Effloresce23

Chronicling my thoughts, one post at a time..


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Gentle reminder 

One of the easiest ways to handle stressful situations is to just breathe. Yoga teaches you to focus on your breathing more than the asanas itself, to be present in the moment and breathe it in.

Breathing, and I mean really deep breathing instantly relaxes our body, the physiology and the body chemistry, and you tend to make better choices when your mind is calm rather than when you feel anxious and chaotic.

When I find myself in a stressful situation, or encounter people who try to get under my skin or provoke me, I consciously stop my thoughts and take a few deep breaths.

I don’t think I can tell you any benefits of breathing that haven’t already been stated, but a gentle reminder doesn’t hurt, every now and then. After all, what can I say about the life force that flows through every being on the planet. One of the things that equalizes all of us.

Its so easy to forget that we have everything we need within us, or flowing through us. But if you find yourself in a difficult spot (which we all do sometimes) don’t be so hard on yourself, and allow yourself to be soothed by a few deep breaths, and feel better.

Peace & Love

xo


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30 years, 30 lessons

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The days leading to and following any birthday is that of reflection, of course there is also a lot of shopping, a lot of planning for the big day, but there’s always a part of me that revels in the mode of looking inward and reflecting about all the highlights and lessons of the previous year(s), I have been blessed enough to have spent over three decades on this planet, and with it come some wonderful opportunities which have turned into achievements and some disappointments and lessons learnt as well.

Here are some of the most profound lessons I’ve learnt in the last 30 years:

  1. Health is the real wealth – We get one body till the very end. So love it, treat with with TLC, give your body all the nourishment it needs to live a healthy happy life.  I was born with Asthma, so my memories from the first decade of my life has been more of hospitals and consultations with doctors rather than monkey bars and playing. So early on, I realized that without your health, there’s not much else you can accomplish.
  2. Books are my best friends – I took to reading at a very young age, because sports and very physically challenging activities were out of the question, growing up. Books came to my rescue, letting me escape to a world very different from my reality. Books never let me feel lonely, or like I was missing out, and they will always be my best-est friends.
  3. Sometimes the most toxic people are disguised as your family/friends – This was a toughie. But when you realize that proximity does not ensure depth in relationships, it makes you value the people who truly matter.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to other people – You are you, and they are them. And that is okay. Comparing yourself is the surest way to diminish your confidence, and its a huge waste of your own potential. Fall in love with the person in the mirror, and you won’t waste another second trying to be someone else.
  5. Its okay to put yourself first – its not only okay, its actually essential. Contrary to what we have been taught, it is foolish to martyr oneself for others, and think that it is great. When you are depleted, you can’t support anyone else.
  6. Best Investment Options – Investing in yourself is the best investment ever, it all starts with liking ourselves enough to know that we deserve the best.
  7. Listen to your instincts – If something feels iffy, don’t dismiss it. If something feels right, don’t shy away from it. Your soul/intuition/gut whatever you call it, knows more than you do. Learn to listen to it. It will protect you.
  8. Yoga is life – I started working out at the age of 17, tried going to the gym, aerobics, zumba, pilates, you name it, I’ve tried it. But the best workout for my body is Yoga. And I have been practicing yoga for over a decade now, and I swear by it. It has taught me to practice compassion towards my body, like no other workout has.
  9. Sometimes Love isn’t enough – Despite what Disney tells you, sometimes love isn’t enough to fix relationships.
  10. Whats meant for you will come to you (no matter what) – One can’t escape their destiny, so there’s never a need to cling. In fact Clinging on to something is the quickest way to lose said thing.
  11. Its okay if (some) people don’t like you – The most important thing is if you like you. And think about this, you don’t like every single person you meet, so its not only possible, but expected that everyone who meets you might not like you. This, however, won’t define you.
  12. Work ethic (the thing they don’t teach you in college) – No matter what you studied, whether you went to Business School, Law School, Med School, or any other, Schools don’t teach you certain things, like what it really means to have a strong work ethic. Sometimes your work ethic is more important than just superior technical skills. Don’t shy away from good old fashioned effort, and do it with a good attitude.
  13. Its not personal – The Godfather nailed it, and I don’t mean all the times this little line gets thrown around in the book by the people who didn’t really know what the Don really meant when he’s say this. In one of his big monologues, Michael tells Sonny that he learnt everything he knows from the Don, and that he heard him just as much as his brothers (how do you think I got so smart, he says), before he goes out to kill the Turk. (yes, I love this book and know it inside out, by now). Here’s the secret, Everything is personal. If you spend your time, energy or money on something, it is personal, and don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
  14. Manners and morals rank higher than material things – Money and material things are important for a comfortable life. But Money can’t buy a LOT of the important things – time, manners, confidence, class, values.
  15. Do what makes you happy – don’t be apologetic about doing things that make you happy. Buy those pair of shoes, have another helping of dessert, cancel plans, take a nap, binge watch your favorite show, take selfies, do the little things that make you happy, and don’t let anyone else tell you what that should be. You owe yourself that much.
  16. Count your blessings – you’ll be surprised by how much you have. Instant joy and gratitude guaranteed!
  17. When you count your blessings, look for things money can’t buy – Like your family, loved ones, friends, butterflies, unexpectedly finding beauty around yourself, guidance/advice at the right time, this life, love, etc.
  18. Time is the most valuable gift you can give someone – Life is finite, and just as certainly as we were born and brought into this planet, one day our time will be up, what matters is how we lived while we are here. So what will you choose to do in this limited period of time, who will you give your time to, the time you can’t ever reverse or re-do. Be picky about spending it on people who don’t make you regret it.
  19. Forgiveness is liberating – given that time is so precious, it seems so foolish to hold grudges and stay angry, doesn’t it? Forgive and move on. Forgive everyone and everything (especially yourself!).
  20. You are tougher than you realize – When the time is right, you will surprise yourself with how strong you really are.
  21. Change your perspective, change your life – It is that simple.
  22. Unanswered prayers are the biggest blessings – Life unravels and reveals its true plans for you, and more often than not, and its usually grander than our very own plans. And when you really look back to connect the dots, unanswered prayers are the ones that make you feel most grateful.
  23. Life is short – Don’t worry. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up, and enjoy the good times while it lasts.
  24. Impermanence – Nothing lasts forever (and thank god for that), the good, the bad, the mundane, there is an element of impermanence to everything. In small ways nothing ever stays the same, tomorrow will be another day. So if you’re going through a difficult phase, realize that its only a phase, It will be over soon and it will lead to something better. 
  25. Everything is constantly changing – The date changes every day, the weather changes by the season, our values change based on the things we have been through, relationships change. The universe is constantly moving and changing, the planets, the tides, everything. Change is the only constant! (why yes, I do love platitudes).
  26. Gratitude – Gratitude changes you on a molecular level, it makes you more attractive. It makes you attractive to all the good in the world. If you start off with an ungrateful heart, it won’t be long before you lose what you have, I got to learn this by experience.
  27. Family is everything. 
  28. Here and now – This is it. This moment is LIFE. Everything else are either memories of the past or hopes for the future. Here and now is the only reality, of which we can be certain.
  29. Love – Do everything with love, or don’t do it at all. Love your life, for the blessing it is. Love your family and friends without restrictions. Love more.
  30. I don’t have it all figured out, Yet – When I was younger, I had it ALL figured out, lately, not so much. 30 years have brought innumerable lessons, no doubt, but I’m not done learning, I am still trying to understand and figure out what life is all about.

Lessons apart, never forget that Life is beautiful, in its highs and lows, there is always beauty around us, after all we ourselves are ALL made of stars.

Keep shining. ❤

xo


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Perspective

In one of my recent posts, I had written a couple of paragraphs about the difference between school and work and the implications of failing (or screwing up) in both, this didn’t make the cut when I edited the post, because the post was already well over 1000 words.

The reason those unwritten paragraphs still linger in my mind is because I recently heard someone I know say, he doesn’t want to do anything that involves “Hard work”, to be fair these were the words of a naive 18 year old. But it was enough to get me thinking – we as human beings are generally lazy. If there is an option of getting the same results with no hard work v. hard work, most people would immediately chose the former. However, life is rarely (if ever!) that simple.

It is a universal truth that Efforts and Results are correlated. If you want better results, make better efforts. Its simple (not to be confused with easy). Of course, there are external circumstances also that are always in play, but they are external, which are beyond our control (most often). So prudence suggests that we focus on what we can control – which is our effort.

All of this is common sense. no?

Well, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to reiterate it, because often times, we tend to be so caught up in our routine, or our own biases, that we fail to recognize common sense starting us right in the face.

Which brought me to my next question – What is “hard work” and what is “smart work”, other than being the jargons used and made popular by self-help gurus.

Isn’t it all subjective though, a task which would require an hour’s worth of effort for me, may be easily accomplished by someone else in a fraction of the time. or vice versa.

Further, isn’t it also a matter of perspective – Life.

If we constantly tell ourselves that something is difficult, it inevitably makes us miserable by being the most difficult task. If we tell ourselves that we have what it takes to accomplish said task, the completion of it won’t only be easy, it will also leave us feeling pretty great. The trick is in what we tell ourselves.

See how a small shift in perspective changes the process and the outcome.

I write these not because I have read them in self-help books, or heard it from other people, it is all by experience, I used to put a HUGE amount of pressure on myself, and feel like being a lawyer was very “difficult” and involved a lot of “hard work”. But then one day, there was a shift in my perspective. which has definitely resulted in my work being more enjoyable, and one that leaves me feeling productive and pretty pleased with myself.

This is not to say that I never face challenges anymore, or need a learning curve anymore, it only means that I have the trick to quiet the negative self-talk, and use that energy instead to teach myself something new.

Every choice we make either has the potential to enhance or deplete us. And majority of life’s tasks become easier by a simple shift in perspective.

Now how does one change their perspective – here’s how I do it: When confronted with a challenge, or something which scares me, or makes me question my ability, or makes me feel like it would require a lot of hard work or effort-

Step 1 – I stop. I stop doing everything I am doing, take a few deep breaths.

Not enough can be said about the importance and impact of breathing. It is after all the life force, the one common thread that ties us all.

Step 2 – Once my mind is well oxygenated and calm, I automatically feel better and more ready.

Step 3 – The third step which is the most ongoing step – Positive reinforcement and positive self-talk. Acknowledging your own strengths, so that you are confident enough to take on any challenge.

All this may seem very tedious, but after a few times, muscle memory takes over, and you won’t even feel like this is a big task to be done in preparation of facing a new challenge.

I have often had people tell me that I am “Lucky”, that I wouldn’t be able to understand somebody else’s struggle because I have an “easy life”, only going by the parts of my life they get to see (that I let people see), and my first though is, if only you knew. If only you knew the work that has gone into becoming me, the number of years of clueless helplessness and utter confusion that have been my reality, I wouldn’t be called lucky.

Its not luck, but sheer will and action which have made me build a life I love, one which feels as good as it looks.

Again, this is not to say that, this is it, or that this is the best its ever going to get. It is not, if anything I know that I am on my way up, still scaling heights, and far from my potential. And for once, this excites me, to know that the best is really yet to come. Instead of thinking of the future as a scary unknown. Again a simple shift in perspective.

Life, till our very last breath, is always changing, new challenges keep coming our way, new lessons have to be learnt, we have to keep adapting if we have any chance of thriving, and not merely surviving. This is applicable to every single one of us.

Don’t let it discourage you though, it is not all work, for the last couple of hours that I have spent writing this post, I have been seeing butterflies flitting about, through the window in front of me, even now every time I look up from my computer screen, I see them blissfully living out their lives and adding joy to those of us who are lucky enough to see them. Perspective!

Our successes depend on effort, but it is only a matter of perspective to make the most of it while we are on our way to the top, and the sky is the limit.

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Because I like being literal. 🙂

I will conclude this post with a few questions.

Is it possible to succeed, in any field –

  • Without any work or effort; or
  • With constant negative self-talk: or
  • By never seeing the world and this life as a potential of great opportunity and beauty?

Although these are my “Dear Void” questions, please feel free to let me know your thoughts on it.

See you soon.

xo


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Another Aha Moment

One of my biggest Aha moments in the recent past was the realization that when I like something (or someone), I tend to have on rose-tinted glasses which disallows me from spotting red flags. I disregard any warning signs even if they are staring me right in the eyes, I dismiss well-meaning advice, simply because I project my own emotions on it. As a person who believes in good old fashioned hard-work I feel like, if something is worth having, it is worth the effort as well. I relentlessly plod along till I feel depleted in my soul. A lot of wasted time, efforts and disappointment later, its real worth dawns on me and I find myself wondering, what was I thinking? How was I not able to see the situation for what it really was?

There’s a reason why hindsight is 20/20! You have more information looking back, than when you did looking forward.

But the second part of my Aha moment was the fact that Time is finite. Our lives are limited to a number of years on this planet, having these experiences, the human lifespan is not 500 years where we get to keep circling around the same patterns, and playing the same games and realize too late that we have been wasting time living the same patterns.

They say the lessons keep repeating themselves until you learn what it was supposed to teach you. And to me, this feels like my lesson. It feels like the Universe is holding a mirror to my face, like I am meant to realize that I am getting the same patterns because I am yet to learn the lesson these experiences are trying to teach me.

I suppose, when you know better, you do better, and hopefully I get to do that without losing any more precious years.

Until next time.

xo