First of all, I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I’m (still) living abroad with a man I met three times in person. Yes, three. I made the quickest and most significant decision of my life in a matter of a week. I jumped into the unknown, and it made for an unforgettable year. The decision rewarded me with rich adventures. I experienced several different cultures, cuisines, currencies, and climates. Meanwhile, making some spectacular memories.

Valuable life and relationship lessons were learned. Being newly married to a foreigner in a foreign country is life and relationship…

I heard somewhere your life’s purpose is to find your life’s purpose,

Why were you put on earth? Why do you exist?

Sarah Jakes, daughter of Bishop TD Jakes, said in a sermon of hers,

……..Why Was Your Spirit Chosen To Be Wrapped in Flesh?

That’s deep.

We are not here by mere accident. Similar to projects assigned in school, we have life assignments to complete. A purpose not only in our living but in our dying. Our death does not stop our purpose. Our legacy lives long after us.

The Reverend Dr. MLK, Jr comes to mind for me…

Vipassana has given me new ways of thinking, living, and working. It’s apparent. The fact of the matter, I’m writing my third post about lessons learned from my experience. Diligence is a character trait I’m intentionally trying to improve. After reflecting on my experience, below are 4 lessons learned about diligence from Vipassana.

Time is the Most Valuable Commodity

More than money, I’ve always known that time is the most valuable commodity. Think about it, the punishment for a crime is a person’s time. A person can never get the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years back. Never. Once it has happened, a moment in…

Adhering to a simple but strict schedule. Day in and day out. 10-days of behavioral conditioning. Not the primary purpose. I don’t think. I consider it a welcomed after-effect. Nevertheless, my life has improved. How? I incorporated 6 life-changing Vipassana practices.

1. Practice Noble Silence

My husband and I are opposites. I prefer silence. In contrast, he likes noise. Something has to be ON. Television, radio app on his phone, Instagram stories, Whatsapp status’. I experimented with noble silence before leaving for Vipassana. I did not talk between 10 AM and 4 PM. It worked wonders. I was super productive. I work more diligently…

Let’s say the Vipassana Meditation Course was an experience. It wasn’t quite what I expected. I imagined spotless living quarters. I dreamt of a botanical garden type setting similar to Kirstenbosch Gardens in Capetown, South Africa. Of course, on a smaller scale. I envisioned participants dressed in yoga attire. Students and teachers walking around in a euphoric state. My imagination couldn’t be farther from reality. From the onset, I was miserable because the experience did not live up to my expectations. Hours upon hours of meditation gradually changed how I viewed the facility. I experienced a meditation mindset shift.

Female grounds (top left), Female living quarters (top right), students on the day before departure (bottom left), Meditation hall (bottom right)

In The Beginning

Irshad…

I’m unplugging for 10 days in Rajkot, India at a Vipassana (vi·puh·saa·nuh) Meditation Center. For 240 hours, 14,400 minutes and 864,000 seconds of my life, there will be…

No television, music, mail, phone calls, visitors, social media, exercising, reading, writing or talking.

Wait a minute.

What?

No talking

…to absolute strangers.

You-got-to-be-kidding-me.

Those are the most fascinating conversations. The art of conversation is my favorite pastime. It’s like receiving a surprise gift. I get goosebumps hearing the conversationalist’s story. The exchange of words which consists of stories about childhood, experiences, and ideologies. …

1. Have a one-track mindset.

You’ve probably heard the saying before, “too many irons in the fire” meaning you have too many things going on at once. Daniel’s (my husband) life is immersed in football. If I didn’t plan weekly outings our couple time would be spent looking at football footage. For over ten years, he has focused on football and nothing else. For example, his schedule is personal train at 4 AM for half an hour to an hour. Between rest and nutrition, he reviews football matches on television (the majority of the time the same matches), highlights on Instagram, and listens to football…

I hate to admit it…

but I’m addicted to sidetracking.

I have grandiose ideas. Brainstorming, strategizing, and setting goals is my thing, meticulously developing elaborate plans to accomplish my visions.

I plan.

The problem is I prolong the completion unless there is a hard and fast deadline.

For example, in December 2018, I planned to read four specific “purpose” books in January of this year.

It’s September, and I’m only on book number three. I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in July. Began reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl in August. I’m currently on the third book…

My internal alarm clock has been going off before the crack of dawn. Consequently, I circle the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an act of worship and daily fitness regimen. The song “Intentional” by American gospel singer Travis Greene plays in my ears. It’s a reminder despite my current circumstances, things are working for my good.

All things are working for my good, yeah
’Cause He’s intentional
Never failing
I know that all things are working for my good, yeah
He’s intentional
Never failing

Beginning of the year, my husband signed a football contract…

Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)

It’s the second half of the year. Can you believe it? I’m in my seventh country in the seventh month of the year (Really eighth country if I count my overnight stay in Oman due to visa expiration — LOL!). Still, I do not have any regrets about my decision “to drop my whole life in the U.S.” It’s been an adventure. I’ve learned a lot about myself — strengths, weaknesses, downfalls, likes, dislikes, limitations, emotions. My aim is clarity for my life purpose and the individuals I was created to serve. Most importantly, I’m learning to trust the process.

Finding Chalanda Michelle

PERSONAL GROWTH AUTODIDACT on a journey to discover the highest, truest, fullest expression of herself.

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