My son was born 7 weeks early. He spent the first 78 days of his life living in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A dozen nurses helped his father and I take care of him, watching him and feeding him when we weren’t able to be there. They taught us how to hold him, how to feed him, how to change his diaper. They showed us how to swaddle him when he was upset. When he accidentally ripped his nasogastric tube out a dozen times, they showed us how to replace it (though we never really did) so he would continue to receive the breast milk I spent hours each day pumping so he would have as many nutrients as possible. (more…)
Last week, South Carolina experienced the worst flooding is has seen in 1,000 years. World Mom, Sophia, shares her search for clean water after the storm last week…
Today the National Guard had two posts at which troopers were giving out clean water bottles by the case. As I prepared to go get some of this water, I thought of the safest, most effective and expeditious way of getting through the line of people waiting.
Would there be a truck at which troopers would be handing out the cases? Would there just be a group of us standing there with no adhered-to order, or would there be a line? How could I carry more than one case back to my car? I surely couldn’t get to the front of the line (or group) more than once… Maybe I should take the stroller, and put as many cases of water on it as I could take. (more…)
World Voice: An Interview on Heartfulness Meditation – #IDayofYoga #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga
International Day of Yoga is June 21st
This week our Senior Editor of World Voice Column, Elizabeth Atalay, interviewed our Senior Editor of Africa and Middle East Region, Purnima Ramakrishnan, about Heartfulness Meditation in relation to the International Day of Yoga.
Elizabeth Atalay: What is Heartfulness Meditation?
Purnima Ramakrishnan: Heartfulness is to feel the already existing deep inner connection of the human being with the heart. It means to experience every single aspect of life in a natural way of the heart. It means to live life in the best way possible.
EA: Why Heartfulness?
PR: We are all connected with each other only though our hearts. In any relationship, personal or professional, in any decision making process, in any life altering situations, in any thing which ever matters or commences or ceases, it is the heart which matters. We feel in our hearts to do or to be or to exist.
We always listen to our hearts. We need this deep connection with our hearts. That is the core of our existence. That is what matters for us, as human beings, in our lives, to be happy and joyful and to be able to follow our hearts. So Heartfulness is a way to do this with a deeper and more connective consciousness with the heart.
EA: Is Heartfulness a type of meditation?
PR: I personally feel “meditation” is a very over-rated word in today’s world. When you close your eyes and think for some time to make a decision, are you contemplating, are you meditating on that aspect? When you sit down silently, by the mountains and close your eyes and feel the peace all around you, do you call it meditation?
When you hug your baby and feel that beautiful joy of a hug, which you would continue to prolong for as long as your baby lies still, is it meditation or is it just an experiencing of joy/love? That is Heartfulness indeed. That is meditation too, if you call it that way. We are meditating every single day, every minute on something or the other. Our hearts are always “working” on something, at times even on stillness.
EA: So do you practice this Heartfulness meditation? If yes, how?
PR: I sit down, close my eyes, and suggest connecting to my heart. I am aware of my heart. Sometimes a few mundane thoughts come along the way – everyday thoughts about everyday life situations. But I still continue with my connection, I continue to feel the brightness in my heart, the stillness in my heart. I feel the joy and peace there, I try to tap into it. And it feels good.
EA: As a #WorldMom of World Moms Blog, how do you think this is useful for mothers?
PR: As a #WorldMom, I say, we mothers are the care-takers of this world, care takers of our babies, children and of our families, which make the structure of the society. It helps mothers stay balanced, stay happy, spread the joy in the family. Personally, it helps me be more connected and intuitive to my child’s needs and well-balanced in my mind for my own personal happiness and development.
EA: Is this something which everyone can participate irrespective of their religious and social/national constructs?
PR: Can everyone (irrespective of their beliefs) go to the doctor when they are unwell? Of course! Taking care of one’s body is a primary duty.
But very often we ignore the cry of help from our own hearts and minds. And to meditate everyday, to feed the soul, to take care of the soul, to enrich the heart, is a duty.
Once I started doing it, I felt it gave me a lot of strength, joy and well-balanced, holistic, emotional and mental life.
EA: Would you be able to help the World Moms with an experience of this?
PR: Yes, definitely. We could have it over skype if our contributors and readers would like to join or I could also suggest local centers where they can go and experience it.
EA: Lastly, how is this Heartfulness Meditation related to the Intenational Day of Yoga?
PR: Ah! Here comes that aspect, where all this discussion started!
India has always been a hot destination for spiritual seekers. From the time of Paul Brunton, India has always been a mystic place with seekers coming here for spirituality. And recently too, the Prime Minister of India, Honorable Mr. Narendra Modi has been instrumental, in the UN’s declaration of 21st June as the International Day of Yoga. Indians have been yogis always, India has been the house of meditation.
All the yogic postures and breathing exercises are fundamental to train the body to be able to sit in meditation for hours together.
The yogis meditated for centuries together, in the jungles and in Himalayas.
Everything they did is for this final act of being able to meditate effectively. However today, we are easily offered this way of the heart, to be able to meditate effectively, to connect with our hearts, for short moments during the day whenever we feel a need, whenever we feel the want, and to experience the joy. So, yes, yoga evolves into meditation, eventually in an aspirant’s journey.
Everywhere in India on June 21st, (including Rajpath where the Presidential Residence is present) and all across the world, different schools of Yoga and meditation are organizing Yoga demonstrations and meditation sessions.
Here at World Moms Blog, we would like to invite the contributors, readers and fans of World Moms Blog for a meditation session on Heartfulness.
Venue: Here on World Moms Blog
Time: Check in any time on June 21st for a video here on World Moms Blog to guide you through heartfulness meditation with Purnima.
Edited on 21 June, 2015, International Day of Yoga:
There is a video below about Heartfulness Meditation. If you are interested, please try to do this in the following way.
1. Gently close your eyes. Relax your body. Empty your mind.
2. Suppose that the Source of Light in your heart is attracting you from within your heart.
3. Rather than trying to visualize it, simply tune in to your heart and be open to any experience that you may have.
4. Do this for as long as you can. It could be 30 minutes. It could be longer or shorter than that too.
5. If your mind wanders and ‘thinks’, gently bring your attention back to your heart.
If you like to do this often, then please do it everyday. It rejuvenates your heart and mind and you feel so ready to take on the world. Please leave your comments in this page and/or contact me through this page – here.
Would you like to try on the next advanced stage after a few days? Let me know and I shall help you with a few more resources and contacts. Or you can do it through this page here too.
Above Video and photo credit to www.Heartfulness.org
Come to think of it, we managed nearly four years in Paris without needing to do so. It helped that we lived across the street from a pharmacy (a distinct Parisian ‘landmark’). Those days, we relied heavily on self-medication and the advice of our friendly pharmacist.
This time around, these options couldn’t cut it. Our 22 month-old daughter had already been ill for a week and wasn’t getting any better.
Having only recently arrived in Abu Dhabi, we had no idea about which pediatrician to consult. Armed with a recommendation from a mum’s group, I called up only to find out with some panic that the earliest appointment was in four days’ time. After some frantic telephone conversations with my husband, we made a dash for a walk-in clinic which closed its doors at 1pm.
While this may be common in many countries, it is not something that we would have encountered back home. In Singapore, we could always see our pediatrician at short notice after a quick phone call. This was always reassuring, especially for first-time parents who made a big deal out of every rise in temperature or unusual cough.
Our experience at the clinic made me a little homesick and left me wishing for many things, big and small, that we often take for granted back in Singapore.
This feeling was further intensified a few days later, when news broke that Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, had passed away.
Amid the numerous news reports and posts on social media from friends and folks back home, I felt a keen sadness for the nation’s loss of the man who made Singapore what she is today.
Countless politicians, heads of state, journalists and media outlets inundated us with statements, commentaries and judgements on the life and impact of our “giant of history”. I leave this to them.
What I’ve been mulling over, what preoccupies me as a parent, is what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy entails; it’s what he has left Singaporeans, our future generations and my daughter.
Every opportunity is available to my daughter:
- She has access to education from an early age and will never have to struggle for the right to go to school.
- She can run around freely in our neighbourhood and enjoy her childhood innocence in playgrounds.
- She can go out with her mother now, or alone in the future, without restriction or the necessity of being accompanied by a male presence.
- She can travel around our little island on public transport, and see marvellous skyscrapers and iconic buildings, all set amidst verdant flora.
- Her safety outside our home is not an issue that her father or I have to worry our heads about, neither does she need to be anxious over whether her parents will get home safely at the end of the day.
- She will have friends from so many different cultures and nationalities, and she can be proud of being able to claim heritage from multiple cultures.
Every opportunity awaits my daughter, for her to make something out of it.
For these and many other reasons, my heart hangs heavy and yet swells with pride for our tiny island and I long for the next time we arrive again at Changi Airport, to see the sign “Welcome Home”. It is a home and country that a visionary built. It may not be a perfect place but my daughter has so many things to be thankful for.
This is an original, first post to World Moms Blog from KC, who is currently stationed with her family in Abu Dhabi but born and bred in Singapore. This is their first international job posting with their daughter, TT, who is now 22 months old. You can read more about Singaporean-expat life through KC’s eyes on her blog, Mummy In Transit, or through her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/
Last week special correspondent Anna Gress covered the opening night of the Women In The World Summit for World Moms Blog. The evening launched three days of emotional and inspirational speakers, and panels highlighting the singular truth that Women are key to global development and peace. The sixth annual Women in The World Summit was presented by Tina Brown Live Media in association with the New York Times, and took place at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The topics were tender and the experiences the women were sharing emotionally centered the entire audience. The atmosphere of the auditorium was indescribable.- Anna Gress
Opening night we heard Saida Munye, the mother and activist spoke on the “Girls as Weapons of War” panel. She shared her story of losing her daughter to a Jihadi recruiter. Her activist message illustrated the power of a mother’s love and created a platform to educate the audience on how she fights to prevent other mothers from enduring the same pain.
As a society and within different cultures, we bottle up sharing and declaring eternal and everlasting feelings, but this was a clear message as Saida spoke.
Communicating with love is the only way to affect a person and to make a change.
Saida was asked by the moderator what would happen if her daughter were to return and without hesitation Saida responded, “As hard as your children may be on the outside there is an inside, do not give up on them.” In closing, Saida left the audience with one message, a message she hopes her daughter will hear where ever she is in the world, regardless of her affiliation with Jihad, “My heart is like the ocean that can clean the earthly waste, I want her to become what she has been before. I still believe…she has my ticket to go to paradise.”
The other opening night panels proved equally as impactful:
During The Sons We Share an Israeli woman and Palestinian women shared how their personal losses forged a path of forgiveness and friendship. The biggest takeaway from this panel was perspective illustrated in the mother’s quotes;
“When you see humanity that is the beginning to the end of conflict.”
“You can say a lot, but do you meant it, forgiving is giving up your just right for revenge.”
“Walk the walk, talk the talk, take the steps.”
Three Great Women of Film with Jon Stewart and Meryl Streep closed the opening evening with the power of Story. Sharing stories is our goal at World Moms Blog, to share our stories across countries and cultures, and forge the connections that we need with each other.
We leave you with two more of the many outstanding moments throughout the summit, 10 year old poet from Kibera School for Girls, Eunice Akoth and closing remarks of the summit by Angelina Jolie on the ongoing, unending, tragedy of Syria.
Anna Gress began her career in NYC after early graduation from Ithaca College in December of 2014. She worked freelance producing events at the BBC post graduation and currently is an Account Coordinator at CIVIC Entertainment Group a Seacrest Global Group Company. She is passionate about women’s equality and interested in building ambition and confidence within young people.
Early in the evening, we heard that he was not doing well. Then again, as is the way here, we had been hearing a great many things since the king had entered the hospital. Although Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi, has a population of four million, it still functions like a little neighborhood. Everyone has a ‘reliable source’ on the inside. As a rule, I do not believe anything until it is officially on the news–and even then, I take it with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, it was hardly a surprise when, at 2:00 AM, Saudi Arabian television announced the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the age of 90. Even though I expected the news, it broke my heart.
I watched the local Saudi channel for a while, then I switched, curious to see how the foreign press would frame the news. They appeared to be competing to see who could be the most negative about Saudi Arabia’s progress under King Abdullah’s reign. Although their own experts pointed to the king’s many accomplishments, the foreign networks seemed to delight in ignoring them and focusing on the dissidents. Reporter after reporter repeated that progress in Saudi was occurring at a ‘glacial rate.’
The western media used its standard to measure my country’s progress.
Maybe they assumed that their standard is the one all the world should aspire to? They ignored how different Saudi is in our priorities, life style, and even our wants and needs. They ignored how young a country we are, and they certainly did not measure how far we have come.
By the morning we had a new king. No bloodshed, no chaos, no ‘state of emergency’, no transitional government. We have come far under King Abdullah’s reign. Yes, Saudis do recognize our shortcomings, and, yes, we do want to–and will–improve. But we should, and will, recognize and celebrate our accomplishments along the way.
We must be doing something right, as we are the most stable country in the region. We are battling the Houthis in the south, ISIS in the north, and successfully fighting terrorism on our own soil, all while growing our universities and health care system. In the past decade, women have been elected to the Shura Council, which advises the king. Twenty-eight universities were built. Two hundred thousand students were given scholarships to universities overseas. Six medical cities were built, 11 specialist hospitals were built, and 32 general hospitals were built. Finally, as a woman in Saudi Arabia, I seen both an expansion of the opportunities I have in my own life, and in the paths that are being laid for my daughter’s future, which far exceed anything available to me when I was her age.
For days after King Abdullah’s death, I could not stop crying. I watched my country mourn on the streets around Saudi. It was as if we had lost our own father. He was so beloved that people who were not related to him, who had never even seen him in the flesh, were giving each other condolences on his loss. His life fulfilled the adage, “When you are born, you cry and the world rejoices. Live your life so that when you die, you rejoice and the word cries.”
Picture attributed to Edward Musiak and used under a Flickr Creative Commons License.