Tag Archives: Positive Thinking

32: Looking Back On January

1 Feb

January 2017 was…

…slower than January 2016

…more peaceful and easy

…more patient with me

…calming

…incredibly productive on many counts

…a smooth ride

…generous

…special.

When the year started, I didn’t have a sparkling, spanking new plan to trail-blaze my new year with. I’m incredibly lazy and unplanned like that. It’s ironic that I love planners, diaries and actually planning things out; everything, except all the necessary stuff that would otherwise help me be a more productive person. Trust me, I go gaga over well-documented excel sheets, notes, and to-do lists. But when it comes down to the dirty work, that’s one thing I procrastinate till the very end. Ugh. So yes, I as usual, didn’t have a plan or goals. The new year came along, and with it, I ambled along into it too. It was only after the year started that this posting a day idea dawned upon me. Be useful, set some goals, do something with your time, I told myself. Lol.

January took its time to leave; I guess it needed to settle things down after the whirlwind that was 2016. It has been a special month on many counts. What highlights itself is that it gave me the time to be kinder to myself, enjoy myself, and most importantly, to learn to understand myself. Back when I was studying, I came across this classic self-actualization theory of Carl Rogers, where he talks about finding a balance, or a congruence rather, between our ideal self and our actual self. By this he meant that all of us have an ideal self (what we imagine ourselves to be or what we want to be) and an actual self (what we really are) which, if not aligned, can naturally cause conflicts about the way we perceive ourselves in general. When one comes across these numerous theories, they’re interesting to dig deeper into and understand; well, some of them at least. However, they come into actual play when applied to real life, no? I digressed and spoke about Rogers because a lot of what he said, especially concerning this conflict and discrepancy, happened to me in January. It wasn’t easy when I looked into the mirror. It was harder still, when these differences confronted me. It’s true.

But I’ve been harping about being more aware and conscious endlessly only so that I can constantly remind myself to work towards it. I haven’t come to terms with this conflict entirely, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. What is happening though, is that the process of smoothing the rough edges out, has begun. I am not my ideal self and my ideal self is not me. There are quite a few differences, naturally, and I’m giving myself the time to figure them out. That’s what most of this month has been about, to be honest. Of course I still don’t know how to be diplomatic, or mask my feelings when they need to be masked. With success obviously comes failure, and this is mine. But one day at a time is the mantra.

But the month wasn’t all work and no play. There was a lot of letting go, doing what I wanted when I wanted and without feeling guilty, giving into cravings especially those of biryani, painting and drawing, being lazy and not folding the mountain of clothes that are just building a wall around me, sunning myself in the winter sun which has gone by the way, gardening, lots of drinking and chilling out at home, and of course, quite a fair share of cooking and baking. Oh, and couch-potato-ing too. I don’t want to buy that weighing scale.

Maybe that will be my goal for February 2017. I hope your first month was productive, engaging, and mad too. :)

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15: Fortunate Fifteen

15 Jan

Ooooh yeah baby, I’m so glad to be here, and to have made it to the halfway mark of this month. Speaking of which, I think it took incredibly long to get here, no? Maybe I’m still hungover from the speed of 2016, to settle in to the pace of 2017, which seems to be going slower somehow. However, I’m thankful that my mind and will held it together and didn’t fall apart at the beginning, like most journeys towards goals end up in. To those of you who are new here, I’m referring to this goal I’m working towards with some amount of earnestness and a lot of excitement. :) Irrespective of the abysmal lack of viewer/reader participation, which I’m trying not to be affected by, it’s been a rewarding 15 days so far…”write for yourself, and your goal”, is what I tell myself when I see zero comments haha! But there are some precious readers who do take the time out from their busy days to come and read, and that makes every single difference to me. Thank you, dear reader. :) Blogging becomes even more fruitful when you know you’re being read, it truly does.

I honestly didn’t have a plan or structure about this post; only that I came back after a break from writing the 14th post because I needed to soak in some much needed sun, which wasn’t going to wait for me (it really is quite cold, and sitting in the sun has been lifesaving). Nevertheless, as I began writing this post, I found what I wanted to do with it, so yay! :) Here are fifteen things; observations, learnings, insights, and thoughts; that I’ve decided to mark on my 15th post of 2017.

Kindly note: I talk/write in third person not to preach or sound preachy, but because I automatically seem to talk to my own self when I’m writing. :) You’re free to sponge this gyaan if it makes sense to you.

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A lot of my 2016 was spent in a zone of conflict. Owing, but not limited to, my experiences as a child, a considerable part of me always took the middle path; the safer one, to be precise. I always wanted to be safe and secure, maintain peace and harmony, and steer clear of dissension and disagreement as far as could. It did come at a huge cost, which I realised much later in the day. I didn’t rebel or question, disregard or break rules as a child through to adulthood. Being in the good books of authority figures gave me the validation I dearly needed; because adults know best, right? Except, when it was time to stand on my own feet, and make decisions that only I had to make, I found myself floundering…because which adult/authority was I to please, how would I get my validation if I even dared disagree with the people I’d looked up to all my life, what would I do if people were not happy with my choices? It was a trap I’d fallen into and one I still am in; and one that people know how to take advantage of. I don’t promote mindless rebellion or conflict, but steering clear from learning to agree to disagree was a mistake I’d made too many times. As a result of which, I didn’t have healthy boundaries, comprehensions, and the perception to think for myself. I’m still caught in the tangles of that web, a situation I don’t see my generation of the family facing at all, and it takes a lot of effort, grit, and thick-skinned-ness to achieve. Standing up for myself and my choices has come at the cost of isolation, judgement, and slammed doors that were shut in my face for defying the authorities that I did. But I’m beginning to feel strong about this, and very aware that my validation comes from my acts and not from pleasing people, so it only means good stuff, right?

This was a long point, and the first because I’ve been in the throes of it for sometime now. I hope the next fourteen are going to be as succinct as many of my relationships ought to be. Haha!

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Be kind to yourself. Yesterday, while sunbathing, the girlfriends and I indulged in a little conversation that ranged from cigarettes to boys, marriage to society, housework to cooking. Yes, I think we women really know how to get down to things, quickly. It was then that this concept of our core came up. Someone considered their core to be their parents and siblings; after all they’re the ones who really stand by you through hell and back. I agree with her. But to me, and I mentioned it there as well, I believe our core includes us first. Like ma says, you can only take care of things and people, if you take care of yourself first. What a lady of wisdom (and drama), this motherly of mine is. So yes, be kind to yourself. Give thanks to yourself. And love yourself.

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Take life ahead one day at a time. Maybe you knew this, and maybe I had a hint of this, but I never put it in practice because it was so obvious I thought I was doing it. Except, I wasn’t. So one day at a time is a mantra I chant before I panic.

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What your parents say isn’t and may not always be your bible. Learn to think for yourself, and act according to the situation.

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FUCK SOCIETY, baseless relationships, and whatever it is that does not work for you. Stop swimming trying to find treasures in this dead peoples’ society.

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Stop thinking, start feeling. Heart, over head. Moments, over analysis. Feels (in today’s urban jargon), over thoughts. Haha!

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Overthinking does not pay even if you’re an ace at it. Tell your mind to stfu whenever you can.

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Breathe. Deep breathe. And spoon out that junk from your system with each breath you take. Also, don’t forget to say good riddance, while you’re at it.

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Cooking has made me a calmer person, when it’s not a chore. Don’t ask me what I am when it decides to become a chore. :P

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Letting go is as easy to do, as it is to say. Just stop giving a shit about so many people, situations, and things. They really don’t know you’re giving so much of a shit about them, and I highly doubt they even care.

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Happiness is my steaming hot bath in the morning, my cup of tea peppered with titbits from the newspaper, and sunbathing, off late.

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Peace is especially overrated if it’s coming from someone else’s mouth. Find what works for you, make it happen for you, and relish it when it sweeps over you.

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Don’t fight when you’re hungry. Also, don’t go hungry when in a fight. It’s the most destructive and unnecessary ego battle. Besides, didn’t fire need fuel in the first place?

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Tandoori chicken, leftover pizzas straight from the fridge, teacakes, soups and dals, and coconut chutney are my true loves. They make me happy like spinach makes Popeye sing, literally.

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Lastly, love resides a lot in the unexpected and lesser in the expected, more in the unsaid and less in the said, more in what you might overlook and less in all that you search for it to be in. True ya. Basically, I’m learning that ruination lies in expectation. :P

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Best of the day to you! :)

11: 60 Minutes

11 Jan

It was over a whatsapp conversation with V, a couple of weeks ago, which reinforced this very special and indulgent (almost) idea of me time. I’m all for it, to be honest. And I don’t care if the world thinks I’m being selfish, haha! Ever since I quit my job and relocated cities, I’ve had only time at hand, and a rather volatile idle mind to accompany it most times. Sometimes I read, sometimes I draw or paint, sometimes I go out for a walk if the weather permits one, sometimes I cook or bake, and sometimes I just be. These are conscious periods of time I take out to engage in these particular activities for my self. So while I do read, cook, bake, listen to music, or just do random other stuff to keep me occupied most of the time, I’d over time, I guess, forgotten to be conscious of the things I was doing for just my self; irrespective of whether whatsapp chats were bursting at their seams or if phone calls came in a dozen.

One day I sent a random message to V when my mind was foggier than I’d have liked it to be and I needed some distraction. Soon after, as is when chatting with my girls, a conversation ensued. I’m thankful and so grateful for some friendships, and my girlfriends of course. More often than not, these same girls I once shared not just a classroom bench with, make me realise with an almost breathtaking cognizance, that I’m never alone. Friends double your joy and halve your sorrow, they say, and so it is. Of course these are your pillars that don’t freeload off your energy and emotional pools leaving you parched and incomplete. Anyhoo, while we were conversing, she reminded me of this absolute therapy, that is, my time – to consciously take an hour or more if you can spare it, to do something only for yourself. And there we had it, eureka.

Ever since, I’ve very actively removed a small chunk of time for myself to do as I please – and the outcome of it has been miraculous. I’ve managed to read more books than I had during all of 2016, painted more paintings than I had all of 2016, and tried yoga after so, so many years. When V told me about her go-to, which is yoga, I promptly scoffed and said that’s not my thang; much the same way I tell ma this every time she recommends yoga, pranayam and meditation to me. But I tried it, and it left me feeling calm in a zen endorphin way. Ever since, I have lost my temper less, been calmer more often, taken the zen route more than the path of war, and of course, I think I’m feeling more healthy both mentally and emotionally.

She also told me jump 20 times, which I’ve conveniently ignored.

This isn’t a yoga promotion by any means, as much as it is about the significance of giving to oneself what we give so freely and abundantly to others – a lot of ourselves. Because I also am addicted to my phone, and to thinking, it’s an enormous challenge to pick stillness and stay with it for that chosen period of time. It’s astounding how absolutely stubborn and restless my mind really is. There’s so much to patch up from the immense healing powers we have within ourselves, and while the first few days have been difficult and painful (because yoga is not for pussies), the discipline to give my mind and body this time is making itself felt, and heard (oh my joints!).

Namaste!

9: A Few Of My Favourite Things

9 Jan

In this journey of trying to find myself and who I really am, there have been quite a few pathways that have appealed to me more than the others. It’s an interesting turn of events, or phase of life as it were, to examine where you’ve come from, where you presently are, and where you’re headed. Of course the guarantee and promise of concrete answers is negligible most often, especially when you’re desperately seeking them, but not entirely elusive altogether. Or that’s what I’ve come to believe. I’ve found many a light not when I was in darkness, but when I was either transitioning or was in light itself, and there have been many eureka moments when they were least expected…sometimes during a shower, sometimes during a fight, sometimes during a walk, sometimes while cooking…quite a few were missed because I wasn’t watching or wasn’t perceptive enough, but too bad and tough luck. Some reflections were rather obvious, some more inconspicuous…it was when and where I picked them up that gave these much needed insights a fuller context, and padding, as required.

While moving along, here’s what I’ve discovered are a few of my favourite things:

Solitude. I thrive on it, because it’s mine and mine alone. Whether and what I choose to do in my company, is my own prerogative, my headache, my fruition.

Moments. Whether it’s while I’m sitting down with a cup of tea or my food by myself, or while watching tv with A, or just making a fulfilling omelette; each moment speaks of its own spark and energy, each gives me a little bit of itself without expectations or judgement. And there’s so much to savour with what they have to give.

Art. There’s a satisfaction in creation which welcomes everyone in its grace, life, and magic, like nothing else does. I find art in cooking and baking, vegetable shopping, and my morning cup of tea – from making it to drinking it – apart from the obvious others of writing, painting, gardening, music, and movement.

Stillness. It’s gotten me so very far, this one. And it’s also been the hardest to nurture and incorporate. Stillness in my thoughts, emotions, mind, functioning, chaos, without falling apart…I’m far from where its absolute magic resides, but it’s all a part of the journey.

Silence. I come from that thought which mandates me to speak up, stand up, be seen for what I think, believe, or do. I don’t mean this in an attention-grabbing way at all, but in a way which makes you accountable, even if publicly so, for your actions. I will fight a battle if it rages inside me, I will break loose if the floodgates are too much to bear. But I’m a lover of silence, and honestly believed to have incorporated it in my life, till I was so wrongly mistaken. Being silent didn’t mean keeping quiet, it meant picking what to speak up about, and letting the rest rush past you without affectation or chaos. This was the difference I didn’t quite understand till very recently. I find it hard to pick my battles because I cannot keep my mouth shut, and this really is a secret favourite I hope to imbibe. It’s clear that it needs a predominant and paramount level of investment and effort, but here’s to trying and making it through, one word less at a time.

It is at this point when A, if he were to be reading this, would swoop right in, look at me, and tell me to not think so much…that everything I’m trying to tame in me comes from overthinking. This would’ve made me argue to prove a point, but before I’d speak, I’d have to acknowledge that there’s more truth in this than not. No?

6: Forward

6 Jan

I’ve never experienced a bigger black hole than overthinking. I’m an expert at it, by virtue, and because I have so much time at hand. One of the main reasons I left my very lucrative job as a counsellor was because it mandated me to think not just for myself but for the other party too. I loved it, and I still do; counselling i.e. It came naturally to me, academically and practically, until I came head on with this mountain which I couldn’t conquer. How could I possibly help someone else if I didn’t know the art and skill of disconnection? My family urges me to take counselling on again, because it’s such a lucrative business to have. But I know it goes beyond just that at so, so many levels. Maybe someday, once I’ve figured how to summit this one out, if at all, to be realistic.

I find myself falling into this excruciating trap of thinking and overthinking more often than not. As much as I once proudly considered myself to have intellectual tendencies, I firmly steer clear of them and that thought today…because there’s nothing more degenerative to a moment than breaking it down till it stops making sense anymore. Nothing. I refrain from meeting or speaking with people who intellectualize. And very actively so. It has led to a drastic metamorphosis of many a relationship, but one’s got to look out for themselves, as selfish as that sounds. This world does have too much negativity, armchairism, and labelling to go around amply.

I’m a believer in reason, action, hard work, and learning. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason. I think love, laughter, and hugs have indescribable powers. I believe in magic wholeheartedly, I seek it and incorporate it in my worldviews. I think kisses are pathways for so much of the unsaid to be transferred and shared. Hard work is compulsory, in my understanding of things. I also have a very skewed understanding of the hard work relationships require to exist, forget thrive. And I think I live in an ideal world hugely inspired by movies, and everything unreal. I’ll let you imagine what the consequences of that perspective do to me on a regular basis. It isn’t pleasant or exciting, to say the least. The disappointment is most hard-hitting and painful, when it strikes.

But I’m learning, I’m clasping on to any rope of help and support that keeping overthinking at bay throws my way. I’m mostly underwater and breathing in painful amounts of chaos. But I haven’t drowned yet. I think I’ve learnt to stay afloat a little better from where I was last year. And that’s all I need, to move forward. That’s all I need.

Today

31 Aug

We woke up to what was promising to be a grey, rainy day even though the app said there was a 30-50% chance of rain. And sure enough, just as my husband was packing himself up to leave, it began to rain, and has been pouring steadily since. I’m not a fan of grey, rainy days. In fact I woke up thinking that I am probably the quintessential moth whose life forces and energies revolve solely around light (and ventilation, since I am human I figure. Haha!). Darkness is depressing and oppressing; dark spaces are downright morose. It’s one of the reasons why I was immediately drawn to this house – it was love at first sight. The light that streamed in from every room made my senses sing, quite literally. There’s something about open windows, rays of sunshine and crispness. I’m certain I’ve blogged about these things before.

photo 3

I gathered whatever guts I could and tried very hard to shove my phobia of thunder especially while having a shower, aside. Apart from the fact that I feel centre stage in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, there’s something about those random shatterings of thunder that I’ve always disliked about rain. I use the cues lightning throws my way, to compose myself. If there’s anything else you do to comfort yourself during thunderstorms, do let me know.

So here I am, doing what is synonymous with rainy days – sipping my second cup of chai and writing, with a lamp on. Setting, you see. I’ve obviously kept more important assignments aside, just so I can soak in this moment. I think I’m loving it. Hopefully the internet won’t vanish now, just because I professed my love for this moment. There have been many, many times when it has rained that romantic rain (rain, in my opinion, is most romantic to me when I’m indoors and warm, far from getting wet or stranded) and I’ve been stuck to my laptop, chasing a deadline, or just unable to leave it all and curl up with a book or just simply watch it rain. That’s a small win for the day, and I’m thankful.

My body has been yearning for comfort food of the homely kind – simple dal, chawal, sabzi, raita. I don’t really want to despise eating outside food, but it looks to be heading that way. Hopefully it won’t be long before I sink my soul into a big bowl of hot dal chawal and ghee. Mmmm.

Speaking of eating out, Subway took 2 hours to deliver my piddly salad for lunch yesterday. And it came minus any cucumbers and all soggy, naturally. In trying to get some vegetables into my system, that’s what had to be dealt with yesterday. Never did I think I’d chase eating vegetables like I do now, and I only have biology to thank. Thank you for keeping the natural, biological, animal-being inside us alive.

On another note, I tried my hand at a thupka (Tibetan noodle soup) yesterday after what feels like almost a decade. Being a loyalist in every sense of the word, I only ever used to dive into thupkas if I was at Taste of Tibet in Dubai Plaza (God, typing that out made me feel old somehow). Last night saw me just too tired and so I settled for a chicken thupka – because I believe in the magical powers of chicken soups, I really do. I guess circumstances compel you to make certain changes, certain shifts, if I may say so. It obviously wasn’t the same thing one can find at ToT, but that dish healed me and how – it was hard to fall asleep till much later. Chicken soups are powerful things. Chicken soups with noodles and vegetables…well, that’s the bomb. I was mighty pleased with its effect and so I do recommend a good, hearty soup when you’re down and out. If you’ve to eat out, especially.

In the middle of all this chaos, hernia-inducing, strength-training (if you may) work, there are pockets of joy and satisfaction that shine through. I’ve been trying to actively find positiveness in whatever I can; it makes all the difference. Except when the doorbell rings. I just can’t handle doorbells, especially when they’re unexpected. Quite a few have been left unanswered (muhaha!), but that apart, there’s this proactive effort towards not only finding zen, but feeling and being zen too.

I hope you have a zen day today. And I hope no doorbells ring.

The One On Validation

7 Jun

Today seems a bit different from what yesterday was like. Starkly different, actually. The past few months after my moving cities and shifting base have been nothing short of consuming on every single front. It’s been an emotional ride to not just pack up and leave but to also try and find some sort of footing in my new surroundings where I have no friends, no acquaintances, just nobody except my family and my husband; which in itself, is a lot and something I’m extremely thankful for. A lot of us never even get that much when we move.

It took a long, long time to accept this newness. When I was leaving Bangalore, I was advised by many to hold on to my job; the one thing that would be constant, a factor that would give me something to fall back on in this sea of unfamiliarity. Sometimes I wish I had listened to them and I find their imaginary I told you so fingers dancing in front of my face. But that wasn’t to be and like I’ve always said, a lot, if not the whole of me, believes that things happen for a reason.

However, I followed my heart and came to this new city armed without a job and far more suitcases than any airline permits for a domestic transfer. It was actually the longest check-in of my life what with 80 kgs in tow? Talk about baggage, I’ve got some serious issues. Puns and digressions aside, I arrived armed with not just that amount of luggage but with some unaccounted amount of courage, bravery and faith. It takes a lot for someone like me to accept change of such a magnitude. I wish I were more daring and fearless…I hope to be, some day. And so I gathered whatever I could and took the plunge.

When I look back at yesterday, it was raw. It consumed a lot out of me to acknowledge and understand what was going on. It took me a long while to figure it out after the many patient, healing and evocative conversations I had with my mother and my self. I spent so many days wondering what it was that I needed to do just so I could feel like I had a purpose, some sort of consolation prize I could walk back with and look at to feel like I was doing something. I remember writing about validation here, here, here, here, here, here, and here way back in 2011! Talk about wanting and needing to feel validated!!

And then I came across this sound clip from a friend of mine where she spoke about the need to validate one’s feelings as she recounted her experience in the labour room and post the delivery of her lovely daughter V. This helped add to what I have been experiencing off late and to help express all that I’ve been thinking about over the past few days. The difference between yesterday and today is stark, like I said. And here’s why.

Yesterday was filled with rawness, newness, of not knowing, of feeling directionless. Yesterday felt like I was stuck in an opacity where my purpose was hidden, unseen, unclear. Yesterday felt like I was useless, not valid, not living up to my dreams and ideals. Yesterday was rife with frustration, uneasiness and a lack of understanding, clarity and everything which makes you want to get up in the morning and go on with your day well stocked with that sense of resolve and justification, you know? It wasn’t as bad as it sounds; however I do vividly recall the days when I felt like the sea around me was too choppy to even try and keep afloat. For someone who always has had a routine and had something to do, it was a very strange place to be in.

It’s not like today is very different from yesterday in terms of a lot. But what makes it different is the presence of self-awareness, acceptance, patience and a lot of validation. In her sound clip, A speaks up about acknowledging and accepting one’s own feelings…of addressing them, most importantly. That’s the difference between yesterday and today, which also hit the spot when I heard her sound byte over the weekend. It’s the understanding and awareness of one’s own feelings which, when addressed, is half the job done.

Today I feel more secure, more in control, more aware, more cognizant of my current state of affairs. Today I’m far more capable of putting myself and my feelings under the spotlight when the need arises. There’s a sense of comfort because I know I have an outlet to hear my own self out. Sometimes it feels like everything’s out of control, that the world has suddenly become too big and too cumbersome to handle and that everything’s just a whistle away from bursting at its seams. It’s at times like these when I deal that we need to talk card to myself. Because when was the last time we addressed ourselves, put ourselves on priority, woke up and cradled our feelings?

That’s the difference between yesterday and today, for me. I’m better able to really enjoy this time I’ve gotten for myself. I’m more comfortable with giving myself that leeway without being harsh or too punitive on my own self. Today is still filled with those odd frustrations, irritations and unwanted thoughts and feelings. But in listening to them, validating them and knowing where they stem from makes it a far more easy task to handle with grace and face. Time, they say, is the biggest healer; and I’ve got to find the person who said this and embrace them.

Validation. I believe many an answer lie in that one act.