intelligent, on the other hand, is the capability to acquire appropriate and relevant knowledge, and then apply it to solving problems in everyday life situations. If you are clever, you may have acquired the skills to put things together because you are quick to learn and understand how things work. However; being clever or intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean that you must be wise. Being knowledgeable means knowing what to do, and being wise means knowing when and how to do it in different circumstances to suit one’s unique self and purpose.

Being smart is the first step towards becoming clever or intelligent. Being smart is becoming knowledgeable, which provides the raw materials for intelligence and wisdom: it has much more to do with understanding the how. One doesn’t become knowledgeable overnight. It is a long process of acquisition of information that requires learning and training, as well as time and effort. As soon as the baby’s brain develops in the mother’s womb, start touching and talking to it—and that is how a baby becomes smart even before it arrives into this world. The more you stimulate the brain cells, the smarter the baby becomes. When the baby comes into this world, continue nonstop your daily effort to stimulate his brain to make your baby smarter. Remember, the baby’s brain is like a blank sheet of paper; the more you fill it up with knowledge and information, the smarter the baby will become.

Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Dos and Don't During Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’ve done what only a woman can do: becoming pregnant. Hopefully, this is what you’ve been hoping and planning for. Even if it’s a pleasant surprise to you, pregnancy is going to be a new chapter in your life. Pregnancy is going to change your life forever.

No matter what, it’s important to have guidelines for a safe and healthy pregnancy throughout, and this is what this book is all about: the dos and don’ts, the whys and the why nots of what a pregnant woman should know and act accordingly.

Remember, a baby is the most wonderful gift a couple can give to each other. Pregnancy is an amazing, exciting, and educational experience for a couple to share with each other. From fertility, conception, to the miracle of birth, a couple experiences emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual transformation that is not only sensational but also challenging during this nine-month period.
To ensure that the baby has the best possible beginning in life, you need to empower yourself with the dos and don’ts. Good luck to you and your baby!

Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Role of the Father-to-Be

The man plays a pivotal role in the pregnancy of a woman. In addition to giving the sperms to make the pregnancy a reality, the man plays an important role during and throughout the pregnancy.

The father-to-be should become actively involved in every aspect of pregnancy: attending prenatal check-ups; seeing ultrasound scans; listening to the baby; feeling the baby moving. In addition, he should become knowledgeable, such as talking to his friends or relatives who are fathers-to-be, or who have recently become fathers. He should also make an effort to attend prenatal classes to empower himself with knowledge of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Most importantly, the man should prepare himself with information about what to do in case of emergencies.

The father-to-be should encourage his wife to get more family support, especially her mother, to create a stronger bond between mother and daughter, and even the mother-in-law, especially if the relationship has not been good, and now is the time to mend it.

The man should appreciate his wife’s changing body and emotional feelings. She might have feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. He should give her a sense of security, and a feeling that he is always there for her. It is also important for the man to share his own feelings with her, instead of letting her feel that she is on her own.

As the husband, the man should expect some changes in their sex life, and thus learn to adjust accordingly. The man should help his pregnant wife to feel happy and relaxed throughout the entire pregnancy. In addition to spending more time at home, the man and his wife should exercise together to get her in shape, as well as to tone up the muscles getting physically ready for labor.

When the baby is born, there will be a lot of work for the new parents. Therefore, the man should do grocery and household work to let her get more rest, as well as to prepare himself for the daily chores ahead.

The father-to-be should learn how to massage his wife to help her overcome some physical discomforts throughout the pregnancy, especially the lower back. He should  also know how hold and support her during labor: massaging her lower back, neck, inner thighs, and feet; constantly reminding her to breathe and relax. It is also important for the man to practice with his wife different birth positions—lying on the back, squatting, and kneeling—to facilitate labor and delivery.

When the time comes for the birth of the baby, the father-to-be should be ready, alert, and available when water breaks or when contractions begin. He should be present at the delivery room. In addition to keeping calm, he should be prepared for the expected, such as what happens during labor, as well as for the unexpected.

Be a smart father-to-be to have a healthy baby. Parenting is always challenging.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 18, 2018

Living in the Now

In this day and age with the advancement of technology, living in the now is not easy. Speed is everything, and performance is based on speed and efficiency, which has much to do with speed too. As a result of the craving for speed, the human mind slowly and increasingly becomes more compulsive.

According to the most recent NBC news, even young children have become addicted to speed with their multi social media in their digital world that they have become disconnected with the real world and the people around them.

As a parent, you should make sure that your child or children stay more in the present. Of course, you, as the parent, should also set a good example, such as, not talking on the phone while driving.

Are you yourself living in the present? If you are, your mind should not be focusing on the electronic gadgets, which you are holding in your hands. According to the NBC news report, some children are even texting hundreds of messages a day, and they have lost physical contacts with their families and friends. Instead of eating their dinners, they are looking at their electronic devices. This multitasking is not living in the present, just as texting while driving is not living in the present

Not living in the present is akin to the mind shuffling between the past and the future. Your actions or inactions are derived and driven by your thoughts and memories of your past experiences, and how you project them into the future as desires and expectations. Accordingly, the human mind constantly shuffles between the past and the future. As a result, it seldom stays in the present moment. To illustrate, while talking on the cell phone, how often do you talk about what happened or what you are going to do next? If you think more deeply, the subject of your conversation mostly involves the past or the future. In a worse scenario, if you are talking or texting while driving, your mental focus is certainly not on the present—which is driving your car.

The first step to train your mind to focus more on the present is to concentrate on your breathing. Most of us are totally unaware of our breaths, unless we are short of breath after running or climbing stairs, or due to some medical conditions that may cause difficulties in breathing. Concentration on how you breathe in and breathe out, as well as your body’s sensations during the inhalation and exhalation trains you to develop mindfulness. It is important to know that your body is yours only, and it is always with you. Finding the moment-by-moment relationship with your body through your breathing is your key to wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. Be mindful of the present.

Mindfulness is your deliberate attention to the present moment. This purposeful focus enables you to recognize your thoughts as they occur, but without paying judgmental attention to them; in other words, they neither distract nor disturb you, and you just observe them objectively, like watching a movie about yourself unfolding before your very eyes. Essentially, letting the mind stay in the present is a simple way to meditate.

Learn mindfulness from an expert who provides a useful guide to harness the power of your mind with mental training tools and techniques to perfect the art of mental transformation. Are you living your life, or your life living you?

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Paradox of Pain

If you're a mother, you must have experienced pain in your delivery or during your pregnancy. We all experience pain--which is an inevitable reality in life.

Many people may choose to believe that God has inflicted pain--physical, emotional, and spiritual pain--on them to punish them because of their sins and disobedience. The paradox is: who is really responsible for the pain that comes with aging, separation, physical loss, and dying, among others. The truth of the matter is that humans have no control over their pain. This human limitation is a common human dilemma. Who is really responsible for human pain?

The paradox further perplexes when humans deny the pain, while striving for healing--just like an alcoholic or a drug addict denying, rationalizing, and blaming. That doesn't work. Pain, much like an addiction, can never be overcome simply by denial, rationalization, and unaccountability. 

Pain, despite its darker and unpleasant side, enables us to look at and reflect on the pain we are experiencing. Pain may even show us the brighter side of life--being thankful for what we have, and grateful for not getting what we rightly deserve. Just think about that!

To effectively cope with pain, we must accept it in the first place without denying its existence, then we must embrace it, that is, experiencing it fully and completely, whether we like it or not, and then, surprisingly, we will be on the road to healing and recovery. This is the reality of life. Whether you believe in God or not, this is the miracle of living.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau