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A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.

I had been thinking, a lot, about the things I say/write and how many of those I actually implement in my own life. And It’s definitely not an easy task to change the behavior patterns we have learnt over the years.

Action speaks louder than the words

I feel that monks have it easy. They do not have to interact much with other people and have no relationships that evoke and test your feelings of greed, anger, desire, attachment and ego – the infamous five attributes. It is exceptional when someone conquers these while living a worldly life.

Usually, I dont share personal stories but I feel like sharing a recent incident where I had to drive for 90 minutes with my 7 year old son, to have him see a doctor. This was the road that usually takes 40 minutes but because of morning rush hour traffic it took us much longer to reach there. I did call their office informing them of the traffic situation and they said that doctor would still be able to see us.

But that didn’t happen when we reached there. Anger and resentment started bubbling up. I watched how my mind started making stories about what a failure I was for not reaching on time for my kid’s doctor appointment, what a waste of time the whole trip was, I should have asked my husband to drive him and so on. But when I observed those thoughts as the watcher and focused on the feelings in my body, they dissipated slowly. By the time I sat back in the car, I was over it. On the positive side, my son was very happy that it happened that way. We joked about the whole thing on our way back😍.

It feels great to be a work in progress, physically and mentally. Mind part is harder but like Marcus Aurelius said:

Keep working on yourself!

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Selfish or selfless

This is a dilemma for many people, including me. When you take time out for yourself, are you being selfish? How could you think about going for a long run when there are million things to be done at home! You could instead be spending that time with your family, or for work or for social work.

And then, on the contrary, there is innate need to do something selfless, something bigger than your own selves, a desire to make positive impact on the world. But we all get stuck on the “how”. Or we end up thinking that this is the work of a very few chosen ones, so why even bother trying.

I have come to realize that both of these are so intertwined. If taking care of yourself is selfish, be unapologetic-ally selfish. It is your biggest responsibility to care for your physical and mental health. When you see that your own life is meaningful, worth living for, you can value the lives of others. In order to help the world, help yourself first. In order to understand the world, understand yourself first – not an easy task by any means.

Tune into the conciousness behind the ego, behind the brain, behind the definitions given to you by other people. Question the things, beliefs, your own opinions that do not make sense, as sometimes unlearning is the beginning of learning. Disagree with an open heart. There is a possibility that you are wrong. Meditate and watch your thoughts. Make it a habit to pause before you react to situations. You will learn to respond appropriately.

Understand that we all share the same fate, here on earth, of birth and death, joy and pain. We have more in common than what is different. When we have that light in our hearts, we can easily lit the path for others. Our actions automatically come from a deeper place, a place closer to god. Yes, I said G word with ease now, because I feel that I am finding the answers to my questions. Cheers!

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Sunshine Blogger Award

For the uninitiated, various blogging awards are a way for a blogger to appreciate, encourage and know more about other bloggers. Thank you Richard for my first ever nomination. I did not forget about it. Finally, got some time to respond to the award posts. Check out Richard’s blog here . Richard does not appear to be in great place right now and seem to be depressed, so any appreciation and words of encouragement you could give him on his blog would help. Hang in there friend, good times are just around the corner.

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Following are the questions from Richard to his nominees:-

  1. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A GOOD PERSON? Yes.
  2. DO YOU REFLECT YOUR CHILDHOOD IMAGE OF YOURSELF, IF NOT; WHAT COULD YOU DO TO MAKE IT REALITY? My childhood image is too naive and emotionally weak. I strive to be tough in this harsh world while still keeping the goodness in my heart. Also, i enjoyed singing and dancing a lot when i was little, but lost touch with those as the life got more focused on earning a degree. Now that i have time, I am trying to include those in my day-to-day life.
  3. WHAT ACTIONS DO YOU TAKE TO BATTLE SELF DOUBT? Meditation has been a huge help and I read motivational books. What i have learnt so far is that ultimately, everyone is unique and there is no point in comparing yourself to others or have self doubt about yourself. My purpose is to try to be the better version of myself every single day.
  4. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST INHIBITION? My greatest inhibition was to be true to my own self – my own emotional, spatial, physical needs. I worried too much about being judged or inflicting pain to others. I have started to let that go.
  5. ARE YOU HAPPY? Happiness is elusive. I am grateful and at peace for what i have.

For the sunshine blogger award, these are the rules:-

  1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo
  2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

MY QUESTIONS:

  1. How did it occur to you to start blogging?
  2. What kind of blogs or books do you like to read?
  3. Do you believe in God and why or why not?
  4. If given a chance, what would you change in your past?
  5. What do you like the most about yourself?
  6. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  7. What is your greatest inhibition?(borrowed from Richard)
  8. What kind of music do you like? Any favorite songs?

BLOGGERS I NOMINATED:

https://ashokwahi.wordpress.com/

https://bikeclimbrunswimrunyoga.wordpress.com/

https://scottspiritualcare.blog/

https://savvy101.life/

https://heartypsych.wordpress.com/

https://jiangsha.home.blog/

https://observationblogger.com/

https://huguetteantoun.com/

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Less is More!

I recently saw a video that talked about how fashion creates 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases and that 235 million items of clothing are sent to landfill every year. How sad is that! On one side of spectrum, people are so poor that they do not have clothes to keep them warm in brutally cold winters and on the other side there is a race to buy the latest trendy clothes for every new season and waste precious resources of this amazing planet. Celebrity repeating a dress becomes a news these days. Is that the kind of world we want to leave behind, for our children?

I am definitely not against dressing nice and looking good but why is there a never ending need to impress others with your possessions, be it clothing, cars or houses. We keep chasing highs in material things and as they are short lived, we stay in that cycle, looking for newer things to make us happy. There is a dire need for all of us to pause and think before we buy things. I am equally guilty of this, but not anymore. Just by being aware of the negative impact we are making on our environment and society and then getting into the habit of pausing and thinking before we buy/trash things could make a huge difference in our perspective. We are less likely to do it next time.

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Evolve so hard…

Is that even possible? How exactly do you do that? Why would you even want to do that? Those were my thoughts when I came across this quote few months back.

Once I started looking inside myself, I can see that not only it is possible, it is beautiful. But one has to be willing to seek the change, to have the courage to go beyond the rules and to persist when faced with the roadblocks. Evolution should not only be the outer changes. Inner changes are much more important and I believe that those will automatically lead to the outer changes. My dear friend shared the following quote and I loved it:

Our learnt behavior is conditioned by the environment(Culture, people, education, workplace etc.)we live in. We establish a routine based on that and keep doing the same or similar things every single day. It is hard to get out of that cycle and reflect on what has been going right or wrong. Even our workplaces have year-end reviews and next-year objectives. Why don’t we do that in our personal lives?

This year,my first time ever, on new year I made a list of things I would like to do. It included: read a new book every month, improve my running pace, visit my brother, try going vegan and a few other things. It is great to check off these items as the year goes by. But you don’t have to wait for the new year, you can choose your Birthday, any other important Day or better yet, TODAY – the day you decided to evolve! And it will become your milestone day, one day.

The book that brought much needed change for me, internally, is ‘The power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. I am starting to read his other popular book ‘A New Earth’. So here’s to slowly moving Onwards and Upwards! Peace to you all.

Do you have a list? What changes are you making this year? Would love to hear from all the wonderful people out there.

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“The wound is the place where the Light enters you” -Rumi

All your pain, is in vain,

if you do not gain,the much needed perspective,

or the peace you’re supposed to attain,

So, you could either complain,

and continue feeding that incessant train,

of negative thoughts, in your pain-loving brain,

Or, let go and understand that there is nothing to obtain or retain,

Who are you? sane or insane?

Motivation by The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle)
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Be your own kind of eccentric!

What is your biggest fear? I don’t mean the end of the world kind of fear, but the kind that has driven your life so far and kept you compliant with what society expects of you. Is it about losing people close to you or the fear of being lonely, or is it the darkness that you want to protect by hiding behind the fake you? We are so conditioned by those fears that we are happy being submissive, molding ourselves into something that we are not, at the cost of our inner happiness. Now, don’t confuse fear with values, and go out to do whatever crazy thing that makes you happy at the cost of others’ misery. Values should be something that you intentionally choose to live your life by, like kindness to others, honesty etc. The truth, that will set you free, is that you will okay even if your biggest fear comes true. So, kick that box away that you have been putting yourself into, be your true self and focus on what gives you joy. Dance in the rain, sing out loud in the car, or do that thing that you always wanted to do. Be your own kind of funny, your own kind of crazy, your own kind of lame, your own kind of authentic eccentric YOU!

Quotation source
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“Life is too short to make others shorter.” -Anonymous

Before I reveal what this post is about, any guesses? Let me give you a hint – ‘Beyond Meat stock is soaring!…’, Got it? If you haven’t heard about ‘Beyond Meat’, it is a company that produces plant based protein products that taste closer to meat. The company went public recently and their stock prices are exploding since then. That alone indicates the shift in the society becoming aware of all things wrong with meat and dairy industry. I understand that this is a touchy subject but I am still going to write my heart about veganism this time. People might also question that how could I, who once was a hard core Non-vegetarian, preach about veganism. That’s a fair point but I say, its never too late to do the right thing.

I loved chicken and ate it ever since I was old enough to remember things. It was just another meal, that tasted so delicious. I gave it up 13 years back purely out of love for my husband, who was/is a vegetarian. At that time I didn’t read enough to know
how factory farming worked and that eating meat is actually harmful for you . With my newly acquired knowledge, I have decided to go Vegan – that is, give up my beloved Dairy products. As vegetarians, we assume that animals are not harmed for Dairy products, but you couldn’t be more misguided. Check out this page for information about how little male chicks are crushed to death in a shredder as soon as they are born, how newly born calves are separated from their mothers and how baby male calves are raised for a few weeks for Veal and then slaughtered.

Going Vegan for a month was one of my new year’s resolution and I randomly chose May for that. A month to see how challenging it would be. Also, It is another way to flex your mental muscles and see what you got. The only food that I thought I was going to miss was my cup of tea. But much to my relief, Soy milk works well as a replacement for regular milk. You just have to be careful not to boil it, just warm it up and mix with the steeped tea. I also tried Coconut milk based yogurt available in Trader Joe’s. It is yum and you get ‘good for your gut’ bacteria without relying on dairy. Tofu has been my replacement for paneer. All in all, I am not missing dairy as much as I thought I would. So, I plan to continue with this lifestyle, even though I might make rare exceptions when there is no other option.

Tofu, Broccoli sauteed with garlic and teriyaki sauce, with peanuts and cranberries and white rice
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My Mother – My Best Friend, My Hero

Very Fondest memories of my childhood include my mom. I remember holding her dress and then running after her, begging her to stay home when she left to go check on the patients in our village. I know that sounds sad but I have to admit that I was a very clingy child, much to my mom’s embarrassment 🙂 She worked as a registered Nurse and Midwife and her work primarily included working with pregnant ladies but we also had a general purpose in-house clinic room, where people from the village would come to get treatment for other minor issues. As a kid, watching my mom work, I wanted to be a doctor myself. Thank god I didn’t pursue that path. Its crazy tough job.

I have seen my mom go visit patients in bone chilling cold nights, riding a Scooter, not the comfortable climate controlled cars that we have these days. She was way ahead of her times for sure. Working and driving was not the norm for women at that time, especially in the rural areas. My dad always supported her as well. I am so fortunate being born in the family where thinking was not limited by the societal norms and cultures. And I will never forget us twinning on that scooter, countless times when she took me for shopping and didn’t think twice splurging her hard earned money on me.

I am still in awe of her biggest sacrifice, giving away her own newborn, for no other reason than empathy. I got to know about my biological sister when i was 10 or 12, who was being raised by my Dad’s Sister. I didn’t believe it at that time but it slowly became a known truth that wasn’t discussed openly in the family. Here is my official salute to your kind spirit mom.

And then that one year, the year that was the hardest, when daddy left us, brought the two of us closer than ever. It was the first year after 10 years, where I was home with my mom for a full year. My Bachelor’s degree was done and I was preparing for GRE to study abroad. I felt that we exchanged roles where I needed to protect her, like she had protected me before. When people tried to tell her what and how she should live/dress now, as a widow, I would shut them off. We often would laugh about those conversations together afterwards, on our early morning walks, through the lush green fields, when it would still be dark and cold.

Never once she tried to hold me back or talk me out of it when I wanted to come to US. That did change the course of rest of my life, for better, of course. I would really be lucky to have an iota of that noble spirit of selflessness and courage. So, Mom, I thank you for all that you did for me, and for all that you are. Love you a ton and Happy Mother’s Day 2019!