International Day of Happiness 2017

Today, 20th March, 2017 (Monday) is the International Day of Happiness – the concept of such “days” leave me perplexed, simply because often these are things that one should be mindful about always.

Like mothers day, women’s day, father’s day, valentines day, etc. – to me these days feel like someone is playing a joke on the world and reducing human sentiments to no more than posts on social media. (and yes, I do acknowledge the delicious irony that is this post)

Happiness is a state of mind, which requires nothing external, which has no limits or rules.

To be Happy, simply be. It really is as simple as that.

Image result for happiness

Image Source – Google Images

Lately, one of my favorite things to do is reflect – to be still and observe the patterns of my life, to be able to review my reactions to life, perhaps with the hope that I can better myself, and that gives me immense happiness.

So in the spirit of celebrating the International Day of Happiness, I will do a thing that always makes me happy – make a list (of things that make me happy), so here goes –

  1. Making Lists 😉
  2. Puppies – playing with them, looking at pictures/videos, or even just thinking about them changes my mood for the better
  3. Re-reading books – it always gives me the feeling of coming back home
  4. Reading book reviews of books I’ve already read, which gives me an insight to other people’s perspective on books that I’ve loved, more so when I find opposing views than mine
  5. A good cup of coffee – I once tried to give up coffee and practically lost my will to go on (I wish I were only saying this for effect), to have seen what life could be like without my favorite beverage gave me a real appreciation for it. And now when I drink coffee, I savor it for the drops of heaven it really is ❤
  6. Revisiting favorite memories, of certain moments which seem devised purely by the cosmos above
  7. Talking to old friends…

and many more, a list like this is endless, just as it should be.

In life, we often forget that there is something to be happy about each day, not just happy – delighted and enchanted – the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the joy that surrounds us each day, our jobs, our experiences, the endless possibilities of tomorrow which gives us hope, even just breathing (taking full deep breaths) and enjoying the essence of being alive and present.

Its all right here, waiting for us to stop being busy, and just look.

So today, I promise myself that no matter how busy or difficult my day gets, I’ll take at least 30 minutes to just indulge in things that give me joy.

I hope you do too.

Until next time, be happy!

xo

On Aha moments

My biggest “Aha moment” (so far) came to me towards the end of 2016 – it was when I started noticing that a lot of my set in stone principles are actually evolving to be more fluid, to be more flexible (of course, there are certain exceptions to this).This obviously came as quite a surprise to me, simply because I’ve always been quite rigid in the way I perceived life, very black & white.

I’ve been realising that life is never set in stone, everything is constantly changing, everything comes in phases, time keeps passing us by, days change to night and then night changes to day, even the sky – if you sat under the sky for a while, you will notice that the clouds keep moving and changing, nothing ever stays the same, and doesn’t physics tell us exactly that about matter as well?

Anyway, over the course of certain experiences, I’ve begun to understand that NOTHING is constant, everything keeps changing, including (and most importantly) ourselves.

Am I the same girl I was 10 years ago – No (and thank god for that!)

Does this mean I was bad/wrong 10 years ago – again No, I was the best version of myself in the circumstances which existed 10 years ago.

With my world constantly changing and evolving, I have had to adapt and evolve as well (despite my own resistance), if not for anything else, just to be able to keep up.

Such have been the nature of my Aha moments, the ones which tended to sneak up on me, most often results of quiet reflection. I guess that’s just the thing about Aha moments – it is that you never realise it at the time of the actual event, at the time you are more focused on surviving the thing that leads to the Aha moment. I guess that’s how connecting the dots work. It can only be done backwards.

My latest and most profound one is that Life is transient, no two moments are alike, what is it about a river never being able to touch the same water twice? I think life is like that as well. No two moments are alike, no two circumstances are alike, heck, we are not alike ourselves under different circumstances.

So if life is this temporary, and this ephemeral, should we hold on to our anger and pettiness? That is the question I find myself asking when my most human quality of pettiness takes over my personality in certain situations. There are a few things that can still manage to bring out the worst, most petty parts of me, and with this new realisation I wonder if any of those things that make me feel petty are even worth my energy, in the grander scheme of things.

I haven’t yet figured out all the answers, of course, sometimes I just like reveling in realisations which leave my perspectives altered forever…

Today is one such day…

Until next time, stay safe & be good.

xo

2017 – Valentines Day <3

The day of Love AKA Valentine’s Day 2017 has been a great day!
Image result for valentines day images

Source – Google Images

Although I’m very irked by the whole ONE day for Love deal, I had the most wonderful day possible, with surprises that I hadn’t expected, and expected events that didn’t happen (Just yet?), but at the end of the day, I am in love all over again. The kind of love that makes you hopeful, that it only takes one second for the Universe to bless you with everything you’ve been hoping for (and more).
Even once you’ve taken off he rose tinted glasses, Love is everywhere, whether it is your parents, your best friends or (best of all) even yourself, there is ALWAYS love around you waiting to be noticed. So as I get ready to turn in, I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed and tongue-tied, and when words don’t come easy, I rely on words of the Greats who knew their way around the typewriter.
What better poem that the one I chanced upon today – a perfect synchronicity. A poem about a man who loved a love so, it made the angels envious.
Annabel Lee By Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.
I hope that this year brings a love that even Angels in heaven envy.
Until next time, Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤
xo

To trust means to do?

Have you ever met a person who you now recognize as the “One that got away”?

I have, and in retrospect I feel like he got away because I did not muster the courage to ask him to a coffee when I had the chance. Of course, we eventually became friends and pretty good ones at that, but there are sometimes moments of doubt when I let my mind wander and think what life would’ve been like had I walked out of that auditorium that evening over six years back and asked him out..

No automatic alt text available.

And now I am faced with a similar dilemma, and I wonder if I should trust my instincts and take the first step, irrespective of where it may lead me?

Or

Should I trust that whatever is meant for me will always find its way to me, and not do anything?

Does “to trust or to have faith” mean that we act on our instinct, or does it mean that if we do trust in the bigger plan we simply keep on keeping on till something is directly in front of us?

To trust means to do? or to trust means to let it be?

What exactly is the catalyst that will trigger a reaction?

I really don’t know, but I have butterflies in my stomach anyway. I hope I get a sign from up above on what to do.

See you next time.

xo

Taking Stock – 1/12 of 2017

After all the hoopla about how 2016 was the most difficult and harrowing year in recent time (It was), day after day after day have passed and all of a sudden, we’ve completed 1/12th of 2017 as well.

January 2017 has been a peaceful year, the calm before the storm perhaps, a year of doing everything I promised myself I would, I have read more books (starting book # 4 tonight), worn heels more often, worn red lipstick, shopped more, and most importantly prayed more.

This year has been a year of lessons (Read: Blessings in disguise) as well –

  • I realized (again!) that friends can break your heart in more ways than boyfriends ever can! – Not going into it in this post, but I will write about it soon.
Image result for friends can break your heart

Image Source – Google Images

  • Not everyone deserved your loyalty and kindness. And for the people who make you question this, it is indicative that you should direct your loyalty and kindness inward and move on.

  • Look beyond the surface, especially when it comes to People. If anyone are trying hard to prove to be a certain way, look closer, and you’ll be surprised (or Shocked!).
  • My career is important but it isn’t everything (Its a Hugely significant part, but not my whole life).
  • Writing gives me a real sense of ease, and the more I write, the better I feel, a good way to dispel pain.
  • A sense that I may have been TOO nice lately, taking too much on from ungrateful people, giving too much rope to people around me, and being taken for granted a bit too often. Maybe its time to remind everyone who they’re really dealing with..

So here’s to a good month. January 2017, its truly been a pleasure!

Tomorrow will be another day, another beginning, more opportunities to be fierce, but mostly month of surprises (I hope).

Better catch some Zzzzs now.

Until next time, Goodnight. ❤

xo

Love yourself

For the longest time, I have battled with insecurities, and then I discovered  self-love. Its one of my favorite things to talk about, to read about, to write about – you name it, it all starts and ends with self-love for me.

Which also beings me to one of my biggest pet-peeves, that we are raised to believe that liking yourself (let alone loving yourself) is vain and only shallow and selfish people indulge in it.

Even now, if I think about how many multi-billion dollar industries are thriving on people’s insecurities, it makes me realize that I am not alone – beauty, luxury products, technology, highly curated, edited and mono-tonal media, matrimonial and so many other industries are thriving on people’s insecurities – we are constantly conditioned and nurtured with imagery to believe so many things:

  • If you are not tall, thin, blonde-haired, blue-eyed you are not beautiful; Of course this has changed quire significantly in the last decade! YAY!!
  • India’s obsession with fairness, where beauty means having fair unblemished skin;
  • If one is fat – they get constantly mocked and made to feel undesirable and un-datable – and not because being fat/out of shape may be a health hazard;
  • If one doesn’t have the latest technology- they’re outdated and uncool;
  • If one isn’t married by a certain age, they may as well be lepers.

Okay, maybe I was a bit dramatic on that last one there, but you get my point.. 🙂

We are constantly told that only “a particular way” was is right, and if don’t fit into that mold, you are not good enough…

For example, I recently went to the salon for a haircut, and ended up getting a very expensive facial and hair treatment along with the haircut. Why? because my stylist was very vocal about how damaged my hair and skin was, and I fell for it, simply because they had pressed on an insecurity of mine! Consequently instead of spending 1000 INR, I ended up spending 5000 INR that day. I came back home with a temporary fix and a lighter wallet. (See what I mean about industries thriving on people’s insecurities).

After parting ways with 5 times the amount than I had originally planned on spending that day, I took stock of my habits and decided I will take better care of myself, invest in good quality products and life long habits, and take the best care of myself.

Even now when I go to the salon, stylists try pressing buttons as they are trained to do, but at least now, if I do opt for treatments, it is because I want to, and not because someone is trying their luck at en-cashing on my insecurities.

So let me start at the very beginning of my own story – of how I was raised to feel like I wasn’t enough; and how I got over it (to a large extent…); and what that has resulted in.

Growing up, I was constantly compared with others (mostly by my grandmother, god rest her soul), this eventually lead to a pattern of me comparing myself with others and drive myself insane – thinking if only I was as tall as so and so, or if only I had a figure like so and so, or if only I had a job like so and so…. my life would be perfect. This lead to me feeling insecure and wanting to hide my real self from everyone because I never felt like I was good enough, resulting in me attracting situations and people who treated me likewise, giving me more of the same, reassuring me that how I felt was right and reinforcing the idea that I was not good enough.It became a vicious circle.

I spent years (decades) like this – outwardly happy looking, but struggling and hating myself for not being enough. In hindsight this saddens me so much, because your childhood, teens and early 20s should be filled with joy and not insecurities. Alas.

Something changed in my 20s, around the time that I was 23 years old actually – I had just graduated from law school, and having read the book called the secret, I realised a lot of the perpetuating patterns were made by me, by accepting it. I had lived my entire life not knowing that I could say No to something.

I had successfully manifested a 6 year relationship which can be described as toxic and a stressful job – where I gave my all and still felt inadequate. It made me clingy, angry, petty and pretty awful. I really didn’t like myself then.

All I knew was that I never wanted to feel like that, so I had to say No to things that diminished me. Then came the next dilemma, what do I say yes to and what do I say no to?  I hadn’t the slightest. I had never ever asked myself this question…

So I did what I do best – made a list (not pen to paper list), which turned out to be one of the most powerful exercises I’ve ever done for myself and one that I do so constantly, that today it has become almost an involuntary function.

But that was not the case when I started  – so what exactly did I do – well, it wasn’t one thing- it was however, triggered by one Oscar Wilde quote (which continues to be one of my favorites even today) –

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 It seems so simple right – except we are usually taught the exact opposite of that, aren’t we??

I stopped dead in my tracks, how could something so essential never be taught. No answer.

So I started on my quest with no answers: I made a conscious effort to dwell on things I like about myself, it started very small like one or two things that I did like, and I’d acknowledge it – it felt good, so I kept adding to it, and adding to it and then adding some more – till I fell in love with myself, and thus began my lifelong romance. Thank you, Mr. Wilde!

Things that I was once insecure about, I now loved and flaunted – Like my height, I stand proud at 5 feet 2 inches.

b7

It was merely a change of perspective. Not short, but utterly adorable. And just like that, you like something instead of feeling embarrassed. AND I get to wear the tallest heels and still look like an adorable little pixie! Win-Win!

b8

Of course this is only one example, and like this I found things I didn’t like and changed it, and what could not be changed, I changed my perspective about it, and it worked! I constantly found myself surprised that it was that simple and yet it never occurred to me sooner.

As they say, better late than never, but don’t let it fool you into thinking its all great all the time, sadly romance doesn’t work like that – there are still days of utter confusion, self doubt, and worst of all self defeating thoughts, but like with any relationship, you process it, you figure out a way to fix it, and you make an effort to do so again and again till its not a problem anymore.

Since this realization and my efforts to live this way began, I noticed a LOT of people were uncomfortable and even unhappy with this development, uncomfortable because they could not relate to me (the evolving me) anymore, I was told that I was selfish and that if I kept it up that I would end up all alone, because no one like vain people. I was told that my affection for myself was wrong because it was conceited to think like that. These people practically handed me the scissors and begged me to cut them off (from my life), and I happily obliged.

Some people expressed their unhappiness in their actions and sometimes even with words, they questioned why I deserved to like myself, or how I could dare to not seek their approval anymore. It pissed off a lot of them, again they practically handed me the scissors and begged me to cut them off, and again I happily obliged. This actually made me feel a thousand pounds lighter.

Through it all, I realized how many toxic people I had collected along the way, how many toxic people I had so happily accepted as my friends and family. It brought me to a new mantra –

165032_138441366310817_2031312170_n1

I finally realized that it was okay not to be liked by EVERYONE. We are not built for that. Life doesn’t end if a few people don’t like you, either they don’t know you, can’t relate to you, or best yet they don’t matter.

So what difference does it make if someone dislikes you – NONE (I promise you) No difference whatsoever, as long as you like you, as long as you approve of your choices & consequences, it makes NO difference. I remind myself this every time I start to obsess over this.

Of course, as human beings, we all want people to like us, but here’s another secret that I uncovered along the way, when you like you and accept you for the beautiful unique person you are, you set the bar for those around you as well; and the people you attract into your existence will like you. But just like anything, this type of consciously choosing a life that serves to magnify your existence, is not as simple as flipping a switch, it is, but its not a one time thing, every time you are faced with a choice, you have to choose the one that aids your well being more. Its more than a full-time job, its a way of life. 🙂

b9

Another result of this I have noticed through the years is friends have used it as an innuendo to make light of what I was saying – self love to be more literal rather than the tool to build your self-esteem and self-worth, but hey, they were funny so I rolled with it, laughed at it, and moved on.

If people were not ready to hear my story, it was okay, I no longer felt the compulsion of explaining myself or convincing them. That was freeing, to know that my way of life and my story is enough for me, irrespective of how acceptable it was to others.

This has resulted in better relationships, better confidence, more compassion, and most importantly a grateful and highly satisfying life, knowing every day that I am enough… Hell, I am an awesome, genuine, one-of-a kind woman!!! That is worth the world.

Now lets get to the big question – why self love – because this is the foundation of everything your life is built on. How, because we come to this world alone, and one day we will leave this world alone, but from the time we arrive to the time we depart – we are surrounded by people, beauty, and endless opportunities offered by this bountiful world, and we would have done ourselves a HUGE disservice if we didn’t make the best of our time here.

To build anything lasting, its foundation should be solid, so to make your life one of substantial significance, it starts with the strong foundation, that is YOU! The you that derives strength from inside yourself, and the ONLY way to do it is when it starts with the most powerful creative force known to mankind – Love!

The ONLY reason for this post is because I had to learn this the hard way, and I’m hoping that you don’t have to.

Its okay to love yourself, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and see how life changes for you!

Go ahead, start with one baby step today. Look at the mirror and focus on your favorite parts for a good 5 minutes, you will come away liking yourself a little bit more!

Go on, try it, and let me know!

Until next time, go love yourself!

Enjoy ❤

xo

Good times ahead

Every time I found myself struggling in life, I have gone inward, all my pain, all the confusion, the disappointments, get taken in like the most precious things in the world and protected. Rarely do I let on that I am not okay, this has been a lifelong habit of mine, I was raised to share good times, to celebrate out loud, and I understood this to mean that everything else gets handled in the privacy of your own soul, maybe because it feels like others should not be burdened with your issues because almost everyone is struggling with their own.

At such times, I have also found well meaning people around me who offered kind words and deeds unexpectedly. I truly believe that the Universe sends these little gifts of kindness because it knows too well that you need some TLC. Some such kind souls have been colleagues, spiritual pundits, family members, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers.

Having always been a spiritual person, I have never doubted that there’s a bigger plan, one which no one can’t fully understand (not yet at least), that can only be let to unravel one day at a time, one miracle at a time (sometimes even one setback at a time – thank god for unanswered prayers, no?).

jan-25

Source – Google Images

The last few days have been consumed with reading about (talking about) astrology – more specifically the planet Saturn. Astrology has been a pet topic since early years, mainly because anything that is mystical and celestial fascinates me. That somehow the way the celestial bodies move has an effect on human experiences here on earth. It is no secret that I prefer the Sky to the Earth. The vast, almost endless space which may never get completely uncovered by human beings (at least not likely in my lifetime), the stars, the planets and everything else .

Anyway, back to astrology – as per the Hindu astrology and in reality (when connecting the dots), I noticed patterns of having had a particularly rough time for the last two and a half years- caused by transit of Saturn in the eighth house. A testing time really, where one is faced with big disasters, accidents, losses (of wealth, health, reputation, jobs and mostly HOPE).

Lets talk about Saturn first – this planet is most feared, almost always thought to be malefic and terrifying, worshiped as part of the Navagraha by Hindus (which literally means Nine Planets). Saturn is actually not all bad all the time, as it signifies virtues like discipline, authority, leadership, honesty.

This planet is a perfect slave driver, which brings one to their knees with exhaustion and hopelessness. On the flip side, it gives one a chance to learn patience and be more appreciative of the good things (irrespective of how bleak everything may seem), and precisely this is how the last two and a half or so years can be described.

Layers upon layers upon layers that were uncovered one by one, be it in disappointments in work, love, health or generally life – working hard only to find the results were not even worth it, a lot of time wasted, trusting wrong people, lessons, blessings in disguise, getting knocked down, a constant swimming against the current, which does not let you move forward – sink or swim, delays, miscommunication, etc.

In the last two and a half years or so, the one thing I lost more often than anything else was Hope, no longer the same person anymore, perhaps that is exactly the point of anything, to be forged by fire and emerge stronger (and a little more jaded – a common side effect).

On 26th January (yesterday) the planets started moving again, so this transit is over (Yay!), and it apparently brings with it the end of hardships (at least astrologically speaking). The last few days, I’ve been reflecting about what this means to me, does this mean that suddenly the clouds will lift and life is sunny and bright all of a sudden, I don’t know.

As I sit here writing this post, despite Saturn (or whatever else it was – Life perhaps) bringing me to my knees, all I can do is sit still and look forward, as I slowly gather whats left of hope, and ready myself for the times to come. Today is a new day, a time to unburden and rest, after all tomorrow just so happens to be Chinese New Year – the year of Rooster, a day of new beginnings.

So until my next post, I wish you well and Happy Chinese New year!

unnamed

Source – Google Images

Good times ahead, see you there soon.

xo