Remain Focussed during lock down

Remain-Focused

With most of us housebound and confined to small spaces with family or flatmates, nerves are bound to snap. Capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce re-sources and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of isola-tion. For many, the brain is currently in fight or flight response due to uncertainty, so we need to override this. One has to challenge themselves to accept this situation.

Here are a few pointers that could help you survive spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time.

Reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my myself”

  • Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude.
  • I chalked down a #21DayDisciplinePlanner and maintain some semblance of structure from the pre-quarantine days.
  • Approaching this time with a mindset of feeling trapped or stuck will only stress you out more.
  • This is your chance to slow down and focus on yourself. create something you’ve always wanted to do, re-organize, and set your sights on those procrastinated plans.

An attitude of Gratitude

  • OK, but honestly, how privileged are so many of us that during a global pandemic, we can just warm at home, reading, writing, working, still being educated, creating, talking to our loved ones, with little worries and a fridge stocked with food?
  • If you have FAITH in God, exercise it. PRAY .. Sing a song of Praise to God!!
  • Do remind yourself to be grateful today.

Stay close to your normal routine

  • I start my day with a morning dose of sunshine for ample Vitamin D for 15 mins with a cup of aromatic coffee wafting through my nostrils which otherwise is a luxury in everyday humdrum of life.
  • Waking up and going to bed around the same time, two square meals and a strict NO to binging, and shower
  • Having a romance with the gentle breeze in the night
  • Not only will sticking to my normal routine keeps me active and less likely to spiral, it will be easier for me to readjust to the outside world when it’s time to get back to work.
  • Sticking to a routine and a particular will keep my body’s natural biological clock in check.

A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind

  • I organise my cupboard and wardrobe time to time
  • Deep cleaning the room and bathroom (no helpers in PG)
  • I don’t pile up those clothes. Do the laundry from time to time.
  • Setting up mental zones for daily activities can be helpful to organize my day. For ex., i avoid eating meals on the couch. I have my meals with Nidhi in the dining area with my friend Nidhi over wholesome conversations. I get to smile and say ‘hello’ to my other PG mates.
  • Loosening these boundaries just muddles my routine and can make me feel claustrophobic.

Avoid obsessing over endless Coronavirus coverage

  • Choosing only certain credible websites for a limited amount of time each day
  • Maintaining a personal hygiene and washing my hands with a medicated soap
  • Avoiding all the whatsapp forwards, and unnecessary negativity related to the Pandemic on social media.

Maintain community and social connection

  • Choose your circle of people you want to communicate with wisely.
  • Make sure you have the right support system and these people keep you motivated. Communicate with them freely.

Adapting an exercise regimen

  • Brisk walk in the corridor or for two hours in the evening
  • Residing on the fourth floor, taking four flights of stairs three times a day and avoiding the elevator
  • Having a romance with the gentle breeze in the night
  • I love to dance with my favorite music on — Petre Andre’s Mysterious girl, Shalala from Venga Boys, Sexy Eyes from Whigfield, Kaoma from Lambada, Despacito by Luciana Zogbi, Coco Jamboo from Mr. President so on and so forth.

From learning new skills to flexing your creative muscles

  • Creative writing, something that i love to do and have been doing it for years. My imaginative juices propels my thoughts and i end up articulating my thoughts.
  • Creative writing over the years helped me flesh out new ideas, develop my character, and imporve my vocabulary.
  • Photography: With phone always being at hand, there are fewer chances that a person with a photographic eye will miss out on any action worth capturing.
  • From the rising of the fiery ball until dusk, if it is about mobile photography, the concentration is always on composition than quality.
  • As photography is an art, clicking a great picture is the only thing that matters. It is not the camera that matters but the person behind it.
  • Having an inclination to Western and Indian Classical music, i listen to all sorts of music that is a feast to my ears.

Sleeping soundly

  • Sleep is essential for our bodies to repair cells, clear toxins, consolidate our memories and process information.
  • There’s good evidence that sleep deprivation can have major impacts on our health
  • It negatively impacts our psychological wellbeing and our emotional intelligence.

But now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to stay active. One can setl small targets for oneself that one can try to achieve every day. Successful accomplishment of these targets will keep you motivated and your mind occupied. Reward yourself when you achieve something and push yourself when you don’t. You make an impact on the world around you every single day. Whether it is how you treat the tired grocery clerk or how you react to the helper at home, you are always sending yor energy out into this world. And what’s often forgotten is that the little ripples we make on the world every day aren’t little at all … They are the acts that make the biggest difference.

My Journey Towards Minimalism

becoming-a-minimalist.001When I began my minimalism journey, exactly a decade ago, I realized minimalism is not just about owning minimum materialistic things. Minimalism is also about how we set fewer goals that truly matter. It’s about how we create time to invest in what ultimately helps us find purpose by cutting down the unnecessary distractions.

There are few reasons why i intentionally took my time:

  • In my experience, slow shifts are more sustainable than radical change.
  • I had to experiment to determine what was enough for me.
  •  I was seeking more, just getting rid of stuff wasn’t my intention.
  •  I wanted to discover what meant most to me, what made my heart sing.
  • I am still seeking, experimenting and defining enough. I don’t have an end point in mind.
  •  The goal of Minimalism is to align the “things” in your life (your physical stuff, your commitments, and even your relationships) with what matters most to YOU.

This means minimalism looks like different things to different people. As long as you’re being honest with yourself about what adds value or brings joy to your life, then you’re a minimalist. Your version of minimalism might not look like my version of minimalism – and that’s OK.

Hence, over the years I resolved I am not going to aimlessly go about my day and life but be more intentional and mindful about what I invest my time in on a day to day basis. After a deep pondering introspection, I came to a conclusion that this year I wanted to make time to do what I enjoy the most at the same time do what would help me get a little more refined and better as an individual, daughter, friend and a Consultant. My list was a very short one – to spend quality time with my family n friends, read, learn, exercise and be financially accountable.

We’re nearly three months in 2020. I have been keeping track on how I am going about my day in my TinyChange planner. There have been days when I was unable to stick to my schedule due to work or other sudden commitments. However as I review the pages, I honestly feel proud of having been able to stick to it on most days. I pat my back and pamper myself to a Cup of aromatic Coffee and a Chocolate ~ Orange Brownie.

I am discovering the joy of sticking to fewer achievable goals and being consistent about it during this lock down and other wise. It relieves so much of unwanted stress and creates ample time to enjoy your day at your own pace!

Take one day at a time and continue to take tiny steps and lean into the life you crave. Even if it takes 10 years to get to where you think you want to be, the benefits begin immediately. The beauty of being a beginner Minamilist is that you can be curious and daring. You can ask for help, get back up if you fall, and look forward to new adventures in a life with less stuff, drama, debt and obligation. Becoming Minimalist frees us to live a bigger life with more passionate pursuit of our greatest purpose and goals.

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you ~ Lao Tzo

Habits That Foster Creativity

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Highly creative people have some things in common. I’ve struggled with creativity at times, but I’ve discovered what many other creatives know. There are some simple habits that keep the creative juices flowing.

There are plenty of books and articles about the habits of creative minds. One of the most visited articles on the Internet on creative minds, 7 Habits Of Highly Creative Minds, includes the following traits:

  • Learn something new every day
  • Connect the dots
  • See the potential and make a list
  • Don’t shut the door on creativity
  • Keep a broad perspective
  • Say “no” a lot more than you think
  • Share your “aha” moments

I agree that these and many other traits are important to fostering creativity. A couple of these traits also make it onto my list, but I want to focus on some other simple habits that can foster creativity. Anyone can be creative if they choose. 

I believe that creativity starts with nothing: an empty room, a blank page, and a clear canvas are perfect places to start.

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If you want to become more creative, you might need to start by taking a few things out of your life. Sometimes less is more. Let’s get started.

  • Start with a clean space: Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Every book started with a blank page. Every great artistic masterpiece was once only an idea in the artist’s mind. A clean space gives you plenty of room to create. I’ve found that I’m far more creative when I keep my space clean. Be willing to stare at the blank page for awhile.
  • Say no to clutter: I know people who claim they don’t have a creative bone in their body. When I delve deeper into their situation, I discover it has less to do with bones and more to do with priorities. We live cluttered lives. Say no to the things that distract you from having the time and place for creativity. A little bit of TV, Internet, Facebook, Whatsapp and a plethora of other distractions can give you ideas. Too much of any of these things will waste your time and kill your creativity.
  • Don’t believe in failure: I used to think that an incomplete song or a half-written book was a sure sign of failure. I’ve discovered that’s simply not true. When i first started writing articles, I wrote two completely different drafts of the story. At first, I thought the early drafts were miserable failures. Later, I discovered the power of practice. The early drafts were practice. I was becoming a better writer. I was learning the craft.
  • Let go off perfection: You’ve heard the saying, practice makes perfect. I say rubbish !!! It took me years to figure that out. Once you let go of the concept of failure, you’ll also discover that there is no such thing as perfection. If you’re always pressuring yourself to paint the perfect painting or write the perfect composition, it will never happen. Accept your best and move on. If you know a work is not up to par; you can reevaluate or even can it. But remember, little imperfections are what make great works.
  • Don’t sit and wait: Have you ever felt like banging your head against the wall because you weren’t coming up with the creative project you wanted? Don’t push yourself too hard. Let go of the pressure. When ideas don’t come to me, I stop trying. I don’t sit and wait. I get active. I exercise. I go out into nature. I go out with friends. I observe the things around me. I listen to some new music. Sometimes someone will say something simple that will spur on an idea. I’ve had several “aha” moments while listening to the sermon at church on a Sunday morning.

Keep it simple: In everything you do, try to strip things down to their simplest form. The more simple you keep the stuff, the easier it becomes. It will also be easier for others to percieve. The greatest popular songs of all time are not great because they are complex compositions. They’re great because they have simple chord progressions with memorable melodies and words. A single rose produces a stronger effect than several dozen roses.

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Now that i have penned some of the things that may limit your creativity, I encourage you to follow your dreams. Don’t let yourself believe you’re not creative. Just give yourself the time and space to create.

Why this Couple make a Loving couple than you think ?

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We live in a day and time when the very institution of marriage is being mocked at. Values and morals have dwindled drastically, infact they have gone down the drain. I see so many posts floating on the internet  and movies depicting selfishness, vengence, pride, vanity, bitterness and resentment. We live in a world that tells us kindness is foolishness. It tells us, that we have to be selfish and look into our own interests. It teaches us to be arrogant with arrogant people as it is the only language they respect, as they confound kindness with weakness.  But let me tell you about a couple who lives by the opposite principle. Writing about someone else always makes me feel skittish. I am attempting to tell a couple’s life story in one page and that is a herculean task. 🙂

Meet Mr. Abraham Varghese & Sareeta Varghese, lovingly known as Mohan & Munni, 🙂 🙂 for all those who know them, are legends in their own sight.

I’m here to tell you a real life story about a couple who not only got married after falling in love but also succeeded in everything they did.

Falling in love in a very small part between two individuals; staying in love and hanging on “till death do us part” is what is important.

I still remember the first day i met them, almost 15 years ago. They were complete strangers to me. I was invited to dine with their family, not knowing how they would eventually become the most integral part of my life. Uncle Mohan was serving the Indian Navy then as a Commander and Munni Amma was layering love and affection brick by brick in the family.  I felt really odd to dine  at their place. How would they treat me? Would I be asked too many questions about my life? Would they be too nosy and introspective? It was a tricky and an embarrassing situation. However, I obeyed and went. I was so astonished when I got invited to sit around their family table and eat with the rest of the family. They have three boys, Adarsh, Alex and Ashok. They all had a beaming smile at the family table. Munni Amma personally got up and served me, followed by Uncle and the boys. This was the first time i was away from my family and some one showed kindness to me, even though I had nothing to offer. I felt tears well up in my eyes and a familiar lump in my throat. But I swallowed it along with the sumptous food that was served on the dining table. I made a vow to myself that day: I would always remain loyal to this family until I had breath in my lungs. This family has stood by me, believed in me and supported me in everything I did. They gave me a helping hand when I needed one and they patted me on my shoulder when I succeeded and made something of myself.

They had a Maruti Van in those days. I once asked Uncle, “Why do you need such a big vehicle for a small family ?” He politely replied, “Many people can fit in and we can take people around”. I was bewildered to see this man, whose actions spoke louder than words. They helped people move houses, get to the hospital in the wee hours, drop and pick up from the train station, get the elderly to the bank  and the list goes on .. I have seen the entire family leaving packets of milk, a bunch of banana’s. rice bags, groceries at the door step of people, struggling with their finances. One winter, i saw them leaving rugs on the pavements for those who have no roof on their head.

They say – You can tell a lot about a man and his values when you meet his family. These incidents is what sealed my friendship, respect and honor for this family. I have so many memories with the whole family and they are engraved in my heart and mind forever.

Young and old would come to this family pouring out their woes. I have never seen them or witnessed judging anybody. They would give them a listening ear, do their best, keep their confidence and pray for them too. Uncle Mohan and his family didn’t just extend a helping hand and a warm heart of kindness to me. This is their way of life. There were days when Uncle retired from the Navy and his income was not at its usual high and someone would come to Uncle for help and he would just take out his wallet and give the note/notes without even looking at the denomination. Strangers eat at their table, laughs are shared, memories are made and the best part is, they don’t expect anything in return, apart from your love and friendship.

Both of them not only invested their time and energy bulding other’s life, but also believed that marriage is mosiac one builds with their spouse, millions of tiny moments that create a love story. Together they built a life together. If you’ve spent time in their company, you’ll know what a unique loving couple they are. So many times i have asked Munni Amma, how she coped building a beautiful marriage. She smiled and said, Uncle Mohan was a Blessing. He was her pillar of strength and and helped her even with chores at home. What can be more enriching than this for a woman; to see her man being there to cheer and support her as she crosses milestones life has to offer. It is very rare to come across a couple like this. It is not just about falling in love with a person  … It is about falling in love with their soul, falling in love with their dreams, falling in love with their aspiration and then building a home based on togetherness. This is what they have managed to achieve. They both fell in LOVE and keep falling in love with each other, everyday. This is what makes marriage work. You stand by each other thought the thick and the thin. You support your spouse in whatever way you can to see them succeed. They have been married for 36 years now and they have had to build a life on their own.

Just the other day i happened to bump into the loving couple at a retail store and it was raining cats and dogs. During the course of conversation  i’ve learnt that they’ve come to purchase some essentials for a family who happened to stay over night for their journey the next day. I was baffled beyond measure for their heart of gold and the time and energy they invest in people’s life. Before the boys do anything for themselves, they are taught to share food, fruits, stationary etc etc to someone or to a family that is in need. An entire family, two generations that has been helping people and the community around them grow.

What I learnt from observing the Varghese’s family:
1) Accept people as they are, do not judge them, love them unconditionally, and pray for them.

2) Give the best you can without any expectation.

3) If you want to teach the next generation or your kids about generosity and kindness, first do it yourself and they will learn watching you as they grow up.

4) When GOD increases you standard of living, you increase your standard of giving.

5) Down the line people will not remember how much money you made; they will remember how much kindness you showed.

GOD’S MEASURE:

When God measures us, he puts the tape around the heart instead of the head.

How does God measure a man?
Does He span his shoulders to test his strength?
Does he check his height to determine his leadership ability?
Does he measure his head to check his brain capacity?

The obvious answer to all these questions is obviously “NO”.

God measures a man by the depth of the man’s devotion to HIM. God wraps HIS measuring tape around the heart

Let’s be sure the “measure” by which we examine ourselves is the same one used by God.

I hope The Varghese’s family inspires many young people to give as much as they can to the community around them. It’s not wrong to build a career but more than that it’s important to invest in lives. 🙂 😉

Taking chances and living life to the fullest !!!

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People claim perfection doesn’t exist. They state it’s only a fantasy. For a brief period back in school and college, I was witnessing perfection .

Besides, academics, I’ve learned English and Indian classical music. I was an ardent player in sports and games, took part in extra-curricular activities such as elocution, essay writing, music, drama, theatre, NCC etc

Time ceased to exist, exams were an afterthought, and worries were galaxies away.

Like many young women, i was eager to start working, the flight of my career took off on a good note. As years passed by, unlike any other, i’ve taken life for granted, infact, a bitter concotion of pessimistic thoughts, unhealthy eating habits, unnecessary stress, imbalanced life styles garnished with tons of laziness.

Unfortunately, I forgot to do the most important thing – live life ~ take a chance. At the time, courage and confidence weren’t words associated with my name.

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If Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling in The Notebook) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic) were the definitions of courage and confidence – I was the opposite. I was timid, afraid of the unknown, and the queen of waiting until tomorrow. Those characteristics were so visible, they manifested into every aspect of my life.

I told myself I couldn’t be a writer. Instead, I played it safe and collected degrees. I took life’s leftovers and lived through others who were going after what they wanted.

Reflecting on those times, I’ve learned some powerful lessons that have shaped me into the woman that I am today.

If you’re sitting on the fence about chasing a dream, a fitness goal, a girl/boy, traveling across the world, or starting that dream business — take a chance. Here are five lessons i’ve learnt out of bitter experiences in my life, why you should stop waiting, take a chance and live life.

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1. You’ll never get what you want out of life sitting on the sidelines
If you wait for magical moments to fall into your lap, you’ll only get the leftovers of what everyone else doesn’t want. Your dreams, goals, physique, or anything else won’t happen unless you enter the playing field.

Sitting on the sidelines leads to spectating instead of being an active participant in your life. All the ideas and plans in the world mean little unless you take the initiative.

2. Accept that risks are an everyday part of life
Rejection may happen. Rough patches within your life may occur. You might hit a plateau with your fitness.

Chasing your dreams and following the road less traveled is scary at times, but that’s the point. If you aren’t scared a little about your dreams and goals–the moment isn’t big enough. Feel free to dream a little bigger.

The worst that can happen from taking a risk is a potential setback or feeling of unease. However, setbacks and feelings don’t last forever. It’s only permanent when you choose to quit and not pick yourself up to fight another day.

If you decide not to take risks, what will happen? Nothing and that’s a guarantee. Take a chance and see what can happen.

3. Don’t let the what ifs stop you

  • What if I can’t lose weight?
  • What if my business fails?
  • What if he/she doesn’t feel the same way that I feel about him/her?
  • What if my writing is terrible?
  • What if I can’t live my dream life and travel the world?

These thoughts have crept into my mind at some point (and still do at times). The self-doubt is with us at all times, especially when we’re trying to grow as individuals and stretch outside our comfort zones. Instead of letting the “what ifs” cripple us, let’s turn the “what ifs” into a positive.

Here is what that would look like.

What if you can lose weight? Think about the confidence you’ll gain along with improved health.

What if your business succeeds? Think about how transformative your life will become.

What if he/she feels the same way that you feel about him/her? Think about the amazing relationship that you’ll have.

What if you write that book? Think about the impact you’ll provide to the world through your words and experiences.

What if your dream life becomes a reality and you travel the world? Think about the inspiration you’ll provide to others. Think about the amazing people you’ll meet.

4. Keep moving forward (no matter what)

What you’re trying to go after might feel impossible. The odds seem stacked against you. Your friends and family might call you crazy. Who cares? This is your life.

Each of us is here to make our unique dent on planet earth, experience life to its fullest, and leave a legacy.

No matter how many times you hit a setback and no matter if it takes three jobs to pursue your dreams – don’t give up. Your breakdowns will become your breakthroughs.

5. Don’t let your past regrets define you

Regret is a sickening feeling. In fact, it’s the worst feeling in the world. It’s a stomachache that medicine can’t cure.


Regret reminds us at the most inopportune times of what could’ve been, had we taken a chance.

Regret seduces us into playing the wishing game. Regret pulls us out of the present moment and into the past, only to leave us anxious.

However, the past is irreversible and out of our control while the future is still within our power to shape. Who knows what can happen. 

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The world is full of infinite possibilities once you put yourself out there. You are the captain of your life, not anyone else.

Embrace your opportunities and don’t wait for tomorrow because anything is possible when you live life and take a chance.

Now it’s your turn.

I will leave you with this thought:

What’s the one thing in your life that you want to take a chance with, but haven’t made the leap yet? 

What NOT to do when de-cluttering ..!!

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I lived a care-free life under the protection of mother’s wings. I always wondered why mum meticulously did certain tasks in a certain way. I’ve learnt valuable lessons of life observing my mother. Her actions always spoke louder than words. Usually, weekends were spring cleaning at home. All that i did was read comics and watch mum do all the chores and think with my small mind that she must be crazy. It never dawned onto me that one day, as i spread my wings to explore the world, have a home of my own, i would be in mum’s shoes.

Self-realisation is the best teacher to the experiences in life. I lived in all kinds of accommodation one can possibly reside owing to the nature of my travel and stay. Over a period of time i’ve turned out to be an organising and de-cluttering guru with some organizing wisdom that i have gained moving houses, living in two suitcases, shared accommodation and what not.

A week ago, the termites decided to infest a marathon in my house which needed a pest control. My house turned out to be a mini-circus, things strewn all over and it was chaos. After a week, i have a strategy in place in setting up my home all over again with the immense experience from the past. Hence, i though it would most helpful to share what NOT to do when trying to harness chaos in our homes.

Some of this advice is hardly new or shocking. But i believe that these five missteps are the most common and most likely to derail even the best efforts to conquer clutter. Here’s what i have to say out of my experience:

1. Organize First; Buy Second. Do not go out and buy a ton of storage pieces and supplies before you sort through your home. All of those pretty bins, boxes and baskets at The Retail Store are very enticing, but they won’t do you any good unless they fit the space (on the shelf, under the bed, in the closet); hold what you need them to hold, and function properly for your particular space. I recommend cleaning out first, assessing what containers you REALLY need, and then buying a few bins to start. You can always add later, but you don’t want a bunch of empty containers cluttering up your home while you figure out where you might use them.

2. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew. Do not set aside an ENTIRE day to organize your WHOLE house. Very few people have the energy and/or focus to spend 8 hours organizing. You’ll likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses. It’s much better to spend a few hours — 2 or 3 — on one project or space. This way you’ll feel motivated to do more, not burned out by the process.

3. Complete Each Task — Completely. Of course you will need to sort things into categories (e.g., toss, recycle, donate, give to friend, put in the store). But here’s the crucial part: Once you have decided where something is going to go — take it there. Never keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Do it now. Finish the process. Take the bags and boxes out to the trash or recycling immediately. If you’re donating something or giving something to a friend or family member, put the items together or make arrangements for dropping them off. You’ve done so much work getting this stuff ready to take out, complete the deal !!

4. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day. Do not think that once you’ve organized your space, that you are done. You’ll feel like a failure when you have to clean it up again in a month. Realize that while you have created a new, efficient, and logical system for processing and managing incoming and outgoing items, you are not done. There is no autopilot. You should expect regular upkeep, but just be glad that the new system is far more efficient than the old one.

5. Good Enough is Enough. Very few people have closets and drawers that resemble those in catalogues. Trust me. I’ve been in a lot of houses and apartments and even after we’ve totally reorganized a space, it doesn’t look like an ad for The Retail Store. It looks great and works properly, but it is a space that is used by an actual human being, not one that has been carefully staged by a team of stylists and marketers for a non-existent resident. You will ultimately be disappointed if perfection is your goal. The goal is to set up a space that works well for your needs. That is success.

With these few tips that i have observed and experienced over a period of time should help you. It’s a never-ending process but a constant endeavour. 🙂 🙂

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

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It’s easy to beat myself up when am already down; it’s easy to be upset that i can’t snap out of a bad mood. Sometimes, it takes enough strength to move mountains just to get myself out of bed. When everyone else seems to be floating by effortlessly, my day is progressing slowly, as though i am trudging through thick cement, treading water just to stay afloat.

Sometimes i end up being disappointed with myself, frustrated with my sadness and my anxiety and my complicated mood swings. It’s easier to stack my shortcomings into one large, overwhelming pile than it is to recognize my triumphs. Whether or not I can see it, i am crossing hurdles. Even if some days are a struggle, some weeks seem eternally dark, and some months are the hardest battles i’ll face, it’s okay to not be okay.

I always remember that:

1. I am work in progress. I am not an end goal or a finished good; am not supposed to be perfect all the time. I am still learning new ways to do things and new things about myself. Being patient in this time of discovery and recognizing that my darkest moments may help me shine in my brightest later. I always imagine myself to be a blob of clay on the potter’s wheel. God is the potter and I am the clay. HE is constantly moulding me chipping off the rough edges. Sometimes i go through the most gruelling OOH! AAH! OUCH! moments. It’s OKAY ! I realise that i am being moulded into a beautiful jar of clay. I am work in progress. 🙂 🙂

2. Some days i may take two steps forward and three steps back. I remind myself that i am still stepping forward and am still progressing. Changes in direction may knock me off my feet but they’re a chance for me to rest and rejuvenate and then get back up. I always remember one thing what God has promised me. God has plans to to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a fututre.

3. Sadness, discouragement, disappointment, anxiety, and frustration are good. They don’t feel good and they don’t always result in the best decisions, but they’re a part of learning and growing. They’re reminders that i am capable of feeling and my heart is willing to persevere and endure even through the most difficult times.

4. I can’t expect myself to have a solution for everything. There are things I cannot fix overnight — battles, failures, disappointement, anxiety etc. These things are natural and important. It is through destruction that I am able to recreate.

5. Everyone is fighting their own battles. So am i. There will be times when i am okay and times when i am not okay. I embrace the comfort of feeling happy but be thankful for those times when am not sure i’ll make it to the end of the tunnel. That light will keep waiting for me, even if i am feeling like i can’t go on any longer. Every time i don’t feel okay, i remember that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. HE works in ways i cannot see. HE will make all things beautiful in HIS time. I need to hold on and hang in there.

I remember to be patient and kind to myself. Love myself the most because God loves me and i am HIS precious daughter and HE is a promise keeping God.

This thoughtful inventory about myself, time and again, always leads me to discover myself. As i am true to myself, i know myself, and know others too. Noticing myself, i learn the new opportunities and expansive ways to champion myself and become impeccably respectful and kind with my own self-care. The truth is always revealed to those who are open and are willing to see.

We are all human and we go through different phases in life. A lil note to encourage if someone’s sailing in the same boat.

Rendezvous with sunrise and sunset

“The clouds steadily rising over the horizon and the moon gradually stepping away into oblivion” ~ Suman Kumar @5am

Sunrise and Sunset
I’ll tell you how the sun rose,
A ribbon at a time.

The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.
 The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
That must have been the sun!”
But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while
 Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away.
– Emily Dickinson

Gazing through the gorgeous scene, I felt like I was a travel companion absorbing the stunning beauty of the crescent moon and sunrise with Suman, who has brilliantly captured this photograph at 5am, and i stored the scenic beauty, nature has to offer, in my mind. It was a feast to my aesthetic senses as the hue and tone on the onset of the captivating sunrise was spectacular. What I did was gaze on this photo and then closing my eyes I brought the scene and locked it there so that it became a part of me. That way I can meditate at will and have a peaceful day. As they say, that a picture paints a thousand words, it propelled me to write an article.

My friend, Suman, captured this enchanting beauty from Tenneti Park, which is named after the legendary freedom fighter Tenneti Viswanadham garu. This park is sitting on the foot of the beautiful and magnanamous Kailasgiri hill, offering magnificent view of the sea. He happened to witness some mesmerising magic of the reflection of crescent moon in the deep blue waters, and there arose the deepest urge in him, to quench his photographic thirst and bind the brilliant spectacle in his lens. What better way than to relax in the lap of nature after a long day at work. That is the best thing about the city of destiny, Vizag, and the sea is at a stone’s throw away from where i live. If you are a nature lover like me, you’d never get bored watching the shifting shades of the sun, sea and sky.

Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves. By the time Suman went home to collect his camera and lens, the shifting shadows of dawn, welcomed him with earthen tones, as the ball of fire was surging from its deep slumber all night, to bring forth some bursting light, a ray of hope and a dawn for a new day. In his own words, Suman said, “Trust me … it was even more beautiful in reality”. No amount of the superior quality of the photographic lens can beat the lens of the naked eye. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

This the very reason why, my mother and i travelled extensively in India and abroad, to experience and explore nature, in all its splendour and manifold witness.  Immersing myself in  new cultures, learning languages, and experiencing new environments especially in nature but also in urban settings was a  passion of mine.  I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. However, in the past four years I’ve travelled very little.  So when I come across a picture like this, I dive in and revel in the vistas and experiences, when photographs of originality such as this, has to offer me. It is as wealthy as the river of gold and as vivid as the eye can contain.

We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness. I still remember, in those early days of my life in HSBC, Ron, and other like-minded people would march almost everyday to watch a sunrise. I reckon, Ron and friends tease me till date, for once i said, “let’s go and watch the MORNING sunrise” 😀 😀 :D. When Ron~Megz got their new car, i was treated with a sudden surprise. 🙂 🙂 I was driven atop Kailasagiri hill to witness the sunrise. I dropped my jaw as i saw the city waking up to nature’s glorious resplendence. I can never ever forget the visual treat. One of the best surprising gifts they had given me as a couple. ThanQ Ron n Megha. 🙂

How sweet the morning air is! Whenever I travel or even otherwise, I am always up at sun rise, it’s an enthralling experience, every single time and a great start to the day! Alluring, a perfect reminder that I should see the sunrise more often, so much more life-giving than a few extra hours in bed to reconcile me to an earthly existence that shows beauty in as many turns as it takes to lift me out of life’s doldrums.The opulence of nature and pictures such as these, are not merely a depiction of the sun at the horizon coming up or going down, but each of them captures the mood, the time and the activities that go on during the that time of the day … which makes every click special and unique in its own way. Always; picturesque images coax me into the scene, and I stare with mouth agape in childlike wonder.
Many-a-times, when i wondered at God’s creation as i was in unision with nature, i can’t withhold myself from singing the hymn,

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

As i pen down these lines, i sang this meaningful hymn. As a little girl, i always thought, God dipped HIS paint brush in an array of colours and splashed them across in the vast expanse of sky, for us to experience HIS treasure chest of bountiful beauty of nature. When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the Creator. There is nothing more musical than a sunrise and a sunset. The grandeur of nature and its appalling beauty are proofs that only the Almighty God can create such wonder. Lo and behold His Majesty !!

Often, as i traversed back home from work witinessing a sunset, i happened to see tiny little clouds float like a pink feather from some gigantic Flamingo. A glorious sunset is the epitome of fleeting beauty. At times the brilliance of the orange sun is astounding. The best recipe and my idea of relaxation is the sunset, no matter from where i view the ocean. The peace and tranquility of the moment is a balm to my soul. I love the beauty in the lengthening shadows and the silhouettes that show themselves at a sunset. I enjoy many moments at the edge of the sea. The ones I enjoy most, however, are the ones I spend there at the end of the day. I enjoy the colours, the silhouettes, the stillness at the end of the day, the sense of vastness the ocean encompasses, the sound of the waves meeting the shore, and the sense of peace and tranquility that fills me.

During those elusive moments, i feel, how small am i with my petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of vast expanse of God’s creation of luxurious and extravagant richness of nature. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The Paradox of Power and Relationships

The thrilling news is that the world runs on relationships. The devastating news is that the world runs on relationships.

I was reminded of this strange paradox this week. I spent two days talking to a friend R, and during our conversations where questions arose of how human connection can fuel changes and bring about a paradigm shift in channelizing one’s perspective, thoughts and goals.

People like my mom, S,S1, C, M, M1,L who played a key role in sparking my life in every arena have left their mark in a tremendous way.

There’s a saying which goes “Some people come into your life as BLESSINGS. Others come into your life as lessons”.

While the subject matter ranges widely, thoughts in my mind was essentially wrestling with versions of the same question: when are our connections life-giving and when do they actually reinforce damaging divides?

I’ve been thinking about this question on a much more personal level lately. My career and personal life is entirely built on the strength of wonderful and often wildly serendipitous relationships. In fact, I haven’t gotten a job the old-fashioned way — cold, with a formal resume — since I first graduated college.

I love the deeply organic way that my personal and professional life has unfolded. Mostly, I’ve tried to pay careful attention to the people I really like being around, those that make me feel smart and challenged and creative, and seek out ways to collaborate with them.

But I remember a time when I was first out of college, trying to make it as a freelance content writer and life’s skills equipper after a brief stint emerging as a student who was passionate about colours that chemicals diffused (Food, water and drugs analysis – Organic Chemistry), when the prospect of building a professional life based on relationships was not only daunting but felt downright discriminatory.

Uncle M tapped my inner potential and showed me a distant horizon and a bridge, that I need to cross, to utilise to the fullest and to the best of my abilities. I went to People pro in Bangalore and had no clue what it was all about when i initially set forth for the journey ahead. I went there with an open mind and i listened to life’s skills trainers from various walks of life. The first lesson that i had learnt was “It’s your attitude that determines your altitude”. I went to People pro to earn my bread and butter, nonetheless, it was a boomerang experience in my life, it was like a diving board till date, to think of the magnanamous impact it had, shaping me into the woman i am today. I can never thank Uncle M enough, for his presence in my life. My heart fills with a great sense of gratitude and reverance.

How the hell, I wondered, was a girl from small town, Rajahmundy supposed to make friends and work along side with people from different walks of life and do things which i never would dream in my wildest of imagination ? (rolling back down the memory lane makes me laugh 😀 😀 😀 ) I  would ride the train home bursting with embarssment at the panelists’ advice, hungry to unleash my talent and my ideas on the world, feeling totally stuck.

I don’t really know how I got from there to here. There must have been little breakthroughs — S, with whom i have worked on a project, always, always said, “when you are in the middle of an ocean facing strong water currents, never look back, over come those currents and move ahead”. This is what he had to say, each time, as i simply wanted to give up when i stumbled against hurdles, another who needed some research assistance that I was more than happy to provide. One thing that has always served me well is that I’m not above “dirty work” — whether that’s serving food at a diner or organizing someone’s address book — if it means getting a foot in the proverbial door.

I’m through the proverbial door these days, even sitting at many proverbial tables. And yet, I haven’t forgotten what those deflated rides home on the subway felt like. The world keeps reminding me.

When I left a workshop this week, I ended up in a conversation with a gentleman —  originally a content developer and life skills equipper. J had been driving these work shops for some weeks and said he loved it, “I’m soaking it up like a sponge,” he said. “I’m learning so much driving these interesting people and just talking to them about how they got to where they are in life.”

When i was probing in my mind, how i ended up at this particular work shop, and I fumbled around, trying to trace back how it all came about. The lines between the dots were, of course, relationships. Many of them from varous walks of life. Among people who, like me, are with an open mind, well intentioned. The kinds of people that J may drive these days, but would never run into otherwise.

My mission to go to the UK was to pursue a degree. Actually come to think of it, i have met some beautiful people in my life, i’d never ever dreamt of, and happened to listen to their life-changing real life stories. 🙂

L, clearly got a beautiful family. Her “strong ties” are thriving. She has gone through tremendous life changing experiences. Never did she express any rage in her testimonies, at least none that I could hear in our conversations together. But I couldn’t help wondering if she sometimes felt like I used to, listening to many life equipping speakers talking about relationship-building as if it were an equal opportunity prospect when I was, at that very moment, experiencing its absence as an abyss.

It’s easy to pretend that networking and building human bonds is an agnostic sport, when in truth, it widens so many of our world’s most dispiriting socio-cultural gaps. Crashing into so many people from different walks of life, sincere thanks to each one of them, reminded me that human bonds are not neutral. We need each other. If only the “we” were less predictable.