D.I.G. Into It!

Do you often find yourself wishing you could do something other than what you are doing – whether it is in your job, being with the person you’re with, vacationing where you do and so on? Have you told yourself that there is nothing you can do to change your circumstances or that the time is just not right for the change?

Plenty of times we think life can always be better. However, how often do we actually take action to make it so?

Sometimes we try to look at the long-term and determine getting there is just impossible. However, everyone needs to Dream. dreams-IIDreams are what give us hope and motivate us to achieve the big picture. They are the key to a bigger, brighter and happier future. It’s easy to dream big. Yet, we cannot live by dreams alone.

intention1In order for us to reach our dreams, we have to start with our daily Intentions. What do you intend to do today to make your life a little better, bigger and happier? Each day, we can make a decision to take a small contribution to reaching our dreams.

Finally, it’s not enough just to have intentions, but these intentions need to meet some kind of Goal. With each day-to-day achievement, we take one step closer to short-term goals that will help us to achieve the big dream. Before you know it, your dream will be made into a reality!????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Life is never really easy. However, if we D.I.G. into it we can be the master’s of our circumstances and instead of wishing for change in our lives, we can actually make it happen.

So, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so!” :P


- The Universal Asian

There and Back Again

TUA’s been on a bit of a hiatus for various reasons, but it’s making a come-back!

With the recent death of Robin Williams and the outcry over social media – from sadness over his death to criticism for his suicide due to depression -, it seemed like the perfect topic to kick off the return of TUA. :D

depressionA friend said to me that the difference between being sad and depressed is like the difference between sneezing and having a cold. This is an interesting analogy. Depression is an advanced form of sadness due to a number of reasons. Like a cold, it may be hard to see it coming until it hits you full on or in some cases you may expect it to hit from warning signs. In both cases if your body is not prepared to prevent it, whether physically or mentally, then it will cause you to suffer.

The good news is that you can take steps to exercise your state of mind to help prevent depression from hitting you either as hard or even at all.

Throughout my own life, as an international-multiple-adoption adoptee, I have dealt with depression and bipolar tendencies. This has caused me, like many others, to consider ending my life and releasing my mind and body from the pain of this world. However, training my mind to focus on the positive aspects and creating a balance in my life on many levels has helped to contribute to keeping these tendencies at bay. Not every method works for every person – all situations/circumstances are unique; yet, two points can be applied no matter what:

*Surround yourself with people who uplift you and keep at bay those who do not.  This might be easier said than done, but as Jim Rohn is quoted as saying “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. Therefore, don’t we want the average to be on the positive?

Friends Playing on the Beach

*Adjust the volume of voices in your head so that the negatives are quiet and the positives are loud. Call upon the powerful inner you posvoiceto guide you forward. We cannot completely turn off any of the voices in our heads. Honestly, we need them all. However, we can control which ones we listen to the most and allow the most play-time in our minds. When we use the powerful inner you to guide us, then it is more than likely we will move in the direction that is best for us.

Although there is no right or wrong answer to how we go about our lives, there are better ways than others…. While it is sad to lose the talents and presence of Robin Williams, he could not find a better way to live with his depression.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid any more such losses in the future?

-The Universal Asian

The “Inner” You


The captain of a sailing vessel must know where he is heading and have both the confidence and knowledge to know how to get there. There cannot be any doubt or fear of the unknown. He must have the determination to carry on towards his destination.

We all have an inner ‘captain’ that guides our lives. Many times we lose touch with him or her and get lost in the sea of life. However, when we discover or reconnect with the part of us that is confident and knowledgeable on how to get where we want to go, then all fear and doubt will fall away.

Are you willing to find your inner self and let that be your true guide in life?

-The Universal Asian

On Being Asian in the UAE

2677865396It’s not just the fact that the woman is sentenced to death by stoning for having an extra-marital affair that is disturbing about this story. It’s the fact that she is described as “Asian”. Do we read articles that say “white man” is accused of having an affair, or a “white woman” was caught speeding? I have yet to read such an article. If the journalist (can we call ‘Staff’ that?) doesn’t know the nationality of the accused, then why couldn’t they have simply written “housemaid”; and does it really add to the story knowing she is Asian? Anyone living in the UAE could deduce the nationality of said person…. Shocking, really.

-The Universal Asian

Altering Our Reactions


Have you ever stared at someone or been stared at with such intensity that you felt incredibly uncomfortable to the point of anger?

When you reach that boiling point, have you ever considered what it is that causes that anger?

The other day, I was standing in the mall across from a cafe waiting for someone to arrive for our lunch date. I was simply playing Candy Crush and occasionally looking up to see if I could see my friend arrive. My dress was moderate (something to consider in a Muslim country). Each time I looked up a middle-aged white woman, dressed in a suit with an unhappy aura about her was staring at me. Initially, I ignored her, but as I continued to look up, she was continuing to stare at me without shame or seeming purpose. Her glare was hostile, but I could not understand why. Finally, I smiled at her and said “Hi”. To which she responded by shaking her head and continuing to stare whilst stirring her yet to be eaten soup. Now, there was nothing to prove that she had a negative feeling towards me nor did she open her mouth to give evidence that she was unhappy towards me. However, the shake of her head and refusal to look away was definitely an aggressive move. So, I politely asked, “Do I know you? Or should I?” Again, the woman did not respond. Rather, she rolled her eyes at me, shook her head again, continued to stare and stir her soup. This became rather comical to me, so I just laughed at her – not with her, AT her. By this time, my friend had texted and I went into the cafe to get a seat. As I passed, the woman merely went back to her soup and began to eat.

Sure, I could have gone up to speak with the woman to find out her thoughts and feelings, but I was annoyed by this point and not in the correct frame of mind to be open and compassionate. So, instead, I sat down wondering what was her deal?!

As I pondered, I shifted to wondering what made me so annoyed by her behavior? Did I feel threatened somehow and if so, by what or for what reason?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the behavior of other people that we do not stop to reflect upon our responses to the behavior. We do not have control over how others behave towards us. Therefore, we can only change and understand our side of any interaction. Perhaps I should have spoken to her first with an open mind and asked her if she was alright or simply moved to another waiting place so that we did not have to face each other at all.

In any case, it was a good reminder for me to think about my reactions and to consider what I can do to alleviate tension in a situation in which I have some control.

Have you been in a situation where you could have responded differently and had a totally different outcome?

-The Universal Asian



Overcoming Fear

Overcoming-FearMany people who know me, know that I have a great dislike for water and a worry of drowning that stems from childhood trauma.

Swimming causes a mental challenge, but I do it. Snorkeling freaks me out, though I will do it. However, going fast on a jet ski is questionable for fear of falling off and scuba diving is still out of the question.

That said, this weekend, I challenged myself to be brave and try jet skiing (driving myself) with the attitude of speed does not matter. As I became more and more comfortable with the ski and found that a little more speed each time did no harm nor cause me to fall off, I became braver. Also, I reminded myself that I can always release the gas, go slower and the worse case is that I fall off and have to swim a bit. Once my mind got a handle on how much control I had over the situation, I was ready to push the ski to the max. And, I did. :D

Afterwards, a young lady who had also been there commented on how she didn’t understand how there were people in the world who wouldn’t go jet skiing and how boring their lives must be (paraphrased). It was then that I realized fully that it is fear that keeps us from living a full life. We convince ourselves that we are content to stay in and read a book or that it takes a certain kind of person to do activities that are seen as ‘risky’. However, if we were to just try these seemingly risky activities with a totally open mind, we would probably find that we are more than capable of enjoying anything.

What in your life – whether big or small – are you afraid of doing? Could you challenge your mind a bit just to let yourself give that thing a try in the least scary way and open yourself to the possibility of something more in your life?

Let’s try to let go of our fears each day together!!

-The Universal Asian

Listening Well

images“Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the speaker’s mind.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

One of the first aspects of coaching that gets focused on is the art of listening. According to the CTI co-active model, there are three levels of listening. 1) Inside your own head; 2) The words and body language of the speaker; 3) The environment in which the listening is being done.

Most of the time, people tend to be in level 1), struggle to focus on 2) and are rarely ever in level 3).

As a person who observes and listens more than speaks, I have often noticed how people wait for me to pause so that they can interject their own opinion or story. Along with their body language, I become quite aware of the fact that what I am saying is not being heard. Over the years, I developed an aversion to speaking to people due to this realization that what I am saying does not seem to be interesting enough to others to bother with listening to me.

More recently, I have learned to pick and choose my friends or the people with whom I do speak in an effort to surround myself with those who do listen and want to hear what I have to say. It’s not an easy task to be a good listener, let alone one who is in the speaker’s mind. However, when you are truly listening to another person, it is amazing what you can learn about the other person or the world.

Why not give listening at levels 2 & 3 a try?

-The Universal Asian