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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!

Health, Intermittent Fasting, Weight Loss

Fasting as Healing

“Fasting as Penance” was the title of a chapter in my elementary or middle school book. I was intrigued by the words ‘Fasting’ and ‘Penance’ and didn’t know what they meant at the time, so had to look them up. That is probably why I still remember the title. The story was about Mahatma Gandhi, who used fasting as a atonement for the things that were happening with his disciples during the ‘Satyagraha’ movement.

But relax, I am not, going to talk about Gandhi, or penance or fasting as a penance. But I do want to talk about Fasting. Fasting is encouraged in many religions(oops religion again!) as a spiritual practice. In Sikhism, it is actually discouraged and i believe the reason is that one should not deprive their body of its needs. I totally agree with that statement but problem these days is overabundance of food and lack of self control. If depriving your body of food is wrong, so is overindulgence. Food, specially unhealthy type, is easily accessible, and hard to resist unless you have put some mental restrictions on yourself. Also, we eat by the clock rather than by our hunger cues. I have been there and stayed there for a long time and was unhappy that even when i was working out and eating healthy, i couldn’t see any change in my body. Being a health fanatic, i keep reading about food and health topics and got to know about Intermittent Fasting. It sounded interesting and i had nothing to lose, except the extra pounds!

Intermittent Fasting(IF) is fasting for (ideally)16 hours and eating only in the 8 hour window. There is no restriction on what foods your can eat but you will of course benefit more if you stick to healthy foods. I started slowly with fasting window of 11-12 hours and can usually do it now for 14 hours, 4-5 days a week. I found that it were my food habits that were hard to break. I was so used to eating something in the morning while making breakfast and lunch for my family. My brain would say – “the food is right here, why are you not eating? 🙂 Now I tell my brain that I am not hungry just yet. Fasting has taught me self control and definitely put me more in touch with my body’s hunger signals. So, previously, even when i was eating healthy foods, i was eating too much of those.

I have lost close to 25 pounds in the span of about 9-10 months. I didn’t change my exercise than what i was doing before starting IF. I was walking/running and doing Zumba here and there . In addition to losing the extra pounds, few other health issues have slowly disappeared and my stamina has increased.

A little disclaimer here – I am not trying to promote one or the other way of eating. Also, I understand that different strategies work for different people, but again, you have nothing to lose. In numerous studies, fasting has been associated with other benefits like preventing Type 2 Diabetes, lowering the risk of heart and brain diseases and slowing down ageing(who doesn’t like that!) . Your body is your very first and the best birthday present, take good care of it!

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What’s in a Religion?

Disclaimer:-I am a tiny dot in this enormous universe, so forgive me if i unintentionally hurt you.

Born in a Sikh family, I memorized the prayers that my mother and grand mother taught me, just to make them proud. However, i never understood what all the prayers meant and what i was gaining by doing that. Growing up in a boarding school, much of that association with religion and prayers slowly disappeared and was replaced by an effort to excel in the coursework. One thing was always there – the discomfort visiting the religious places. Marrying someone from another religion only added to that confusion. Now, I was visiting newer religious places only to find my inner self in turmoil. And then one fine day, i confessed to myself and my family that i do not find the peace that everyone else finds at the places of worship and i find the rituals torturous to my entire being. Immediately, a burden was lifted over me and i felt liberated. Now that i had disassociated myself from any religion, i felt comfortable asking questions like why we have to follow the religion that our parents followed, while we freely make choices in other areas of our lives. Why questioning religious practices is looked down upon, while we are encouraged to question subjects taught in the classrooms? Are we, as a world, better off without any religion, as religion has been direct or indirect cause of many destructive battles.

I still am not sure if i believe in God or if i am an atheist but i am in no hurry to answer that question for myself. Recently, i have started exploring spirituality, specifically, the question about whether we are more than our mind and body. I came across a book ‘Power of Now’ on this topic. Apart from talking about staying in the present moment, it talks about consciousness – that magical power inside you, that was there even before your mind formed inside the womb. The author calls it the watcher. Idea is to be the silent watcher of your thoughts. By just doing that, you reduce the power of those thoughts about past and future. It is tuning into that consciousness that I believe when practiced consistently, could bring us to a much calmer and happier space.

While I still sometimes visit places of worship, to accompany my family and friends, I take that opportunity to sit quietly and meditate. Remember that sometimes you have to lose yourself, the self created by how others see you, and the one you started believing that you are, in order to find your real self. Until next time…

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! I had been wondering about meaning of life, spirituality, relationships and love for quite some time, like many other folks who feel that something is missing in their life, even when all their basic needs are met. Working 9-5 job, taking care of my little boy and providing for the family was all that i have been doing for the last 7 years. Even though it is rewarding, there is a feeling of emptiness that is hard to explain. Questions like why am i doing what i am doing, what is the purpose of life bother me from time to time. Here’s to looking for these answers in this beautiful journey of life, Cheers!

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Jalaluddin Rumi

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