Lessons I am learning from the Spring

Spring is here and this is the first time my husband and me are experiencing it in the US! Before this we were in Florida for 3 years and what we experienced all year long was just SUMMER ๐Ÿ˜›

I am excited and awestruck looking at the spring blossoms in Chicago, soaking up in the color and vitality and gazing at beautiful flowers all around. It is indeed a time of renewal and letting go of things that don’t serve us anymore. It reminds me of a rebirth or reincarnation. It is my first spring and I cannot be more elated about it!

Spring is teaching me a lot of life lessons too and here is what I am learning ย –

#Lesson 1 – Humility

The other day I saw a bunch of yellow flowers in full bloom and I was so sure they were daffodils. I have never seen daffodils in real life before but those bright yellow flowers somehow fit the bill of William Wordsworth’s description of daffodils in his poem ‘Daffodils’. Those daffodils flowers were bent a little down. Beautiful as they were and yet they didn’t show the pride. I thought they were giving a lesson in humility and trying to tell me, “I know I am bright, beautiful and desirable. But my true beauty lies in my humility and hence I don’t have a haughty stance. I keep my head low with humility and sparkle my inner beauty”.ย 

Always be humble and don’t let pride take over!

#Lesson 2 – The tough season prepares us for our best

For the past 5 months, the season here was severe. No tree had one leaf left on it. Every tree was stark naked. The snow and the harsh winds blew and yet the trees stood strong. And now slowly, buds are blooming and leaflets are rising up. Nature never fails to surprise me! For 5 months the trees did not have leaves to prepare the food, it stored all its nutrition and survived this extreme weather only to transform beautifully the way it is today.

Those tiny leaflets on each tree give me hope that my tough times are preparing me for the best times in my life!

#Lesson 3 – You can always start over

Nature started all over again during spring! New leaves, new flowers, new energy – in short a new life. We can start over too. Why not let the spring guide our life and let go of the things no longer serving us and start over? How about starting over life by doing what you love? What about that toxic relationship which needs to be shed to let our spring bloom? Or that habit of ours which isn’t allowing us to grow into our full bloom?

Start over and welcome the spring in your life!

#Lesson 4 – It is time to sing just like the birds are doing!

Every morning I wake up to the chirping and humming of birds. Tiny birds with such gorgeous colors fluttering from tree to tree and sometimes visiting my patio. I have seen huge white and grey birds in Florida, but never such tiny timid vibrant birds. It just melts my heart. These birds seem to be singing their heart out not bothering about anyone! The lesson I learnt from them is sing the song of your soul! What is that your soul is yearning to do? Get up and do that! Sing the song your soul wants you to sing!

Sing the song of your soul and sing it as if no one is listening.

#Lesson 5 – Be your own beautiful self

Spring time is the time when wildflowers bloom too! It is a tiny flower which might look a little dull in front of the exotic cherry blossom and other colorful flowers. But the wildflower doesn’t care! It continues to be it’s own beautiful self! It does not compare itself with others and is happy in its own world!

Be your own beautiful self, don’t let the world tell you otherwise!

My first spring and I am thrilled to learn so many life lessons! My every gaze looking at the nature fills my heart and soul with so much of gratitude, love and renewed energy!

What spring lessons are you learning this season?

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Share your Story – Let your Vulnerability Heal the World!

You canโ€™t get to courage without walking through vulnerabilityโ€
-Brenรฉ Brown

I have got a real time experience living this quote! I believe it is our vulnerability that makes us stronger from inside and just shows how human we are!

I am a part of a tribe who are on their way to become ‘lightworkers’. Yes, I can see a few eyebrows raising and a few of you smirking. But this is my truth and I have come to accept it proudly.

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This is a wonderful tribe at the University of Wellness Holistic Life Coach Certification and some of their stories are truly heart breaking. A bunch of 25 some women who have gone through some real hardships in life and struggling with their truth today.ย And I love my tribe here – sharing our vulnerabilities, being there for each other and above all that one single thread that connects us all together – our intense inner drive to heal! Heal ourselves, heal each other and in the end heal the world!

These women decided to transform their adversity into a miracle minded life! They chose to look at their darkest times as a blessing and kept on asking what I have learnt from this phase of my life? They chose to rise up and shine and not let the low tide wilt them. They decided to look at the light instead of rotting in the dark.

And it is in the lowest of our times that we realize life’s true worth and what we are here for!

Till date I kept it under covers and was ashamed that I am on this spiritual path. I constantly worried about what will the world say and how will my loved ones react. But no more. We have not been sent to this earth to do a 9 to 5 job which we hate and pay our bills. All of us have a bigger life purpose in life and we need to attune to it. What is that thing which you will do for free for your entire life? Which is that intense calling in your life? What is your higher purpose in life? It does not have to be spiritual, but it will be something that will make the world a better place. Teaching, dancing, singing, cooking – it can be anything!

Also remember you don’t have to do this life purpose for ‘free’! I am not asking you to leave your job and start doing something for free. No. Your life purpose will give you abundance too so that you will be able to influence more people with better means.

I am telling my story today because it might show a ray of sunshine to someone. It was during the darkest of my times when I started on this path and I have never been so elated till date! It is my vulnerability that led me to this path and I am so glad today that I awakened to my real life’s purpose. I feel transformed and free only because I said yes to this call in my life.

I have a bigger story to tell on how I transformed my darkness into light and that I will share soon. But if you have a story of your vulnerability, share it with the world. You never know who will be healed with your story and how someone’s life may change by listening to your story.

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So what personal story are you sharing with the world today?

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Challenge Your Status Quo. Embrace Change!

A few days ago one of my good friends was home. While I was preparing tea, she just looked at the light arrangement in the kitchen. She realized that all the light was falling on the water basin and only some on my kitchen stove. Tall that she is, she swiftly rearranged my kitchen lights to illuminate the right places. My kitchen was better lit now with light all over the place and yet I wasn’t happy with it.

My husband and me were so used to the earlier light arrangement that this new and better light arrangement felt disastrous. The light arrangement seemed to suck and we were complaining and cribbing about it. But in reality, I could cook better in the nights with light focused on the stove.

When we first moved to Chicago from the sunny West Palm Beach, we were sad with the cold weather here. It was chillier. Going to the gym meant wearing 2 jackets, gloves and a scarf plus beanie. We were shivering when outside. But slowly we got used to the cold and the place. We love the high vibe energy here as compared to the laid back atmosphere in Florida. And we are glad we took this plunge.

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That is how I go to the gym here!

That is what happens with change! Even when the transformation is better for us, we still cling to the old. We don’t want to get rid of our old habits and try something new and better. The status quo so becomes our identity that we fear to leave it aside. Change is stressful. But if we embrace change in the right way, life will be so much simpler and easy.

Are you stuck at your current situation? Do you want to make a change and yet fear to do so? Trust me, take the leap. Be open to change. Start small with something manageable and attainable.

So what is it in your life that you want to change NOW?

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Women! Don’t Let the Guilt of Self Love Sabotage Your Inner Joy!

International Women’s Day is round the corner. While I am one of those who believe womanhood should be celebrated everyday, it is nice to have one dedicated day for this to specifically remind us! While we may have our plans on how to celebrate this ‘special’ day, I want to bring attention to something which we all need to get rid of! This Women’s Day, I want all women to let go off the guilt associated with self care and self love and embrace it as a life essential!

Thanks to our patriarchal upbringing, we as women have a tendency to immerse ourselves in bountiful pangs of guilt every time we do something ‘only for ourselves’. Remember those times when you let your husband baby sit your child and went out with your girlfriends for some girl time. How many times did you call home and check on your husband and child? Remember the time when you loved a dress but kept on thinking whether you are worth that dress? Remember the time when you did not give your husband his lunch to work and the pang of guilt that stabbed you. The time when you were at a friend’s place for dinner enjoying chitchatting with the gang, when you remembered your friend is alone in the kitchen. Remember that guilt which made leave conversations midway to help her in the kitchen while the men enjoyed! Remember the fees of any self improvement or that advanced yoga class which makes you feel so guilty that you don’t even think about joining it though you so want to do it!

These are just few of the examples. Why is it that whenever we indulge in self care of self love, it is ALWAYS accompanied by guilt? The society is one of the reasons. I am not a saint and as a part of the society, I have also been a part of the judging and name calling at one point. I have judged a mother who left her 3 month old baby in a creche and joined work. I have judged a woman who spent a bomb at the parlours. I have judged women who did not have any career ambition in life. Yes, I have been part of ‘that society’. But over the years, I have realized that it is these ‘judging’ eyes that ruin the joy of self love for most of us women. After all, who am I to judge someone? I don’t know their story, I don’t know under what circumstances they took a particular decision, I simply don’t know what their real life looks like. Even if I knew, what right do I have to judge? The first step we women need to take to eradicate guilt is stop judging others.ย Live and let live!

I love this quote from my favorite book Fountainhead by Ayn Rand –ย โ€œTo say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.โ€ย 

It makes so much sense. Indeed you first need to love the ‘I’. You need to respect the ‘I’. You need to give space to the ‘I’. You first need to make ‘I’ a priority. You need to love yourself before you can reciprocate that love to someone else. If you don’t respect yourself, how will you garner respect from others? If you keep on thinking and doing things for others, when will you live your own life?

How many times have we sabotaged our joy of self care because of the guilt trip we always associate with self care? Gone are the days when women were supposed to be in the kitchen and yet that guilt doesn’t seem to die. I know we have been raised this way but let’s try at least to love ourselves without any guilt whatsoever! One step at a time.

This Women’s Day, I want all of us to do or take up one self care activity which we have been procrastinating or avoiding only because of this ‘guilt’. What is that one thing you want to do for ‘yourself?’

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Feel Blessed with this 2 Minute Gratitude Exercise

I dedicated one entire year for gratitude in my ‘word of the year’ exercise. And ever since then gratitude has become an integral part of my life. In good as well as bad times, it is the thankfulness towards the good in life that has brought me out of the toughest situations.

But a lot of times, we get so carried away in our miseries and sorrow that we forget to look at the good things in life. In all the chaos, we forget to be thankful for what we do have and simply concentrate on our shortcomings.

You have to remember that even in the worst of our times, there will be something to thank about. Maybe that we have food on our table or that our loved ones are with us to help us through the bad times or that we are not at war. One thing to be thankful each day!

I started with a gratitude exercise few months back and thought of sharing the same with you all today. It is very simple, easy and best part is does not need more than 2 minutes. You don’t even need any pen or paper.

So here is the Gratitude Exercise:

gratitude-exercise

Every night when you get to your bed, just close your eyes and remember all the good things or blessings of the day. Visualize each of those blessings and at the end of it say ‘Thank you’ from the bottom of your heart. You may thank God if you believe in one or just a simple ‘Thank You’ acknowledging the good is all what is needed.

There will be days when you will be euphoric and there will be so much thank for! But there will also be days when you will feel life is in the dumps. Nevertheless, there will be something to thank for on that day.

As you regularly do this exercise, you will start appreciating your life. You will start being thankful to so many minute things which we take granted every single day.ย Doing this exercise while sleeping has it’s own wonderful effects. However stressful the day maybe, thinking about the good times of the day before sleeping will calm your mind and body. Your body will get relaxed and a good night’s sleep is ensured. The next day you will wake up with renewed energy ๐Ÿ™‚

Try this exercise as you don’t have anything to lose here. It doesn’t even require any investment or props. And please don’t tell me you don’t have the time. Start this exercise and let me know how you feel after continuing the practice for a month at least!

Thank You! ๐Ÿ™‚

3 Less than 15 Minute Meditations to Start Transforming Your Life

When I first started meditation, it was on and off with no regularity or consistency. I just did it on the spur of the moment. But then, life went astray in between and that is when I took meditation seriously and started doing it religiously.

Before I tell you the 3 Meditation Techniques, I would like to put forth a few points which will help you in your process of transformation via meditation –

  1. Choose a time for your meditation and follow that time. Mornings are better, but if you don’t have time in the morning do it in the evening or night. But keep one specific time for it. Follow this schedule.
  2. Don’t expect overnight results. Be patient. Instead of starting meditation with a bunch full of expectations, keep it simple. Do it because you feel good doing it.
  3. Thoughts will be there always. Instead of forcing them out, acknowledge the thoughts and move on. The perspective that one should have a ‘thoughtless’ meditation ruins the experience. It takes time and practice till we reach to that stage. So don’t beat up yourself if your meditation is accompanied by thoughts.
  4. Don’t give up soon. Continue the practice and you will notice the difference. Stay put ๐Ÿ™‚

So here are the 3 Meditations which you can do within 15 minutes and witness your own transformation –

#1 Simple Counting Meditation

When I first thought of serious meditation, I began with this simple meditation technique. Ro Ferrelli who is an intuitive personal coach had mentioned about this meditation in one of her Vlogs and I thought let’s start with it. It is the simplest of all the meditations and can be timed as per your convenience – 5 minutes, 10 minutes etc. Here is a video demonstrating this meditation technique –

 

#2 Chakra Meditation

This meditation is to strengthen the 7 chakras in our body which are associated with a lot of things happening in our life. I was told I have energy blockages in one of the readings and I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Mr. Ajay Jadhav during this time frame. Mr. Ajay Jadhav is a versatile healer and much more than that as a human being. He taught me this chakra meditation and it has been 2 months now that I have been doing this meditation every single morning.

chakra-meditation

This meditation helps you clear the energy blockages in your body, thereby strengthening the chakras. You need to take deep breaths and chant the respective beej mantra while exhaling –

  1. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Muladhar Chakra situated at the end of your spinal cord in the back.
  2. Vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Indriya Chakra situated about two inches below the navel and two inches in.
  3. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Nabhi Chakra situated at your navel.
  4. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Hriday Chakra situated at your left breast.
  5. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Kantha Chakra situated at your throat.
  6. Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Adnya Chakra situated at your third eye.
  7. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Sahastrar Chakra situated at the very top of the head.

Give it a try and see what difference it brings in your life.

#3 Kirtan Kriya Meditation

I love this one! Started doing it since this Monday. I saw one of Ro’s live videos where she mentioned about manifesting a TEDX talk through this meditation. At that time, I did not pay much attention to it. Later again in one of her Instagram videos I heard this ‘Sa Ta Na Ma’ playing in rhythmic music. It was so enchanting. I was so attracted to that music and the words. I didn’t realize that I had started humming those words unconsciously in my mind in that rhythm ever since. It was as if this was my calling. How much ever cliched it sounds, but yes I felt the ‘calling’. And thus I got hooked to this one. It is a Kundalini Yoga meditation and takes just 11 minutes! I am in love with this mediation currently ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a video explaining beautifully and aptly on how to do this 11 minute meditation –

Soulful music and words, right?

I am hooked to the last two meditations currently and they occupy my mornings. I do my meditations without expectations today. I just indulge in them to simply soak in the peace.

If you need help in any of these meditation methods listed here, please feel free to get in touch with me. I will be more than happy to help ๐Ÿ™‚

Which meditation will you try today?

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A Tale of the Imperfect Chapatis!

When I married Sujoy, I knew cooking. I used to help my mom in the kitchen and on many occasions cooked meals too before marriage. So cooking was not a big issue for me. The real issue was making chapatis.

Sujoy is a Bengali and I am a Konkani, so it was good in a way that chapati was never a staple food in our diet. We were happy with our fish and rice ๐Ÿ™‚ But sometimes I used to crave for chapatis, especially when I used to make mutter paneer or that thin spicy red chicken gravy. While in India, it was easier to get good homemade chapatis from outside. The real problem started when we shifted to US.

With no good outside chapati options, I tried to make chapatis at home. It was a disaster. Kneading the dough was a task, rolling out the chapatis even a bigger nightmare and the cooking of chapati tedious! The end result was a chapati which was thick like a brick and crunchy like a papad (I still joke on my papad chapatis)! I gave up on the thought of making chapatis.

I shied away from making chapatis and either stuck to puris or snacks like pav bhaji when I invited folks over at home. I gave up and thought ‘making soft chapatis is not my thing’.

But this kept on bothering me as I did not have an alternative available to good home made chapatis. Thus started the quest of chapati making research. I asked my friends to send videos of the process, watched some youtube videos, saw my sister preparing chapatis and browsed blogs. And yet whenever I tried making chapatis, the result was not as per my expectations. I still sucked at making chapatis but they were better than the earlier papads.

In the entire process, I learnt step by step. I first learnt that my kneading is not as prescribed. I used very little water and kneaded a hard dough. Hence the crunchy papad like chapatis. I corrected that. Then I learnt that my tava temperature was too high and the chapati was getting burnt due to it. I kept my cast iron griddle aside which used to remain heated and bought a new anodized griddle. Then I learnt kneading the dough and keeping it in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes makes the chapatis softer. I did that. Later I learnt, we should first mix the salt and oil very well in the atta so that oil fats get emulsified in the atta and then add water gradually. I implemented that.

I started making chapatis more often, twice a week to be specific. Slowly the number increased and as I practised this art of chapati making, I improved by leaps and bounds. I learnt at every step. Today I prepare such soft chapatis that I myself can’t believe that I prepared those chapatis. I am confident to invite guests over and feed them with chapatis prepared by me, though giving them a fair warning that they aren’t the best. That just gives me a leverage as the expectations are set low ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I am still working on the shape though, but who cares when the chapati now is so fluffy! I am so content with my chapati quality that I bought a 20 lbs atta packet recently while earlier I was content with a 4 lbs packet which lasted for months. Now, isn’t that a big feat?

Why am I telling you this chapati story today? To make you realize the imperfect chapati in your life. What is that imperfect chapati in your life which you have shying away from, thinking you are not good at it at all? Practice makes man perfect and trust me you can make perfect chapatis too ๐Ÿ™‚

I wouldn’t have been writing this blog today if I wouldn’t have practised writing consistently for 2 years now. I wouldn’t have been writing today if I would have given up writing at my first rejection. I wouldn’t have told you the story of my imperfect chapatis today if I would have stopped writing hearing the early writing criticisms.

So how about not giving up and working on those imperfect chapatis diligently?

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