Set Higher Standards by Ravi

Ramblings from a 30-something ultra-marathoning yogi with a day job.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Seeing The Cup As Half Full

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Everything we do can either be seen in a positive manner or negative manner. There are obvious things that happen that people see as positive. Spending time with friends. Getting a big raise or kudos at work. Having fun doing a hobby you like. These are all totally obvious positive experiences. It’s easy to see the “cup as being half full” in these situations. In other situations, it is easy to see things as negative – that is to say – as the “cup being half empty.” Losing a job, losing a relationship, getting injured, etc.

What is striking to me is that seeing the cup as half full is a conscious choice regardless of the situation, and relative to each person. One person might be elated to get kudos for a job well-done at work in front of their employees, whereas another person might actually greatly dislike the public recognition and not feel comfortable with it (I’ve seen this happen before).

I was in yoga class yesterday and we spent a lot of time upside-down, doing handstands and other inversions. These poses can be terrifying for some people, but can also be incredibly fun and rewarding for those that are willing to give it a try (we were working with partners, so there was little risk of falling!). This was a recent example of how the same exact situation could be seen as a total bummer for some people and a totally uplifting and fun experience for others.

The trick is to realize that every situation is like this, and that we have a choice to interpret the situation as a great opportunity to learn, try something new, grow and maybe have some fun….or as an excuse to retreat into some story about how the world is out to get us or how things aren’t working out the way they should. The choice is ours every time. What choice do you tend to make?

Written by Ravi Raman

April 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

The Invasion That Never Was

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I just finished reading a short book, The Invasion That Never Was, by Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar.

The book calls into question (OK, outright refutes!) the invasionist history that most of us were taught in school. That is, that an “Aryan” people invaded India from the Northwest corridor (through present day Pakistan and Afghanistan) and conquered native tribes in the Indian Subcontinent.

That whole theory never made sense to me anyway. If this was really the case, why is the culture of South India (a seat of Hindu culture) so unique from that of other parts of central Asia and even North India?

The makes the case that this invasion theory was concocted by philologists with a weak understanding of Indian culture (and Sanskrit) but a strong desire to device India people so as to make it easier to profit through trade and spread alternative religious beliefs.

Any Indian who is curious as to the real history of the region should take a look at this book.

Written by Ravi Raman

July 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm

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TV Free!

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On May 3rd I put myself up to a little challenge. Forget about my TV. My beautiful TV…..a 42-inch Pioneer Plasma.

I covered it up with a shawl and decided I wouldn’t turn it on for 30 days.

On June 13th, it struck me that I hadn’t even thought about turning the thing one….and that my 30 days had long since past.

Shortly after moving to a new home a few later, it still sat unused in the middle of my living room floor. It was time to give it the boot.

I have nothing against TV as a technology. I think there are a lot of great things you can watch on TV. Unforuntately, I also have a ton of great things I can do, learn and experience in the real world.

I still might watch a few programs on iTunes or rent a DVD (though I haven’t done so in months). I’ll rely on my laptop for those things.

I really haven’t missed my TV. At first the urge to pop in a DVD was there, but after  a week I totally forgot about it.

I put it on Craigslist and a few days later, someone paid cash for it.

During my TV-free weeks, I’ve spent more time reading, cleaning up (and downsizing my condo), taking care of lose ends around the house and more importantly…..sleeping more.

I think like anything we think we really need….if you distance yourself from the object (both in practice and state of mind)…its hold on you weakens and eventually disolves completely.

Written by Ravi Raman

July 4, 2008 at 4:09 pm

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Today's Run – Evergreen Point Loop

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A little longer than I planned. I really like exploring new areas, and now that I’ve moved to Downtown Bellevue, there are plenty of new areas to explore. Today I ran through Clyde Hill and Medina, past Bill Gates house and back along Lake Washington Blvd to Bellevue.

Details about the route here.

EverGreen Point Loop

Written by Ravi Raman

June 22, 2008 at 7:09 pm

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Really Fast Post

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So I’ve not been posting as much lately in part because I’ve held this idea in my mind that every post on this blog needs to be fairly well thought through, with images and stuff where possible.

The process of it all has kept me from taking action.
So now….I am writing this post in the time it takes my vegan pad thai to heat up in the microwave….I know I know….I should just be eating a raw salad, but it is 11pm, I just finished yoga and I am not in the mood for much more than just pushing a few buttons.

OK, microwave just beeped…..gotta go eat!

Written by Ravi Raman

June 18, 2008 at 5:37 am

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On The Run – Furry 5K

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So today I came out of retirement!

I stopped racing for a long time. My last real event being Ironman Coeur D Alene (I know I probably butchered the spelling but oh well). After I imploded during that race I decided to take a step back and stop all my competitive stuff. After over 10 years of racing and over a hundred events…it was time for a break.
Since then I have done a few half-marathons, a few shorter road races and swam across Puget Sound with my friend Kris, but in all cases I really did not race against the clock. I also didn’t train crazy hard either. I didn’t have a training plan, and just did things day by day. I ditched my heart rate monitor and my watch. I took the opportunity to travel more and deepen my yoga and mediation practice.

Lately, Yoga has been (and is) my passion. However, yesterday I really got this feeling, actually more like a compelling urge, to go running. I hopped in my car late in the afternoon and went to the trails at Cougar Mountain, a wooded area filled with challenging trails about 30 minutes drive from my home. When I was serious about training I would do most of my long runs down here.

This time, I parked at my usual trail head and made it about 200 meters (really) before I was slowed to a walk (hey, the trail starts on a steep hill!). I did about 30 minutes in total, a mixture of slow running and fast walking. This was literally the third run I’ve done this year and I realized how despite my diligent yoga practice, my cardiovascular system was not use to dealing with stress at this level!

In yoga, you get an outstanding total body workout with a mildly elevated heart-rate. However you do not get the same prolonged intensity that you would get from a hard bike ride, swim or run.

I decided then and there that is was time to start running again. I got home and saw that a 5K was going on the following morning (today) through Seward Park on Lake Washington in Seattle, WA, so I went on down there today to see where I was at. As added motivation, the Furry 5K supports the Seattle Animal Shelter, and I love animals so if nothing else I would be supporting an outstanding cause by doing the event.

The race itself was a total blast. Having all the animals around was a huge stress reliever for everyone. It was really hard to take anything seriously when you see all these critters running and playing, their owners trying to get them to go in a straight line and sniff each other! There had to be about 1000 runners and walkers….and at least as many dogs.


Walking over to the starting line, I was pretty late and most all the runners were gathered….waiting for the gun to go off in about 5 minutes. I decided to saunter up to the front of the line, like I always do, but then remembered that I haven’t done any training and would definitely get run over! I still stayed about 10 feet from the front, off to the side (which was a good thing since some of the dogs took of in a mad dash from the start pulling their owners for the ride!!!).

Right before the gun went off there was pandemonium. I am not sure what was going on, I think it was the timing system emitting some sort of high-pitched frequency, because for the final minute before the race start, all the dogs were going nuts and barking all over the place…at each other, their owners, the air, the trees! It was absolutely hysterical.

Anyway, the gun went off and within the first 400 meters I definitely felt that I went out way to hard….and decided to back off and just have fun. I even stopped to use a porta potty, something I’ve never ever done in a 5k!

At different points during the race I was getting passed by all sorts of dogs. A Marmaduke dog, a Wiener dog (very humbling to have this happen I might add), a few Labs…no Poodles though!

In the end, I crossed the three mile point and sprinted like crazy and passed about 10 people in the last 100 meters. I finished in 23min 20sec or so.The course was pretty flat so I can’t blame that on the hills!

I think this is the slowest 5K time for me in 13 years, and well off my personal best of 18:10. Despite that, it was definitely one of the more fun races I’ve done in a long time. I had no expectations going in and the dogs made it a ton of fun.

I am going to start running regularly now, and will see how my body progresses. Would be great to set a new 5K personal best this year. We’ll see how fast my running form returns. If you know of any good 5K or 10K runs around the Seattle area, let me know!

Written by Ravi Raman

June 9, 2008 at 5:00 am

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Giving Stings a Little and No TV

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Giving does bring joy. Giving can also bring some pain. As I’ve been giving some things away, I’ve become aware of emotions that crop up in the process of purging my life of things that are not supporting me. Right now, I’m focused on giving up some material things. You can read about my venture into The Simple Life here and and update here.

Just today, I gave away a few more things. I hadn’t touched these things in ages, little ornamental items hanging around my home, and was fully prepared to give them to someone who would put them to good use. As several friends were leaving my home this afternoon, I asked if any of them wanted these items.

At first, one said no, then another said sure. At that moment, I felt some remorse. I immediately conjured up some potential use for this previously useless object. This particular one was a decorative metal bowl (looked like an ornate pot) with rivets all over it. It was the sort of thing you could use to put umbrellas in, or as a glorified waste bin. In that moment, where I was giving it up, I realized that I could use it to put a large potted plant in it!

I didn’t own a potted plant that size, but it was a possibility. I immediately felt a bit of regret for giving the thing away. It’s a silly example, but something I have experienced several times over the past weeks as I have been simplifying my life. Giving brings joy, but you might have to go through a bit of pain to get there.

Now, sitting here typing this post about 1 hour after giving that metal thingamabob away, I feel absolutely no regret about doing that. I’m glad I did. It’s the same thing I felt giving away all those books, shirts and other items that were crowding space in my head and in my brain.

btw….I am doing a little experiment. As of May 3rd, I haven’t turned on my TV once. I never had cable or even any TV stations before, but I did watch plenty of DVDs and downloaded content on iTunes. My rule is simply not to turn on my TV. I might watch YouTube on my computer or something, but the TV is shut down for the entire month! Feels very refreshing. In fact, I’ve draped a big cloth over it so it is literally out of sight and practically out of mind.

Written by Ravi Raman

May 12, 2008 at 2:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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