7 simple rules to practice self-love

Since we are still in the ‘Love’ month of February I wanted to share these 7 simple rules to show some love to our ‘Self’. After all, we can only share what we have.

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Practicing Self Love

  1. Wear an outfit that makes you smile and or wear make-up that makes you smile J
  2. Eat well- Recognize the foods/drinks which make you go off balance.
  3. Make time for what makes you happy.
    • This could be prayer/meditation/ time with nature/me time. Me time could also be time for painting, journaling, dancing etc.
  4. Get your body some exercise – experiment with dancercise, rock climbing, hiking, biking and find out which form of exercise you actually look forward to.
  5. Allow yourself time to not ‘do’ anything and just be. This can be for 5 minutes or 15 minutes depending on how long you can give yourself. If not doing anything drives you nuts then simply curl up in your bed and take a nap or get a nice bubble bath.
  6. Pay attention to how many hours of sleep is ideal for you. You would know this by the fact that you don’t need an alarm to jolt you up in the morning.
  7. Set boundaries with people at work, with relatives, with friends etc. Start saying NO to those situations/people who drain you out. Respect your life enough to leave work on time most days where you feel like you have a life beyond work.

 

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The Changing room-II

It is scary..to not know. To not know where you are headed when you have always felt like you did. You took pride in your clarity of purpose and alignment of every thought, action and word. It makes you question the very foundation that you once stood on and built yourself. Fears and insecurities begin to surface and your sense of certainty in who you are isn’t certain anymore. It is a place where you feel that you are simply ‘in between’. Every aspect of your life is being gently ripped apart. Tears flow through the eyes unexplained as if the soul needs to be cleansed. Almost as if the well inside is full and needs to pour outside. You feel slightly embarrassed sharing this with friends who have known you to be their anchor in trying times. Friends who have seen you as somebody who is sure of her dreams. It is that ‘sure’ which I am no longer sure about. There seems to be a state of confusion or transformation to be more precise. It is something like you are standing in the center and everything else around you is moving and you are a mere spectator, clueless and yet in it.

As often cited in textbooks, these moments catch you and begin to surface more when you are alone. You can ignore it once, twice perhaps thrice but the fourth time you simply cannot. I have postponed the welling up of these thoughts several times until now and somehow today I could no longer do it. I knew that I had to write it down. A lot of my dreams in the past few months had signaled me towards change and transformation. However I did not exactly know what that ‘feels’ like. It feels like something is being pulled out of you..a sense of death and dying in a way. Sometimes you feel lost and begin wondering ‘how did I get here’ and ‘Do I need to be some place else’. It is soul wrenching and a quiet pain. It is subdued for the most part but it for sure is there. Any traces of ‘ I know who I am’ and thereby the swollen ego syndrome is all washed away. Perhaps this is what the tears are for..to wash away, to cleanse, to make you humble and more human in your imperfections.

There are moments where I want to hide my face into someone’s chest, someone who can assure me that ‘this too shall pass’ and that I am with you no matter what. The anxiety of being human and the need to be rescued. Feeling as I do, I also have no choice but to be with myself right now ( I laughed as I wrote this). Is it the dark night of the soul? May be. All the times when I would wonder ‘how can someone be afraid of change’ and one just needs to have faith are all being offered to me as personal experiences. Don’t know if anyone likes being in this phase but as always I am hoping that I can shine through this and emerge a clear diamond. I often say that strong headed or stubborn people need harder lessons to get through their tough heads and guess what..I am in one right now! Taking my bow to life and spirit!

Seems like I need to simply surrender and then my ego comes right back at me telling me to ‘do’ something. It says, you cannot simply sit back and let this happen, you need to take charge. These are perhaps my mind’s attempts to hold on to whatever I know, that is if I know anythingJ

Passing Clouds-Pain & Pleasure

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day in Chicago with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. A stop light made me pause and look at the sky while I was driving. I observed the clouds floating around in the sky. The sky being ever present and allowing the clouds to wander around, there was an engaging stillness about it. The clouds seemed weightless and moving across. Right at that point I wondered, what is it about being huma

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Floating Clouds

n that makes us believe in the permanency of fear based emotions and situations? Pain and pleasure are clouds that wander around in our life i.e. the sky. They are both temporary in nature, one making way for the other..moving along. As humans, it is perhaps our failure to foster our inner stillness in this fast paced life that leads us to focus on the clouds.

Would you work even if no one paid you for it?

Work is Worship, Work gives me satisfaction…Work = life for me, I would be nothing if not for my work. All these statements intrigue me. Read ahead for some observations and findings.

Since ancient times now, human beings have been “working”. Some have a reason to work, some invent one and some are blissful in not having one. Reason or nor reason, we work. Be it a housewife at home, an entrepreneur who creates his own work, an artist whose expression becomes his work, an employee who works for someone etc etc…What exactly makes a human being want to work or have to work? Is it money? May be not, for, in the times of barter too, we did carry out some activities which were not necessarily for any commercial gains. It was more of need based exchange of goods and services. If it were simply for rupees or dollars that we work today, why do we dread the thought of being paid a hefty sum for non occupation? With due respect to the exceptions who are capable of digesting unearned salaries. Having said that, our need to work is not necessarily linked to money. Money or no money, we would surely engage ourselves in some kind of activity.

Literally, work means a set of activities that all of us engage in at some of point of time or for a period of time. A Need is intrinsic and basic in nature, the fulfillment of which gives us a sense of satisfaction. For example, food and water satisfy our basic needs of hunger and thirst. It is only when these are left unfulfilled that we realize how primary they are to one’s existence. Assuming that Irrespective of the existence of Money, we would like to engage in some activity, “working” or being engaged possibly leads to fulfillment of some basic need in a human being. Let’s now try and understand what that basic need in us is.

Each one of us is a bundle of energy captured in a particular form. I do not know much of science but know that energy is not meant to be lying idle, rather cannot be idle. The fundamental characteristic of energy is that it gets transformed. Even if we choose not to move physically, mental energy is in action. This energy needs to be channelised. It is like generating electricity through channelizing water in a river stream. Although apparently, a river stream may look calm or in some cases even idle, there is a lot of activity that goes on inside it. The process of channelization also gets coloured depending on the circumstances in which we are planted. It either takes a negative or a positive connotation. For example, the bundle of energy is possibly the same when we are born but our childhood, schooling, friends and parents all through a process of conditioning, carve a channel for that energy. We often, say that a man is better known by the company that he keeps. This helps us understand that by and large, a person born amongst goons might become one or a teacher’s child would possibly first think of teaching. This is purely to be seen as an example for the effect the circumstances can have on us. Further to this, the element of choice also helps us transform the energy within us or to move it to positivity. The person born into poverty may choose to educate himself and grow up to be a learned man against all odds or you may juxtapose this situation with that of a child born to a wealthy businessman who grows up to be a wastrel. Hence, we know that there is some energy within all of us which always looks for an outlet.
For simpler understanding, we can categorize this energy as positive or negative depending on the activity for which it is used or the effect that it has. In absolute terms, positive energy is one that creates and negative energy would be one that destroys (for a moment, lets set aside, the creation that is possible through destruction). In essence, both involve expression. The energy within gets manifested in the form of the expression.

Every human being is said to manifest through him, a certain set of intentions which belong to the entire cosmos. It is like a subset of the universe. The ingredients that form part of each bundle of energy may be the same but differ in proportions and hence manifested differently with different intensities and focus. An example for this could be the five elements that constitute our body. The elements are the same but each body and the system inside are different. Having the same base elements, some bodies are dark, light, heavy, long, short, etc. In case of bodies, genes play an important role in creating a unique body, similarly, the situations/circumstances that one is brought up in shapes up his choice of “energy expression” which could be to create or to destroy. Also, as mentioned above, the intensity of or the focus of the “energy elements” or set of intentions that one would manifest differs from person to person. It is the dominance of one these elements that defines your intrinsic need to “do something” and leave the rest of the elements or intentions available to you. Hence, we find that some people have a natural inclination towards Arts/Sports/Academics/Commerce etc. It is this part of your natural being that looks for an outlet over a period of years.

The energy within brings out a need to transform itself into some other form and therefore a human being finds purpose in engaging himself in some form of activity. It is this energy in each one of us that needs an expression and makes us work. Hence, money or no money, a human being will always be involved in some activity and keep this energy engaged, for, this precious energy cannot be wasted.

One level higher, people who are able to find their respective focus are the people who derive joy out of their work. With a little bit of search within, one can know what is it that makes him come alive and what makes him listless.

Being YourSelf…

What does your experience say? Is it easy being you or it is a challenge every SELF faces in the years that it lives amongst many other “selves”. Let me take you to another tangent- while I write this, I remember a quote – “Most people are other people”, they live by the way other people want them to and think with other people’s minds (the collective mind, do not read it as the mind of the Supreme Being) There are two alternate questions that pop up when we discuss this: 1) Whether an individual realizes what his Self is made up of, his distinct identity or his uniqueness in this universe?
2) Having realized it, what does one really do with it?

Lets take the first question: Right from the moment a child is born, we assign him similarities to his parents/ relatives etc etc…We tend to focus more on what our child shares in common in his peers (does he attend the same coaching classes, or the same summer camps, or may be is one’s child doing better than the neighbors’). Very rarely do we let a child find have his time to explore and find out what he really likes. For some fortunate souls, this liberty is granted in the form of extra- curricular activities in school and college. Some struggle later in lives to FIND themselves, that passion in them that lits them and sets them apart. The SELF is strong in these individuals and they cannot resist the urge to follow it and understand it. Many others resort to convenient ways of just doing what they have been asked to and live a life acceptable within the societal parameters of stable job, marriage followed by kids and the likes…In effect, the process of finding oneself is in itself a courageous task because many a times, you may have to stand alone and not have the luxury of being comparable, hence declared normal, acceptable. The uniqueness in each individual is not comparable if you do realize it, that is.

Now comes the next question: After having realized what ingredients you are made up of, what do you do? This is an even more challenging task for as SELF to conquer, for this is where thoughts start shaping up into action. For example: what happens when the blue eyed baby born in an engineer’s family, decides to take up pottery as his profession. I am sure I need not essay the confrontations that would take place in a normal setup. This is where the strength of a passion is tested through fire. Many a potter must have given up his dreams for the want of answers to practical people who believe in stable lives and who have not seen people making a living out of their passions. It is only when your courage to follow your heart is tested that you understand how clear you are about the dream you are chasing. The road ahead is even tougher for the people who decide to take the plunge and in the bargain lose out on their safety nets of bank balances, secured relationships, steady job etc etc…The individuals who reach till here know that as and when you learn more, you realize that you are alone, left with HIM. And independence is always coupled with responsibility for one’s actions.

It is also only over a period of time that one can differentiate between a fool and a wise person.
For any person, both appear to start the same way but it is only the end that justifies the strength and conviction of the SELF in either.