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You are not a tree

Posted by [email protected] on 13 August, 2016 at 10:20 Comments comments (163)

The thought of this topic was inspired by a quote by Jim Rohn “if you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree”.


 

Really, change it. Why are we so afraid of new things and change? Why do we always use practicality as an excuse to avoid change and keep suffering through it? Why do we behave like trees?


 

A few months ago, as I neared the 100-day mark of my job hunt, one of my beloved advisors said, “Maybe you should have stuck around and found something before you quit”. Another one asked me “Can you not go back?” I guess they believe being in an uprooted stage is not fun. However, if I want to change, I have to uproot myself to find the soil and environment that facilitates growth. I didn’t uproot myself to go back and I needed the gift of time to find the correct soil.


 

On the other hand, I am blessed to have friends and family watching my journey and reminding me to focus on one step. The universe will automatically send something my way and it has. I know it and I believe it. The lesson that I need to keep learning is ‘patience’. Once we uproot ourselves it takes time. I always focus on the big picture. Today I am itching to find out what’s next but down the road, I will fondly look back at this time and thank God for giving me the courage and granting me the luxury of time.


 

As I think about “I am not a tree”, I am reminded of the saying “You only live once”. So why should we live in a state of dissatisfaction and unhappiness? Why can’t we have the courage to get inner peace?


 

The universe always tests our intentions. It tests if we are true to our beliefs. Some of us have tougher tests than others. Once we prove we are serious, I feel confident fate will turn in our favor. The universe helps us to find the best version of ourselves, so sometimes it tests us over and over again. It pushes us to change and forces us to ‘not be a tree”.


 

So for me, if I am unhappy, I am not a tree and I will push for change. I will not let fear of failure or fear of being in an uprooted state stop my efforts. However, I will plan my time. I will trust the universe and I will reflect on the lessons it wants me to learn and remember.


 

I have left you

With love

And I am not coming back


I have a new journey

To undertake

And I am walking ahead


 

The days maybe tough

And I may get lonely

Hope and faith will get me there


 

I have things to learn

I have paths to try

Don’t hold me back


 

I have just one life

And now is the time

I have no regrets


 

I will follow my dream

I will find my bliss

I have something to share

 



Best Day Ever

Posted by [email protected] on 23 July, 2016 at 15:35 Comments comments (181)

 

The credit of this topic goes to my 5 year old Ashna. Summers are a lot of fun for her. She enjoys playing out till late, especially with the scooter and on splash pad. These days I hear her say “I had the best day ever”. It sure doesn’t take much to please little kids! As the saying goes “Enjoy today as this is the only time you will get to live it”.


 

I have a lot to learn from this. Everyday could be the “best day” in some aspects. Either, our expectations are too high for the best day ever or we haven’t really defined our best day ever or we have an attitude of finding faults. I have often heard people say “it was a wonderful day but it was too hot”. Why can’t we just stop at “it was a wonderful day”. Let’s think what will our best day look like? It it that lazy day spent on a beach enjoying nature’s magnanimous style? Is it spending time with our most loved ones and talking about life experiences? Is it connecting to the divine in a way that we haven’t experienced before?


 

I enjoy asking myself – how am I feeling at this moment? Do I say I am feeling blissful, anxious, tired, joyful or grateful? These help reflect my state of mind. I hope I can correct it to make that moment the best moment ever!


 

Yesterday I had the best day ever. It was the weekend. I and Ashna slept in. On waking up I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and toast with my husband Pranav. Then we all played in the water and I got some “my time” to be centered. I made one of my favorite meals, relished it and food coma set in. Post that, we went shopping, enjoyed the summer sun, spent some time with friends and at night watched “Brooklyn” a beautiful thought inspiring movie. It was a wonderful day!


 

Is today going to be the best day ever? Rather am I going to make today the best day ever?



A heartfelt laugh

A tight hug

It’s the best day ever



 

A quiet walk

A melodious tune

It’s the best day ever



 

A hot cup of coffee

Ready and served

It’s the best day ever



 

A long talk

And lightened heart

It’s the best day ever



 

A naughty smile

Playful mischief’s

It’s the best day ever



 

Centeredness

And a connection

It’s the best day ever



 

A few tender moments

Summing up

To the best day ever


The Fixer

Posted by [email protected] on 26 June, 2016 at 18:55 Comments comments (143)


The thought of this topic came from an article I was reading on introvert leadership. The author believes that introverts have the habit of being ‘fixers’. According to her, this helps introverts get out of the social talks and instead focus on helping by being the ‘fixer’.


 

Hence, Fixer to me stands for people who want to jump in and solve problems. These type of people take ownership but can overwhelm themselves. Reading it I realized, I do this too.


 

The author cautions that we fixers should be conscious and count on people’s intelligence to solve their issues. Fixers don’t need to jump and solve all the problems and fixers don’t need to undermine people’s capabilities.


 

I do this both at work and personal life. At work I had a nickname “Urmi knows”. In turn I had created a dependence for others to look to me. It felt good for the ego, believe me, but I had to make a conscious effort to educate and create self-sufficiency.


Everybody likes fixers. They resolve the issues. They do the work. It is a very delicate balance to help fixing issues yet creating self-sufficiency. I believe sometimes fixers just have to learn to delegate, be out of the problem and let the team figure it out for themselves. Maybe they will fail a couple of times but eventually they will learn. Fixers in this case take the role of being teachers.


 

For non-fixers, I recommend calling us out!   Ashna does that all the time. “I can do it Ma” she says. I have to be patient and let her do it. I also have to watch her fail at times and then teach her.


 

What are your experiences with fixers or as fixers?


 

Its broken

No worries

I will fix it


 

You need this

Don’t bother

I will get it



Am I really helping?

Or am I creating unnecessary dependence



Did they try?

or did they simply call the fixer?



 

This time

I will serve

By creating

Self-sufficiency

 


Modes of Silence

Posted by [email protected] on 11 June, 2016 at 14:20 Comments comments (114)

I enjoy the quiet. I enjoy stillness. I enjoy hearing the rumblings in the background and being mindful of my words and voice. As I think of quiet, I have experienced different modes of silences and thought it would be fun to share.


The first mode of silence is contemplative silence. This is when I am totally engrossed in something, where creativity flows and thoughts shape up as concrete ideas. I am focused, contemplating while being silent.


The second mode of silence is grumpy silence. For me, it comes from some trigger or expectation not met. As that happens, I feel like going in my cocoon and let the grumpy feeling pass. As my closest ones know, it can take time. Another variant of this is defensive silence. This is when instead of responding we go in silent mode or totally ignore the question. I have experienced this specially in email communication.


The third mode of silence is quiet, meditative silence. This is when the mind or inner voice is totally quiet and we are taking in sounds of nature or of our breath. The soul is mindful, losing a sense of time. I have experienced that during meditation. This is an enhanced state of contemplative silence. I believe in this state we hear message from the Universe or our higher self.


The fourth mode of silence is listening silence. This is when I am attentive and listening. Trying to grasp a new concept, a different idea and learning.


The fifth mode of silence is enforced silence. A good example of this is when we are in the library. We are expected to be silent.


The sixth mode of silence is sad silence. This is experienced when we attend funerals and when word don’t seem enough to express our thoughts. Another variation of this is lonely silence. And sometimes there is painful silence.


The seventh mode of silence is awkward silence. I experience this when I am in networking events with strangers. It is when I need to make small talk and I run out of topics. It also happens to me when I don’t remember somebody whom I am supposed to remember! We end up in awkward silence!


The eighth mode of silence is understanding silence. I see that in soulmates or friends. It is as if words are not needed to communicate. The presence is simply enjoyed. In silence both activities and love flow.


The ninth mode of silence is when we can be silent in spite of talking or being busy in activities. This is what I have heard of. I believe that is how divine souls can continuously repeat God’s name. I have not been very successful in this. The environment still impacts my being. I hope someday I can experience this mode of silence too.


What modes of silence have you experienced?


Enjoying

The silence

And its modes


 

Moving from one

To another


 

Connecting

Aligning

To thyself and Him


 

I relish this quiet.

 

 


Heal your life

Posted by [email protected] on 23 May, 2016 at 22:10 Comments comments (46)

This is part 3 of the series “Fill your life, clean your life and Heal your life”. I have always felt and believed that each one of us has our own set of challenges in life. It’s like the obstacle track with lessons hidden in them. If we just look around, we can see the obstacle course whether its health troubles, financial issues, dissatisfaction with career or spouse, struggles to find a soul mate, family drama or just a feeling of melancholy. The fact is, all of us have to face these, rise above them and heal our lives.


 

Healing takes effort. Changing habits and breaking our own limiting beliefs. The saints have reminded us that we are all a part of God and if we are centered, the obstacles won’t bother us. Note, obstacles won’t bother but doesn’t mean that obstacles won’t come our way. A fine example is Surdasji. He was born blind and shunned by his family. He was centered and this didn’t bother him. Rather, he had divine vision and could see more than what you and me can.


 

Healing needs love and compassion. As we think of the word nurse, I am reminded of a loving mother who takes care of her children or people like Florence Nightingale. Healing our life implies we are kind to ourselves. We stop judging, we accept what is with love and start the healing process.


 

Healing requires patience. Not all wounds heal quickly. The lesson is also repeated until we don’t learn it. If a disease is recurring, maybe it’s time we examine ourselves and ask what is it that I need to learn that universe is sending me reminders? I feel at such times our faith is tested and hence at such times we should become even more committed to our faith.


I am a believer of will power and visualization to heal. We can feel sorry for ourselves for a bit, stay in that space for a little while but then come out of it. The will to live is a powerful force. We have all been granted free will by Grace of God and hence its His power that we can put to use to heal ourselves. The trick is to visualize what a perfectly healthy me looks like, talks like, behaves like. Once I have that clarity, healing will follow. Swami Yogananda professes this in most of his teachings too.


 

It is easy to see wounds on body but harder to identify and diagnose wounds on mind and soul. The word ‘heal’, I believe is derived from health. Health per WHO (World Health Organization) is defined is physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Let’s heal not just physical wounds but all of these.


 

Healing is a noble act – whether it’s for us or others. Let’s heal our life.


Wounds

Some deep

Some shallow

Some evident

Some unknown


 

All of them healing

With love

With time

With grace


 

I

Observing this

Who says

Miracles don’t exist?

 


Clean your life

Posted by [email protected] on 9 May, 2016 at 11:30 Comments comments (0)

The thought of this topic was inspired by an article “Fill your life, Clean your life, heal your life”. The previous blog talked about “Fill your life” and today is an attempt to share what “Clean your life” means to me.


 

The first thought is to physically declutter. As Lao Tzu says, “The more frugal you are, the more generous you become”. I have an amazing feeling when I give things away. I feel release and I feel I don’t have to depend on things to make me happy. I had penned additional thoughts on this in an earlier blog “Empty the boat”. I clean my clutter, I clean my possessions and I clean my life!


 

Clean your life – it means I need to be healthy and pure. I need to keep my body, my mind and my soul clean. For the body, I kick out bad habits and focus on being healthy. Reason being, its easier to be centered when we are healthy else the mind constantly focusses on the pain or hurt. I clean my body and I clean my life!


 

For the mind, I will surround myself with thoughts and people who inspire and uplift me. Energy is contagious. Just like a bad mango can affect the surrounding good mangoes, so can bad company cover the mind with negative thoughts. I set an intention to clean my mind and I clean my life!


 

For the soul, I will push to understand the mystery of the eternal truth. I will clean my soul of attachments and impressions and I will make it pure to host the creator. Tagore captures this beautifully in Gitanjali


 

Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.


I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.


I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.


And it shall be my endeavor to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.


 

In the spiritual practice, I follow a principle called ‘Apras’ which expresses super clean. It implies we get clean and pure before we go in front of God. Interestingly it talks about not just physical purity but of the mind and soul too. So, if I get angry or frustrated, I am required to go clean up again.


 

I am sure my husband Pranav will love this. I tease him and call him a cleanliness freak around the home though I have seen many worse than him! So much for delegate and Clean your life :). Honestly it’s a blessing as he reminds me of this principle while having a clean home.


 

The purest of the pure

How can I carry you

In my tainted heart?


 

And yet its your flame

That will burn these evils

And release my soul….

 

 


Fill your life

Posted by [email protected] on 17 April, 2016 at 11:20 Comments comments (152)

The thought of this came from an article in the newspaper – “Fill your life, Seal your life, Heal your life”. I focused on the first part “Fill your life”. The question being, fill your life with what?


Fill your life with fun, with scriptures, with friends, with love, with happiness, with contentment, with courage, with purpose or/and with faith. I think the list could go on and on. It’s a fun exercise to think about what is filling up my life or what do I want to fill my life with?


 

The next question then is what do you fill your time with? Is filling up your life and filling up your time separate things? Are they related?


 

I fill my time with work and I fill my life with contentment

I fill my time with family and I fill my life with love

I fill my time with scriptures and I fill my life with purpose


 

Hence, I am very stingy when it comes to time. I protect it very strongly. I usually don’t prefer going along with someone’s programs just to fill time. I may go for the company or to fill my time with friends but not just to kill time. The question is if I am not filling my life then what is my life being filled with?


 

I have observed that as life situations change, life tends to be filled with different things. Right now, as my job hunt continues, time is filled with job applications, researching companies, interview preparation and playing the waiting game. I guess,


I fill my time with job applications and I fill my life with hope


 

Overall the question still remains are we true to filling our time and filling our life with things we really want? Are we centered and aligned to our life purpose? Are we living the day as the model day of our lives? Do we have enough fun things to fill our time which will enhance life? Do we the strong intent to ‘fill our life’?


 

 

I fill my life with activity and productivity comes along

I fill my life serving and generosity comes along


I fill my life with writing and wisdom comes along

I fill my life with singing and music comes along


I fill my life with kindness and love comes along

I fill my life with courage and strength comes along


I fill my life with smiles and happiness comes along

I fill my life with faith and God comes along

 

Unhurried ways

Posted by [email protected] on 30 March, 2016 at 13:20 Comments comments (93)

The thought of this topic was inspired by Wayne Dyer’s book “Change your thoughts- Change your life : Living the wisdom by Tao”. He expounds on the 81 verses by Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese saint. In one of the verses, he talks about “Unhurried ways”. I am experiencing this phenomenon of no urgency or unhurried ways myself as I am in job hunt mode and I have the gift of time. As William Henry Davies magnificently puts in in his poem Leisure


 

What is this life full of care

We have no time to stand and stare

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows


 

No time to see, when woods we pass

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass

No time to see, in broad daylight

Streams full of stars, like skies at night


 

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance

And watch her feet, how they can dance

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich the smile her eyes began


 

A poor life this if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare


 

 

I especially like my mornings with this feeling of ‘no urgency’. Usually I am nagging Ashna to get ready quickly so we can rush out, drop her to school and head to work. Now, it’s a relaxed morning. We enjoy a few more hugs before time strikes its call! Pranav calls it a mindset and yes it is one. A mindset of enjoying time flow, enjoying being mindful and not being captured by the clock. Lao Tzu reminds us to trust the Tao and enjoy what the Universe sends your way.


 

The caution however is not to let unhurried ways lead into inertia and being lazy. Activities do expand to fit in the time. To counter this, I have made a resolution to be productive. I am confident on my ability to find fun things to fill my life.


 

I now see how saints live and enjoy this mindset of unhurried ways, how they are calm and centered and how they surpass being captured by time! I believe I have to learn to truly be fully present. I am a stickler of finishing tasks (and I am sure this brings a super big smile on my brother’s face as he teases me about it all the time!). With that, my mind hovers around mundane tasks instead of enjoying these unhurried present moments. The goal is clear – have both a mindset of no urgency and being present thus truly enjoying this moment to stand and stare.


 

How have you experienced unhurried ways in daily life?


 

A candle

Slowly burning

And

I watch

The flame

Stable &

Flickering

Alive &

Restless

Unaware of the

Light its spreading

 


The Loving Critic

Posted by [email protected] on 12 March, 2016 at 19:25 Comments comments (59)





The thought of this topic was inspired by Swami Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship). He was giving tips on how to be critical if needed with love. Hence the topic - The Loving Critic.

 

My mentor Mike Smuda at one time had said ‘Feedback is a gift’. I have tried to take it to heart. Professionally I have made a specific effort to get feedback. The crux is that if someone you trust tells you something, it is typically more prevalent than just that one person. Personally, I get feedback from my husband Pranav. For me, my loving critics help me detect my blindspots!

 

For times, when I have to play the role of the loving critic, I first ensure that the person wants to hear the feedback. I also clarify my intent that my intent is noble. Then ideally in a loving way I try to focus on strengths and talk about things for improvement. I also believe it’s better to hear criticism from loved ones.

 

The piece I and most people struggle with is being defensive when we hear criticism or finding excuses for that behavior or action. I remind myself that its best to be the listener at such times. Swami Yogananda advises to keep criticisms short.

 

I think the toughest part for me is when I get caught suddenly in unplanned criticism battle. Harsh words don’t work. I like planned loving critic sessions else it feels more like an argument and I become defensive.

 

Loving critic also implies your ego does not play in it. Before finding faults in others, I like to have the mirror to see I am not coming from ego but from genuine love and intent to uplift. As I am receiving loving criticism, I need to remember and assume the other person is also not coming in from ego. Let me listen to the point, assume pure intention and reflect where to change/ improve.

 

Loving critic – it starts and ends in love. Loving critic are our blindspot detectors. I am blessed to have loving critics in my life.

 

The blessing

Of a loving critic

Throwing the light

To eliminate

Darkness


 

The blessing

Of being a loving critic

Spreading the love

Teaching

Like a mother


 

The blessing

Of loving critics

Thanking

The angels

God sent my way

 

 

 

Mandala

Posted by [email protected] on 29 February, 2016 at 14:40 Comments comments (29)


The thought of this topic came from watching the show “Belief’ on OWN. The show was talking about Buddhist monks who have a practice called ‘Mandala’. Mandala is a form of art using sand and stones. There are various types of Mandalas and each has a spiritual meaning. From what I understand, it has a core, inner and outer circle depicting our spirit, our mind and our circumstances/world. The idea of the Mandala is to learn to evolve from it.


 

The monks spend hours and hours making this beautiful art. Then, once its done they take a broom and just like that sweep it out! The lesson being, nothing is permanent and don’t get attached to your own creation. As I was watching the show, I was moved. All the hours of work to create this beautiful piece of art and then having the courage to let it all go.


 

 

On the thought of nothing is permanent, I see it every day as I see Ashna grow. She is discovering something new every day – a new word, reading bill boards to talking intelligently with our friends.


 

The thought of being attached to one’s creation reminded me of the story of Lord Brahma (the God of creation per Hindu mythology). When the Supreme Lord asked him to create, he humbly asked for one boon – not to get attached to his own creation. He sure was wise!


 

I see that all the time, especially in me by getting attached to my creations. Though calling it ‘my’ creation is also egoistic. I get attached to this blog, my work and most so my daughter Ashna. Ideally, one has to be passionate about the activity be it work or art however be cautious on not being overly attached.


 

Being overly attached implies one tries to hold on things, resists change and wants to control. We become fearful or insecure. Here is where ‘Mandala’ resonates the most for me. The monks passionately work to create the best art-form, concentrating, being mindful of each sand grain. Yet once its done they wipe it off. They have learned to control the urge of attachment and learned to change which may mean destruction of one’s creation.


 

I feel once I give up being attached to things, its relieving. Its almost as if a weight is lifted. I don’t need to constantly fight to protect my creation! I learn to accept and enjoy whatever is in store for me.

 


What is the lesson that resonates the most for you from Mandala?


 

I have worked endlessly

To create

‘This’


 

My sweat, blood and tears

Are captured in

‘This’


I am in love

With

‘This’


 

I will now

Let

‘This’ go


 

I will now

Wipe

‘This’ off


 

I will learn

To be unattached

And free

 

 



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