Words Are Thoughts and Thoughts are Everything

Carpe Diem

That whole thing about, “as a man thinketh so is he” sounds pretty until you really think about what goes on in your head during moments when you are freaked out, angry, suspicious, afraid, or otherwise discombobulated in the brain.

Though you may blame other people for your mental reactions, or circumstances for your current train of thought, the motions of your mind are yours alone. Your mental words like your vocal words are your responsibility. They are of your making, or inviting, or allowing.

Your thoughts are what form you, so be careful with what you invite into your mind. The words you read, the words you listen to, and the words you say. Fill your head with that which you want to see resonated in your world, for sooner or later, you and your world will be that which your thoughts have created.

Words are thoughts and thoughts are everything.

Bitter Lips: The Art of Lying

Edwin Tse


Some people are masters of the art of lying. I don’t like falsifications of any kind— but knowing their tricks helps to discern falsehoods when they are present. 

As I go about life, I talk to people.  So do you.  Interacting with people is great, but not all interaction leaves the same aftertaste.  Truthful lips are sweet, but lying lips are as bitter as wormwood.

I started thinking about why I’m hesitant to believe some people, yet not others and remembered two men who opened my eyes to the art of lying.

The Art of Lying from a High-Schooler

During my junior year of high-school, I sat next to a mischievous young man in my Honors English class.  He was very smart, active and loved to test the limits in all aspects of his life.

With great pride and sparkles in his eyes, he would tell me snippets from his latest misadventures.  I knew that his parents were conservative Christians so after one of his colorful stories I asked what his parents thought about, this and that.  I don’t remember what he did in that particular instance, but I never forgot how he answered.

“They don’t know,” he said.

“But how do you lie about something like that,” I asked.

“It’s simple.  I just create another story and make myself believe it.  To me it becomes true.  That way when I talk to them, I don’t act in the way that people do when they lie, so they can’t tell that I’m lying.”

The Art of Lying from an Investigator

Years later, I became acquainted with a retired investigator.  His whole career was spent working in a branch of the law enforcement system which deals specifically with Intelligent Crime.  White collar crimes, mostly CEO’s and politicians caught in backhand financial deals.

He said that these people were so devoid of conscience they lacked natural physiological response that average people have. Talking to them felt disturbing.  It was as if they had no soul.  They had no guilt.  They explained their self-crafted truths with such hypnotizing conviction it was hard to withstand them.

Are people telling you the truth or their truth?

All of us have a built-in lie detector somewhere deep inside, and if we pay attention and develop our sense of judgment, we will get cautioned against the lying lips that surround us.  Artful liars can be difficult to detect, but even when we don’t know the facts, that subtle disturbing feeling can be enough of a red flag to make us realize that something is off.

Don’t be suspicious or doubtful of people, always hope, trust, but not in a gullible way— analyze the things you hear.

In most cases the stories people tell— truth or not— aren’t going to hurt us, but in cases where truth is critical, think twice. Are people telling you the truth or their truth— and how does it affect you?

The Brilliance of Simplicity

Edwin Tse - Mayya


Simplicity is not simple in the beginning. We come to it at the end, when experience, knowledge, and revelation simplifies life by removing the confusion. 

I used to think that inner growth would somehow enlarge me and create something new in me. But it seems to do the opposite. Every time I learn something, rather than something getting added, something gets taken away.

Learning does not pile on top of what we are but rather removes the blinders that distort our perception of how we understand things. Our eyes open, we see clearer, and as we gain understanding the clutter of confusion drops away. Complicated things make sense. The world becomes comprehensible, we begin to see the big picture and the smaller issues dissolve.

Knowledge and experience don’t add a load but relieve us from the burden of incomprehension. Like when a sculpture gets chiseled from a mass of marble, it loses a lot of clutter to become something specific and distinguishable. That is the essence of gaining simplicity, we lose bits of confusion, ignorance, illusion, and become more specifically ourselves.

In the end, simplicity is a way of thinking which is less distorted. More elegant. Distinct.

How To Get The Best Gifts This Christmas

Jonas Hafner Firn


Getting the best gifts this Christmas requires a slight shift in focus. True giving and receiving happens when we give because we want to, not because we are expected to, and we are most grateful to receive when we presume nothing, but get something. That is when we experience real gratitude and feel like we are getting the best gifts possible.

It’s no secret that Christmastime cranks up materialism to the max. Often the consumerist mindset attached to gift giving suffocates the joy of giving and receiving. People suffer all sorts of disappointments during the holidays because their expectations go unmet.

But Christmas is still a day away, and we can change all of that to ensure that you receive the best gifts— no disappointments attached.

Disappointment strongly links with expectation, when our expectations go unmet we feel disappointed. The good thing is that we can bypass that drama if we stop building towers of expectation in our heads. Expectations are often based on nothing solid enough to justify our demand of them. Does life owe you anything? When facing disappointment, it helps to go back and analyze where the expectations came from in the first place.

A gift is not an obligation and therefore to demand or expect any gift is oxymoronic. It’s different when a gift is promised because the promise itself is the gift, making the actual thing an obligation.

True giving and receiving can only happen when we presume nothing and get something. Only then do we feel the joy and gratitude of receiving. That’s how every gift should feel.

The other day, I was walking down a sidewalk in downtown St. Petersburg. A man carrying a bouquet of roses happened to be walking on the same sidewalk, heading into the direction I was coming from. I sort of smiled at the sight of someone going on a date, then as we crossed, he stopped, pulled out a single red rose from the bouquet and handed it to me— I hesitated, he insisted, reassuring me that he wanted nothing in return. He said it was just because of my beautiful smile or something along that note.

Later, the flower went into a vase and every time I caught glimpse of it, I felt an overpowering feeling of gratitude which made me crave to give to others. I’ve had plenty of flowers in my lifetime, more bountiful than that single rose, but they were given under different circumstances. This was somehow different because I expected nothing from the man and he expected nothing in return, there was no sense of obligation, and that left nothing, but gratitude.

When gifts are given by friends we sort of expect their generosity because of our friendship, unfortunately, that dulls the feeling of gratitude. But to receive a gift, from someone who owes nothing, asks for nothing, and knows he will receive nothing in return, makes gratitude explode like a bomb in our chests.

It was a random lesson, but timely for Christmas. A mind cleared of expectations opens us to experience the joy of giving, and the fulfillment that comes with living in the moment instead of looking at Christmas from a steep tower of expectations.

I urge you to try this mindset. When you receive a gift, even if it’s just a card or a kiss, the feeling of gratitude will explode like a bomb. A simple gift can be the best gift of your life because you are free of expectations and the simplest kind gesture will fill you with gratitude.

I’d Rather Wear Fur



What I miss most living in Florida, is fur.  A Florida winter doesn’t allow us to put our bathing suits away even during the “R” months, beaches are still packed and the eye of heaven shines at 85 degrees— even in December.

But when thinking of more proper winters, I think of fur.  It’s one of those natural commodities of which even the most exquisite man-made replica falls far from comparable. The silky delicate strands of varying hues of brown, black, auburn, or beige are lustrous to the eye and delightful to the touch.  Being wrapped in fur, in the midst of a blizzard is comforting, like having a second skin.

One of my most memorable encounters with fur was during my toddler years.  We lived in Ukraine and had a couple of spare bedrooms upstairs.  My mom stored her winter stuff in one of the extra closets.  No one really went up there, but once in a while, I snuck up to explore.

This day, I find myself in the closet. The lights are out of my reach so I fumble around in the dark. I feel my way through the closet when suddenly I feel something. The thing sends cold chills down my spine. It feels alive. I peer through the shadows, our eyes meet— I scream and dart out of the closet screaming something about wild animals at the tip of my five-year-old lungs.

My mom runs upstairs, more frightened than I. Tongue twisted and in disarray, I try to explain that there is a wild beast inside of the closet.  She’s confused because the only animal we ever had was the guard dog, on a chaint— outside. The dog never set paw into the house, he was mean. He bit anyone who trespassed him, he was a genuine, barking-slobbering, guard dog and the presence of any other beast inside of the house was unlikey.

My mom starts asking things, I just point to the closet. She steps in, turns on the lights.

Cautiously, I follow.

She looks around. Spots the wild beast and begins to laugh. The terror who frightened me is neatly hanging from a hanger. My mom’s fox collar. Fox collars with the head still intact were the thing back then and she had the beautiful Russian fox sandwiched between other coats with it head landing directly at my eye level.

I don’t know where the fox is now, but my encounter is ever with me. That is still how I feel about fur, frightened, but enamored. I mean the thing came from an animal and all the controversy surrounding that is a little frightening, but the beauty and texture are captivating.

These days, fur causes all sorts of commotion amid humanitarians, but it wasn’t about animal cruelty for us, it was about staying warm in the winter. Ukrainian winters are no joke and that’s what we wore, that’s what everyone wore since the beginning of time. I know the whole animal cruelty thing can get brutal, but all of the politics aside, still— I’d rather wear fur.