Peel the Layers
Peel the Layers
Peel the layers
The inspiration from this topic came from Rumi’s quote “show me anger and I will show you hurt. Show me hurt and I will show you love. Peel the layers if you care”.
Such a wonderful thought - “peel the layers”. Lot of psychology is based on this too and lot of inner work gurus do is to get away from the layers and identify the core.
I had a spiritual experience yesterday in something as simple as fireworks. Though they were the biggest firework happening this year (2021) in Nashville. First few minutes were ‘normal’. We all were in awe and appreciated it and thought they ended. But fireworks continued. So the next few minutes for me were to burst away all negativities - criticism, judgement, too much advising, body shaming etc. and I thought the fireworks were over.
But it continued! So next time was to bring in all the positivity. Blessings, showers of grace, gratitude, happiness, achievement, family …the list goes on on all. All bursting with energy! And the fireworks were over.
Not yet. So next phase we are done with both positive and negative. So only Krushna (God) remains. And the next set was all forms of Him. Everywhere. Omnipresent. Omnipotent. Omniscient.
The fireworks still continued. Now we are down to nothing. Just energy. Bubbling and vibrant. Untainted. Pure.
The fireworks show helped me peel the layers. Next time I feel an emotion, I am going to go deep into what led it and what is the layer behind it.
How have you been peeling the layers?
Layer after layer
Needs to be peeled
To get to the essence
A new discovery
With each layer
The journey is long
But worth it
|Posted by [email protected] on 6 April, 2019 at 22:10||comments (2497)|
Who is fortunate?
The thought of this topic came from a question asked in Ashtavakra Gita by Sri Sri Ravishankar, the question was “Who is fortunate?” Are the ones who are wealthy fortunate? Are the healthy people fortunate? Are famous people fortunate? He answers that it’s the joyful people who are fortunate.
That got me thinking. Whom do I consider fortunate? The first answer that came to mind are the people who have experienced deep love whether from our beloved, children, parents, siblings or friends. The love that really pushes the boundaries of expanding who I am.
Fortunate are also the ones who have experienced devotion. It’s when I get goose bumps singing. Again, its transcends me to a state of consciousness beyond the day to day.
According to Shrimad Bhagwat, fortunate are the ones who are inclined to read and understand the knowledge. Fortunate are also the ones who have gurus or mentors.
It takes me back to gratefulness. There are countless things I am grateful for. It’s also interesting how I believe I am fortunate by comparison – especially when I hear stories of loss of health or loved one or job, all the things I take for granted. I live in a peaceful country, have good neighbors, a loving family, good health with all necessities of life taken care off. I am fortunate and I am grateful.
I do agree that the people who are joyful are for sure fortunate. Sri Sri’s answer reminds me that saints are happy no matter what. They are happy without any qualms. It is quite a fortune to develop that mindset.
Who do you believe are fortunate?
I am fortunate
I am grateful
I am joyful
I am loved
I am blessed
I feel His love
I feel His Grace
I feel His presence
I sure am fortunate
|Posted by [email protected] on 6 October, 2018 at 15:55||comments (1242)|
The thought of this topic came from a book on proverbs. I found this phrase very catchy :” One day or Day 1”? I have noticed multiple times if I have a desire to do something, I say to myself that “one day”. One day turns to sometime and sometimes to never….
This phrase challenges me to think why can’t this be Day 1 to get my dream going. Why do I have to wait for the “one day”? Why can’t it be today?
I recently read a Linked In article that the biggest fallacy we have in life is that “I have time”. The author noted, that was the biggest regret lot of people had. In my “one” day argument, I keep thinking I will do this post x years when Ashna, my 7 year old, grows older. In the same breath, I also waste time surfing the internet or lately getting into online shopping. So, really, do I not have the time or am I using “one day” as an excuse?
The idea is to challenge ourselves to go from “one day” to Day 1. Yes, I want to learn pottery. Let me join a class. Yes, I want to continue writing, let me begin today. Yes, I want to build better relationships then let me send a note.
Day 1 is simple. Day 1 is a mindset. Day 1 is a beginning. Day 1 is an accomplishment. Lets move from one day to day 1 today!
I will paint
I will travel
I will write
Put on hold
I can take a tiny step
I can live my dream
I can make one day
|Posted by [email protected] on 1 June, 2018 at 22:40||comments (836)|
The thought of this topic came up as a discussion with my friends Liz and Daiga. We were introspecting and analyzing our lives. We had self-awareness. Interestingly we also had self-doubt and maybe a little bit of insecurity.
Self-awareness, I believe is honest and keeps us humble. It helps keep an eye on the ego. It is a consciousness and if channeled correctly it leads to connectedness.
Self-doubt on the other hand is the one that always questions. Is this the right decision? It is the master of “what If” scenarios. It thrives on fear. Sometimes, it may protect us but most times, I feel, it brings us down and weakens are intent. Self-doubt feeds insecurity and insecurity feeds self-doubt.
If we watch it, we find self-doubt at all places. Recently we were watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’. The participant was practicing a tough dance. He was self-aware. It was a tough dance and he will need to practice more. Plus, he will be judged and watched by a whole bunch of people! These were just facts. Then, for a moment, he felt insecure and had self doubt on his abilities to perform and he said, “I have to ensure I don’t come in my own way”. He captured the essence of self-doubt wonderfully.
I do believe all of us have self-doubt at different scales and I also feel we use different tricks to combat it whether its using our courage, or taking a few different opinions to gain confidence or in my case, hearing war music to get the courage! Self doubt may come in with either a history of failure or more so a fear of failure. I start fearing self doubt when it moves to self-pity or indifference. In case of self-pity, I feel depressed and in case of indifference, I feel I don't care. In either case, self doubt stays put.
Self awareness is a skill we all need to develop. It’s the first step towards mindfulness. It helps me understand what I am feeling, why I am feeling that way and whether that reason leading to the feeling is true. For example, I feel sad as I think she is not listening to me. However is it really so? Is she not listening or am I not hearing her? Self awareness helps me get in touch with my core being.
As we friends shared both these thoughts, I felt lucky and blessed to be surrounded by people I can be vulnerable with and who would love me anyway. A few questions on these thoughts from my friends helped me take a leap from self-doubt to self-awareness to “Self”-awareness.
I am aware
That I am good
And I doubt
I haven’t been great
I am aware
Of the Presence
I am conscious
Of the connection
I am self-aware
I am Self-aware
I just am
|Posted by [email protected] on 11 March, 2018 at 20:40||comments (879)|
The thought of this topic came from a tagline of Metlife. I find this line to be so inspirational. For me, “Have you met life today?” is the perfect topic for today.
What is meeting life? Is it just that we are alive so we have met life? Or is it the ‘liveliness’ within that talks to meeting life?
When I think of life, I think of energy and movement. I think of liveliness, laughter and love. I think of breath. I think of the beating heart and I think of warm and tender hugs.
I asked this question to my mom. Her answer was deep. She feels she has met life when she is creating something – a poem, an idea, a song and an exquisite dish or when she hears music or when she meets a friend suddenly or when she is centered and feels His presence. My dad on the other hand feels he has met life when he sees beauty in nature. A beautiful sunrise, the sound of a melodious stream, a blooming lotus or a genuine smile.
I am always intrigued at how people make choices specially in terms of meeting life. How have people around me met life? I have seen a 24-year-old wasting life in drugs and I have seen a 60-year-old taking dialysis every week with a smile and celebrating life. I have seen a 40-year-old, detected with cancer, living each day and meeting life right now, in the present. And I have seen my own 7-year-old celebrating and at times sulking at life.
As I introspect these and many other lives, I hope I can meet life gracefully, graciously and gratefully and I hope I can meet the ‘life-force’ of life in this lifetime.
So, how have you met life today?
The deep eyes
That have met life.
|Posted by [email protected] on 7 July, 2017 at 22:55||comments (787)|
The idea of this topic came from a podcast. The speaker was talking about how mentally pressing the reset button helps reset things. I tried it recently. I was having a hard time with a colleague at work and I mentally decided to press reset. I am making a strong effort to restart the relationship on a better and positive note. Reset concept is also helping me when I am stuck in a negative emotion. I tell myself to reset and it works!
Reboot - that to me implies new beginnings. That's when we choose a different profession, different location, a different life. We are rebooting ourselves to something new and exciting! For me, reboot was when I decided to quit my last job and finding something different. Another upcoming reboot will be moving to our new home. Reboot with the right attitude is sure fun!
Reformat is to fully start over - wiping all the memories of the past, cleaning up the junk and starting anew. For most of us in life it's at the time of death. Everything is gone and everything starts over. For some saints, it's when they take 'sanyas' where they willingly give up their past identity, take a new name, take a new lifestyle and work towards their highest goals. The soul is the same, like the hard disc, but everything else changes.
Where have you exercised Reset and Reboot?
I start over
Not bound by any past
Not hurt by any wounds
Forgetting it all
I start over
With a clean slate
To live life
|Posted by [email protected] on 15 April, 2017 at 22:45||comments (761)|
This topic was inspired from a radio talk of a person going on a “Listening Tour”. Implying just go and listen to thoughts, concerns, ideas , without finding justifications but with the mindset of reaching out and understanding. I decided I need to go on my own listening tour both intrinsically and extrinsically. Extrinsically it implies listening to my loved ones and intrinsically listening to my body, mind and soul.
As I started my tour, I was reminded of a quote, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply”. I made a commitment reminding myself of the principle of listening. I will listen. I will not find reasons or excuses to justify myself. I will simply listen and seek to understand.
The question I asked on my listening tour – starting with my loved one, my husband was “Is there anything I do that annoys you?” My husband’s first reaction was “Is this a trick question? Am I in trouble”? He is funny! As I explained my context, he mentioned that I could pay more attention to cleaning and picking up after myself. I have taken the feedback seriously. Part of the issue is, I don’t even notice it. So now, as I leave a room, I put my “Pranav” cap on to figure out what would he see. I think he will say I have improved!
I have then asked my mom if she notices anything that I need to work on. She responded I need to pay more attention to being gentle. As I get crunched to complete an activity, I start getting edgy and blunt. I sure know that is true! I am still working on it.
The other question I ask on the listening tour is – “Is there any advice you would give me at this moment?” My husband would say “Find your happiness” and I would say “Focus on staying blissful”.
I start my intrinsic journey and ask, what is my body telling me? I do the body scan. I listen. I hear the body wants to be pampered (may be massage is overdue) and pushed (exercising).
On the listening tour with my mind and soul, I hear continue to find your quiet time and continue to listen! Let the tour become a frequent phenomenon.
Being on the listening tour has been fun. How would you feel on embarking on your own listening tour?
I am here
I am here
I am here
Asking for your advice
And to grow
|Posted by [email protected] on 1 January, 2017 at 21:25||comments (949)|
The credit of this poem goes to the Art of Silence retreat at Boone, North Carolina by Art of Living Foundation. It was amazing! The picture and poem capture the connection I felt with the universe.
Watching my thoughts
and letting them go
with my Self
|Posted by [email protected] on 26 November, 2016 at 11:55||comments (439)|
This topic was inspired by a book I read “The Secret life of bees” by Sue Monk Kidd. In the book one of the characters dies and the family starts falling into the trap of guilt. “If only I had done this, he would still be here”, was the common refrain. This in turn reminded me of the death of a close family friend. The husband was in the bathroom when he got a massive heart attack. Unfortunately, he passed away at a young age of 45. The wife took the blame and guilt stating if I she had checked on him quicker he may be alive.
It’s sad to watch how we succumb to guilt and blame game. Somehow we always find a reason for it. It can be simple things, if I had only exercised I would not be this fat or more complex emotions if I had only trusted him more, we would have a lovable relationship. Blame and guilt follow us everywhere.
I notice blame and guilt are over the past events. And I think the root cause is the lack of acceptance of the event, the thing or the person.
Now I don’t like myself fat so I blame my non-exercise routine. Most of the times blame and guilt pull us down instead of giving us the courage to do something about it. I am fat and I am sure if I exercise I will lose these extra pounds. That power, courage and conviction is not seen in the blame and guilt game.
People can also use blame and guilt game on us. I think it’s the manifestation of fear. I am afraid you will leave me so I use the blame/ guilt game to hold on to you. Fear – one more downer.
It’s on us to realize that blame and guilt games are not fun to play. We should rather play acceptance and courage games. Let me forgive my and everybody else’s mistakes. Let me accept today’s reality. Let me find the courage to tread forward.
But you didn’t show up
I start playing
The blame game
On my whereabouts
I am now
In the guilt game
Break the shackles
Let compassion overrule blame
Let acceptance overrule guilt
Let courage forge
Now, I play
The compassion game
The acceptance game
The courage game
|Posted by [email protected] on 9 October, 2016 at 20:40||comments (344)|
This topic is inspired by an avid biker, blogger and author Alastair Humphreys (www.alastairhumphreys.com) who has written this book called Microadventure. The author has an interesting concept. He says 9-5 we are at work but 5-9 is for ourselves. In this 5-9 time lets enjoy some micro adventures. On his website he gives various ideas on how we can create our own micro adventures. Its sure worth a read.
I got introduced to his author by my friend and colleague Mike Dits. This young man has decided to cycle around the world and learn about renewable energy. He quit his well-paying job and decided to pursue his dream. He is on a world adventure!! Follow his adventures at www.renewride.com
For some people adventures are big and bold – like Mike and my brother. With my brother, I remember him climbing on the first floor with his bare hands, jumping in the ocean to swim, riding his motorcycle for 60 days and walking miles to reach new cities. Just yesterday he was talking about earning money or winning a lottery to be one of the people who can go to space. I on the other hand have always played it simple. When I was a kid, I had a game called “going on adventures”. I and my friends would go to places that were not very safe to visit. We went on construction sites, climbed up trees and tried to explore new roads. I don’t think I can ever be the full-blown adrenalin or adventure junkie. I think the 5-9 microadventure is an awesome concept developed just for me!
For all the complaints I have with time, I do have 5-9 and I do have weekends. So what can I do in this 5-9 that makes me feel more alive and adventurous. For me, the 5-9 micro adventure doesn’t just mean going hiking or swimming. Its micro vacations, micro spiritual pursuits, micro health pursuits, micro knowledge ventures or even micro experiments. A micro vacation for me is taking a walk. Micro spiritual pursuits are practicing gratitude or mindfulness. Micro health pursuits are 40 days of Tai Chi and micro knowledge venture is reading book and taking courses to improve my writing. I consider all of it that helps me feel more alive.
It also reminds me that I need to treat the 5-9 time with respect and not simply that I am done for the day and now I should watch TV and relax. The attitude change itself has done wonders. Currently my micro-experiments are experimenting different cooking and cleaning up ‘Marie Condo’ style implying really giving away things I haven’t used.
The crux is how can I have some fun micro adventures to feel more alive! What is on your 5-9 micro adventure list?
The gift of time
That’s my time
The way I want to
Adventures and experiments
Fun and freedom
Experiencing and celebrating life
|Posted by [email protected] on 11 September, 2016 at 19:35||comments (443)|
The thought of this came from an article in Conscious Community magazine by Allan Cohen. The author inspired the thought - redefine success as inner peace.
That led me to thinking, “How do I define success?” Is it by money earned? Is it by Job Title or by driving impact at work? Is it by progress on the spiritual path? Is it by inspiring others or spreading joy?
The author asks us to redefine success as inner peace. The question then is, when do I feel peaceful? The author recommends using the compass of joy to identify those activities. Let’s do the activities that help cultivate inner peace and get away from those that take away peace.
For me, music is an activity that gives me peace and leaves me energized. Just yesterday I drove 20 minutes to meet my group and we all sang for 2 hours. Post the session I felt energized and I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt tired in the evening but it was well worth it. The question I ask myself is do I feel joyful or drained post an activity? Quite a few times after watching TV I feel drained. That tells me to not go on that path – the path that leaves me yearning for inner peace.
Redefining success as inner peace is hard. Imagine the conscious questioning, am I feeling peaceful? If not, how will I get there?
I define success as abundance and inner peace. Abundance of love, life and certain material comforts - a nice home, good books and ability to afford luxuries. Abundance also implies inner prosperity and joy.
What is your definition of success? And what compass do you use to measure it?
The green fields
With loads of yellow dandelions
Swaying in the wind
The blue sky
Protecting and Nurturing
A new avatar everyday
Grateful and blissful
Soaked in His love