Habit #7 : Getting & Staying Connected

The 7th Habit in our series of highly spiritual people is ‘Getting & Staying Connected’. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Matthew 5 : 13-6

Matthew 5:13-16   |   Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

It talks about how we as spiritual influencers should be living examples of Jesus’ spirituality wherever we may go. The internet, on-the-go mobile devices and social media today give us the ability (a curse if left unchecked) to stay connected anywhere anytime with people we love as well as people we look up to. It has become seamless to converse with many people across geographical divides (as well as cultural and socio-economic ones) to bond, debate or challenge.

So, how do we live as the salt and light of the earth?

This brings me back to a couple of stories I’ve read from the internet shared by people and I think these two especially captured the essence of what I’m trying to say here – Click here for one and two. Not exactly salt and light but hey, coffee is a good metaphor too!

There is a new ‘back-to-the-basics’ sense of spirituality and awareness that’s sweeping the world these days. People are becoming tired of the affluenza and ever-growing need to be more ‘successful’ and many have simply given up or are looking at ways to simplify their needs and in consequence, their lives.

Have you read about Jose Mujica, the world’s ‘poorest’ president, or about how newly elected Pope Francis is ‘living’ the new spirituality – simplicity?

Or this video about one of the world’s richest (and most wealth-magnetic) businessmen?

Interesting times, but one that empowers us so much that it is quite literally, the Age of Possibilities. This age, more than any other in our experience is one which has so much potential and possibility in it that you can almost become anyone and achieve anything you could dream of within one lifetime.

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben, from Spider Man

And because ‘Knowledge is Power’ – that basically means all of us who have access to knowledge and who spread knowledge are now endowed with a lot more power than we can possibly imagine. We must steward that well.

You can begin with some of the best tools to get and stay connected :-

1. Facebook
2. YouTube
3. Google+
4. Path
5. Instagram

I hope that the last 7 blogs on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People have helped you take your spiritual journeying to the next level. To close this entry, here’s a little YouTube video on something about a change of perspective – and how that can sometimes create a new reality, which is after all, how new habits are formed. Enjoy!

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Habit #6 : Serving Others

Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.“- Mother Teresa

Highly spiritual people are always looking for opportunities to serve others. In order to serve, one needs to be attuned to the needs (not merely wants) of others around them. Compassion plays a huge role in this. It’s in our DNA to serve, one have but to look at quotes on service and serving to see that serving is part and parcel of leadership and influence.

Where do we start? How do we cultivate a habit of always wanting to serve? One attribute that helps is a feeling of gratitude. This sense of being gracious and blessed motivates one to seek out another and pass on the blessing. Highly spiritual people are usually more patient, compassionate and generous because they understand and appreciate the blessing that they can be in another’s life.

Don’t believe me, or agree? Let’s start with something basic. Try this website.

Did that help? No? The stats may be a bit outdated, but it’s hasn’t really changed that much because the gap between the rich and the poor has also become bigger.

How about this website? Helps put things into perspective once you start to focus on a scale you can wrap your mind around, doesn’t it?

Here are some links to websites and resources that puts some pretty big ideas, concepts and social justice issues on the map (literally)…

1. The World’s 5 Most Dangerous Countries for Women
2. Seeing the bigger issues in life
3
. Organized Crime : The World’s Largest Social Network
4. Where Children Sleep
5. Our World 2.0

And here are some links to websites and resources for you to start a movement or two…

1. http://www.3things.org.au
2. http://www.twibbon.com
3. http://www.avaaz.org
4. http://www.dosomething.org
5. http://www.squidoo.org

To end this blog, here’s a little video about Gratitude – wonderfully filmed, but more importantly, it’s the thought that counts! So, be gracious today and bless another!

Habit #5 : Valuing Your Relationships

One of the biggest insights one can have about spirituality is referenced through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you want a quick, easily digest-able and contemporary exploration of how the hierarchy works, here’s an interesting video illustration based on Disney’s movie, Up.

Relationships (or sense of belonging) is one of the most prevalent needs in the hierarchy – especially so in our 24 x 7 x 365 uber-connected world today. Teens fully live the ethos of hyper-social-connectedness. That’s one of the reasons why kids and teens these days as so into Facebook, social media and keeping in touch. Many fail to realize that the tech is not the motivator, merely the means – sense of belonging (and wanting to be a part of the crowd) are the key drivers.

In Jesus’ time, staying connected must have seem pretty archaic compared to today. The lyrics from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar always reminds me of how different things were then than today. Mass communication today is extremely pervasive and ‘devastatingly’ effective. That doesn’t mean it’s positive or always constructive though.

By the way, those of you who wish to go back to the days of pen-pals and snail-mail communications, well – there’s an app for that!

So, how do you value your relationships (spiritually) in this day and age of technological ‘boom’? Here are some apps to help you be the light and salt to the earth…

1. Amen – Spread the good things in life by commenting and advocating good stuff, and shooting down bad stuff
2. Twitter – Attract or join a tribe of like minded people via microblogging
3. Facebook – With FB, you can connect with family, friends, organise events and causes
4. Pinterest – Seek and share all the nice (and weird) things in life with people around the world
5. Google+ – Join and subscribe to special-interest communities and share your own personal learnings
6. Cards – Use this app to create a personal photo card on your iPad or iPhone and mail a physical card to anyone anywhere in the world!
7. Evernote Hello – This awesome app helps you to keep track of contacts and those special meeting moments in a timeline
8. Evernote Food – Another awesome app to keep track of those gastronomic adventures with friends and family
9. Occasions : Birthdays – A great app to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries (including those from FB calendars and contacts)
10. Zapd – Easily set up a website (looks professional and snazzy) on the go from your iPhone or iPad!

To end this blog entry, here’s a link to 99 stories that MMT (makes me think) – a collection of seminal life snippets from real people impacted by real experiences in their relationships that change the direction of their lives. Enjoy!

Habit #4 : Feed Yourself (spiritually)

Onto Habit #4 : Feed Yourself (Spiritually)!

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

That’s what comes to mind each time I open my bible.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” – Psalms 119:105

Feeding yourself spiritually has become soooo convenient and easy with all these new gadgets and ‘gotta have it now’ online resources.

Here are some examples…

1. Want to log onto and study the word from the world’s oldest bible? Check!
2. Want to subscribe to hundreds of devotions and reading plans that keeps you on track and nudge you each time you fall behind in your daily/weekly/set-your-own-period schedules? Check!
3. Want to join an online community to debate and expand your understanding of scriptures and exercise your inner prophet? Check!
4. Want another point of view about issues and subjects about spirituality – a non-religious and non-denominational view? Check!
5. Want to discover what others are thinking and discussing ‘right now’ about specific topics or subjects? Check!

Here’s a link to a recent and very interesting article about one of the most popular and fastest growing bible apps today. It is most revealing and a harbinger of thoughts and motivations to come…

If you’re stuck looking for the right (very personal, I am sure) bible app for you, check out this link and article. It’ll hopefully point you in the right direction. Or not!

Most of the bible apps come with note-taking and bookmarking capabilities if you are, like me, someone who enjoys taking notes and keeping track of fave verses. Alternatively, you can consider these apps if you prefer to keep the ‘studying’ separate…

1. Evernote
2. Catch Notes
3. Dunno
4. Awesome Notes
5. Notable Quotes
6. Trunk Notes (Awesome and super-duper wiki-based app – learn about wikis here)
7. Notes Plus / Moleskine Journal / Penultimate / Paper / Noteshelf

If you’re into audiobooks and ‘listening’ rather than ‘reading’, there are audio bibles available in the iTunes store, and some of the downloadable bibles on some bible apps come with audio versions too. Or, you can cheat with your iPad and get Siri to do your ‘reading’ for you (see below)! Only available on the latest iPads though…

To sign off, here’s a little food for thought… Scary and mind-boggling statistics, even more so considering it was aeons ago (3 years!!!) – Happy feeding!

Habit #3 : Know Yourself

Habit #3 : Know Yourself – Whenever I see or hear this phrase I always recall a quote by St Augustine

“The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance” – St Augustine.

Incidentally, this quote is also featured abundantly in my fave book, Dune. This quote pretty much sums up how difficult it is to change oneself, especially when it comes to mental and habitual (or behavioral) change. Highly spiritual people know that change is something that God wants to do in us, as evidenced in the popular verse from St Paul,

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

So how does personal change work (especially mental change)? Where does one begin?

Well, if you log onto iTunes U, look up John Medina‘s (author of brain rules) Brain Rules series, you’ll get a kickstart! The series is entertaining and enlightening, a bit offbeat but very insightful once you get it. You can get to the free video series in iTunes U either on iTunes on the computer (search for ‘John Medina’) or using the iTunes U app on the iPad. Subscribe to the series and it’ll start downloading. There’s about 20 short videos in different bite-sized chunks so it won’t overwhelm you if you take it one video at a time. Definitely worth a look.

If you’re looking for another good book for personal change with a bit more of a spiritual slant, try ‘Battlefield of the Mind‘ by Joyce Meyer. It’s a bestseller and now comes in a different version for teens as well. So, you can read it, then recommend for those teens to read!

To recap Session 1 apps, try these for personal change

1. Last Time Log
2. Focus of My Day
3. Optimism
4. Life Balance
5. Daily Tracker

These apps will help you reach out and influence others – just by being and sharing 🙂

1. Facebook
2. Path
3. WordPress (start blogging!)
4. Google+
5. Amen

Another good app to try out if you’re into interactive storybooks where you choose different actions in the plot and end up in different situations, is ‘Choice of Kung Fu‘. It’s got a pretty cool spiritual slant to it too!

Lastly, here are a couple of videos I like about personal change and influencing others… some of them are ads, while others are pretty long and ‘deep’ but all good. Enjoy and share them around!

On Challenging Self

Award winning short film – Validation

And here’s one I saw today that’s pretty funny about change…

Habit #2 : Meditate | Contemplate

Moving onto habit #2 – Meditate | Contemplate...

Now that we’ve tackled the habit to make more time, let’s put the time to productive use – praying!

There are many apps and resources out there to help you in your prayer / meditation / contemplation pursuits. You can find them easily by searching with keywords in the iTunes App Store, iTunes U and Podcasts apps on your iPhone or iPad. Once you download or subscribed to these apps or channels, you’ve got a steady stream of resources of apps and media to keep you going.

For example, do an app search in the iTunes app store and you get a whole catalog of apps you can try out and see if they might help you to keep that new habit (see below).

Screenshot_prayerapps

As you meditate and contemplate, you might need some tools. Journals, diaries and notebooks are available for almost any kind of preferences – if you like typing, writing, scribbling, sketching, even audio recording, or all types at the same time!

Just to make it easier, if you’re into writing and scribbling, try these apps

1. Paper
2. Penultimate
3. Noteshelf
4. Bamboo Paper
5. My Bic Notes

If you’re into diaries and typed entries, try

1. Day One
2. Awesome Note
3. Evernote
4. Daily Notes
5. Notestab

For those of you who are more ‘creative’ and long for combinations of writing, scribbling and even videos, consider

1. Noteledge
2. Mental Note
3. Moleskine
4. Online services and app such as WordPress
5. Magical Pad

Lastly, when praying and meditating, we sometimes need the right ambience. These apps and resources can help you get into the mood…

Screenshot_gregorian

1. In your iTunes music on your laptop, you’ve got access to internet radio (Gregorian Chants in Classics is one of my fave channels – see pic above)
2. If you want access to internet radio on your iOS device, try Tunein Radio
3. Apps like Bloom, Naturespace and Relax Melodies can help with natural, ambient sounds
4. If you need to do something to do with your fingers while you meditate, try Bloom in ‘creative mode’ and Koi Pond
5. If you’re the intellectual kind that needs something to reflect on while you pray, try Rhema, Gratitude Diary or Gratitude Journal.

Hope this exhaustive list of apps will keep the momentum going for you. As a sign off, here’s a video to set the tone (while we’re on the subject of ‘Gratitude’ – awesome video)

Habit #1 : Making Time to Pray

Habit #1 – Making time to pray…

First, let’s talk about ‘making time’ – crucial before anything else. If we don’t have time (universally acknowledged as the ultimate resource – not renewable, recoverable nor reusable!) in the first place, it’ll be hard to do much else. Most people today would agree that they are short on time, and it’s getting shorter!

The book that helped me get an insight on time is Peter Drucker’s ‘The Effective Executive’. The topic on Time Management is superb! Highly recommended. Link to review here.

Another insightful concept about time I got from ‘The Secret Powers of Time’ – extremely relevant to educators and influencers of young people. Note the bits about ‘delayed gratification’ and ‘10,000 hours‘.

If you’re looking for more info on the apps we tried in this section – here are video links to reviews of two (Any.do) and (30/30).

Next, we talk about ‘measuring prayer time’. Time is one of those things that when you speed it up or slow it down, perspectives change. Here’s an interesting video to illustrate just that!

If you’re looking for an app to create something like this, try this app. Two apps that come to mind when you want to measure prayer time are Pronto and Time Counter.

The third and last bit from habit #1 is ‘measuring and creating new habits.’ Another nice little video from RSA talks a bit about (true) motivation, something connected with wanting to create new habits. It’s in our creative DNA, I tell you!

And here are a couple of links to apps that can help you create new habits, or change old ones! Enjoy…

http://wayoflifeapp.com

http://handcarvedcode.com/apps/priorities/

http://doableapps.com

http://greatist.com/health/fig-mobile-app-preview

Feel free to comment or send us a question or two!

 

Session 1

7Habits

Welcome to our very first session for 2013. We’ve decided to theme this session ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Spiritual People’. Over the past 12 months, we have focused mainly on the ‘how-to’ and technical aspects and it was very easy to get carried away with the left-brained, analytical and mathematical side of things and forget the emotional, spiritual and feel-good side.

So, we decided to change all that and focus more on the human side.

For the participants, thank you for coming, and as promised, here are the resources used in the session. Feel free to experiment and explore and adapt to your own needs.

A Few Minutes of Perfection

Session 1 Slides

Session 1 Workbook

Session 1 Slides PPT

Session 1 Workbook PPT

And here are the links to the websites of the apps used in the workshop

Any.do To Do list
Wunderlist
30/30
Due
Dooo To-Do Note
Scatterbrain
Way of Life
Pronto
Time Counter
Fig
Clear
Doable
Good Habits
Habit List
Wonderful Day
Priorities
2Do : Tasks done in Style

Thanks everyone for attending, and keep visiting the site to keep the momentum going!