Life Lesson – Back to basics

As someone who has been practicing yoga for the last decade, I tend to be very aware of my body, how it reacts to certain things, how it is affected by change in diet, weather, fitness routine, pretty much most things. That’s the thing about Yoga I love most, the awareness it creates. Yes, the flexibility, strength, etc., are all great, but the awareness you have over your body (physical and energy body) is immense.

On December 12th 2016, I had the most rude awakening of my life – I woke up and could not get up and stand up straight, or walk without crying. I had shooting pain in my lower back, and no matter what I tried to do, I could not move. My legs felt like they each weighed a ton, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, couldn’t lie down in any position other than a fetal position. The only thing that got me through the night was to be heavily sedated, and I saw the doctor the next day to figure out what had gone wrong, and found out that my disc is damaged, and more damage and it could easily have been a slipped disc or a herniated disc. This was something I have to be careful about for the rest of my life.

I asked him how this was even possible, I do yoga! I’m in my 20s! Okay, I work a desk job, but I’m very conscious about talking breaks and stretching, HOW could this have happened??

Very calmly, the Doc told me that this could happen to ANYONE. It doesn’t matter how old/young you are, how fit/unfit you are, etc.

It has been over three months, and my back still hasn’t completely recovered. I still occasionally get shooting pain in my lower back, or sometimes a weird pressure in my lower back. There is now a constant awareness in my body that my back is still recovering. I still cringe at attending long meetings, because I don’t like to sit in chairs too long, I now avoid certain kinds of lounge chairs, I am hyper aware when my back isn’t straight or supported, because anything other than perfect posture, my back makes its presence be known, like a tantrum throwing child trying to get your attention. THIS is not fun!

The back incident (as I now refer to it) was a huge wake up call – because I never expected that I would have back issues, in my 20s (okay Late 20s), it made me so angry, all the rage I didn’t know I had came out to play in those days when I was stuck on my back. It was unfair and I definitely didn’t deserve it!

For 10 days I literally did nothing other than wake up, shower, get dressed, get on the carpet on the floor, took pain medication, slept, ate, and repeated this cycle.

The first few days were pure rage! I was pissed off with life, it felt like I was screaming uncontrollably into the abyss and no one could hear me, no one could help me. I felt alone,  helpless and very angry.

After my anger tired me out, it turned into plain submission (with a hint of helpless sadness), I told myself that I won’t let this pain go to waste. It HAD to mean something. I know that God (at least the one I know, love and believe in) wouldn’t put me through pain so senselessly. It HAD to mean something. I needed it to mean something.

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Image Source – Facebook

But what exactly did all of this mean, what was this meant to teach me?

The back incident gave me a LOT of time to reflect, and one of the conclusions was that maybe I had allowed life to go into auto-pilot mode, and just went with whatever life was sending my way, instead of living more deliberately, so much so that life had to give me a jolt to wake me up!

Now I don’t know if I’m right or not, but I choose to believe that it was for some great piece of wisdom that I had to uncover.

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Image Source – Google Images

Sometimes it is at your lowest point that the most precious lessons are revealed. So what was this too precious lesson that got revealed that I wouldn’t have learnt without pain that put the fear of god in me?

Well here are some of the big ones, at least this is what I’ve come up with so far –

  1. My family will be there for me no matter what – of course, I knew this. But this was a reminder because when my big brother (who is usually very busy), cleared up his day to take me to the hospital; and my mum spend almost all day with me rubbing my back, getting me hot packs for my back and comforting me; and I found out that my dad actually lost sleep over my new health condition. It made me realize how blessed I am, even if I wasn’t fully capable to appreciating it in that moment. I definitely do now.
  2. My body is more fragile than I thought – while the human body is capable of surviving in unimaginable conditions, it actually takes real discipline to keep it in good shape. Damaging it is the easiest thing, and recovering might take the rest of my life.
  3. Life is as unexpected as it is short – we NEVER know what is coming next. It only takes a second of life to make a 180 degree shift, and life as you know it will cease to exist. The impermanence of things is both comforting and unnerving. So enjoy and don’t take life so damn seriously all the time.
  4. Appreciate everything and take nothing for granted – there are people praying from the stuff we take for granted. So always be grateful and cherish life.
  5. Meditation helps with unexpected emotional outbursts (in my case rage) – To me, meditation means to simply be still and silence your mind of constant clatter. It is to simply be present. It isn’t always about chanting and getting into an elusive state of trance. It is to simply be still and let yourself be at balance with the world around. I know it sounds new age-y but it works like magic, it has made me calmer and happier.
  6. Writing about experiences dissipates pain – This makes me want to start a journal (with an actual book and pen).

Obviously there are many more, but I am yet to figure out how to articulate it. Its time to get back to basics, to ignore the external influences, and listen to my inner voice and go back to who I am.

Until next time, be good!

xo

Downtime

Often I find that there are various (often opposing) elements co-existing in the same realm without conflict, be it the natural elements, be it our emotions, be it our energy, be it the people around us (it could be anything, really) and then suddenly there’s a trigger which changes the whole equation. In Chemistry class, I remembered learning about catalysts, which are chemical substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.

In life also, there are so many triggers, so many instances that provoke change and alter the course of our lives forever.

The biggest such catalyst in my lifetime has been the Internet. Practically anything can be done online – Research becomes faster and more accurate, finding old friends and people you have lost touch with is way easier, online shopping (thank heavens for the person who came up with Online shopping!), dating, work, writing (this post!), business transactions, you name it and the Internet has some part in it.

It has definitely made many aspects of life easier, but it has also made us less personable, less present, and generally averse if not intolerant of anything which isn’t an instant gratification.

Which brings me to what I have been thinking of these past few days, long gone are the days when people wrote hand written letters or sent out thank you cards to one another, and waited days before it reached its recipients, and wait days more for the replies. I can’t help but wonder, do the people of today have the resilience and patience for delayed gratification?

I mean, in a lot of aspects, we may never have the need to find out, but it still makes me wonder.

Sometimes life is about watching the paint dry, before we can go to the next stage. This downtime too is needed, even if it feels like we are stuck in a state of limbo. Perhaps it will all make sense in the (not so distant) future.

Until then, I’m still here – attempting to pour my thoughts into words.

xo

NYE 2016 – Parting Thoughts

Last day of the year and I can’t help but take stock of the 366 days that we have spent going around the sun again. It is something I do every year, but this exercise feels more important this year because a LOT has happened over the past 12 months.The hopefulness of January which was quickly shattered (by an incident I don’t really wish to re-live here), the decision taken in February whose consequences lasted till July, Rude awakenings in August, Travels and mindless spending that took over my life in September and October, a welcome lull that was my November and Finally the December which was mostly spent on my back with a slipped disk, which I haven’t fully recovered from (another rude awakening).

Yes, the highlights look bleak, but it wasn’t all bad, there were a handful of moments which were utterly breath-taking and so lovely that it broke my heart, these were the quiet moments that didn’t make an appearance on social media. No remnants other than the memories that I will carry in my heart for life.

So simply put, 2106 had its moments of Bad, Good and downright Awful. But hey, its almost over and for once saying goodbye to something has never felt easier.

So while I wait for 2017 to finally arrive, I can only think of the things I will strive to do more of, are these New Years Resolutions? No. I’m not one of keeping them up..

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These are more of a fun list of things I hope to do more of, it makes me happy just writing this –

  1. Write more (consistently) – Give myself achievable targets and actually stick to them. Say three posts a month. So that gives me 10 days to churn up one post. Very do-able.
  2. Exercise MORE – For someone who has been working out for the last eleven years now, this is not some silly seasonal fad, I do however want to be more disciplined about it. Fix my back and make my body fit af! 2017 will be a year of beast-mode, and I can’t wait to get started!
  3. Click more photos – be more mindful to chronicle significant moments, whether they get posted or not!!
  4. Give more – Give more of my time, attention, advice & of course material gifts, especially to my loved ones.
  5. Learn to shoot a gun and get good at it. This has been a bucket list item for a long time! So in 2017, I will firstly get my membership at the shooting range, and make a schedule to visit it and learn. Its so badass, I love it!!
  6. De-clutter. De-clutter. De-clutter!!
  7. Be more mindful with money.
  8. Buy less and re-use and up-cycle more.
  9. Travel more – To places far and wide.
  10. Forgive more.
  11. Let go of old hurt & past grievances – Seriously, if lessons have been learnt, they serve no other purpose anymore. Let that shit go.
  12. Count my blessings every day.
  13. Expect the best from myself – Expect the best conduct, words and way of being. Polite, Polished, Graceful, Gracious and a little sassy.
  14. Change my job.
  15. Meditate more.
  16. Love more.
  17. And finally DANCE more.

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Happy 2017, everyone.. See you all next year.

xo

Wilde Wondering

This past week has been a pain in my back, sadly I mean that literally. My Monday started with shooting pain in my lower back, a pain so severe I couldn’t walk, or even move without crying, and on Tuesday it was diagnosed as a minor slip disc, and boy was I angry when I found out, it was unimaginable that me, a yoga doing 20 something girl could get it. It felt unfair and I was angry, although quiet on the outside, I was screaming internally. That was my state of being all the way till Wednesday. Finally around mid week, it dawned on me that One good thing that has come from this forced rest, is that I’ve had the time to stay still, meditate, do absolutely nothing, read and basically find a way to let all the pent up stress melt away.

One of the things that did happen this past week was finding part this amazing quote by Mr. Wilde, which is pretty much my life’s mantra, if you will, and it goes something like this –

 To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.

Here and Now – the Only truth, all that we can be sure of. Not tomorrow, not 5 years from now, not life when we’re say 60! Not even the past, your past glories or past embarrassments, its all nothing but memories now. Stories.

Now – this moment. And the biggest, possibly the most difficult task is to be fully present, mind, body and spirit. To enjoy THIS moment.

It may seem very new age-y and pseudo intellectual. But really, its not. To be present, truly present in the moment, to share that part of your life with the person/s you are with. It is the best thing you could ever do! Believe me, there have been such moments which I wish never ended, but they did, because such is life, it keeps moving on, whether you want it to or not.

Maybe that is something that we should keep in mind, especially when life has managed to knock you down to our knees. This is also only a phase, a moment which will change. (for better or worse, I’m not sure, but it won’t be this way anymore). I take a lot of comfort from this because when you’re back hurts, everything hurts. Its possibly as bad as a heartbreak. But I know that this pain is only temporary. Tomorrow (or even the next hour), my body could heal to make me stronger. Therefore, despite the pain, I can be at peace, that this moment too will pass, the discomfort gives me clarity to take better care of myself. And that I definitely will. 🙂

Now back to the quote, when I saw part of it, it looked like a quote about here and now, but when I read the whole quote, its not about life at all, but about death. That death is a state of being at peace, a state of nothing-ness. It is sneaky how we thing something (or someone) is a certain way based on just one side of what is presented to us, and when we take a look at the bigger picture, it tells a different story.

This is the whole Quote –

As always, Mr. Wilde has given me something to think about. Perhaps, it is not to be too quick to judge something. I for one, am guilty of getting carried away, but this quote, in all its deceptive glory, really does give me something to change about myself, maybe not change, but evolve.. 🙂 That does have a better ring to it!

Today and the coming days will be more about improvement, healing, letting go of old hurt, and embracing all that is to come.

I used to think that to be positive was to suppress any negative feeling or disregard negative thoughts, and just fake being happy till I actually felt happy. But lately, I’ve begun to realize that any feeling or emotion must be acknowledged and felt to be fully and properly released from your system, otherwise it turns toxic. So if you’re sad- be sad, if you’re hurt- be hurt, if you’re in pain – feel it, and then let it go. Don’t let it bottle up in a dark corner and fester, only to blow up in your face when you least expect.

This, for me, has been one of the biggest lessons of 2016.

To allow myself to not be numb, to actually feel and be present in every aspect of life- physically, emotionally, spiritually. The biggest lesson ever learnt is to surrender. To be able to surrender to the moment, no questions asked, has  been the most difficult and most rewarding experience. Life, after all is only now, that has been the biggest revelation.

All this, just in time for Solstice (winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and summer solstice in the southern hemisphere), its a perfect occasion to shift your energy from dark gloomy past and move to embrace bright new beginnings.

Solstice, it is believed, is a time the Universe gives us a bridge to let go of all that doesn’t serve us, and make space for a better brighter life.

If the earlier bit sounds too abstract, here is what you can practically do –

  1. Acknowledge the pain – Write things down, find a calm quiet place and write what you feel. Take stock of the year, both good and bad. Acknowlegde that it is okay not to have followed the plan. Life works out exactly as it should.
  2. Release the hurt – Now that you have written things down, release the pain. Don’t cling on to things and re live the hurt. Release it, by forgiving yourself, forgiving those you feel have hurt you, release that sense of entitlement. Imagine a calming energy envelop you as you let go. Forgive. You will feel ten pounds lighter!
  3. De-clutter – This can be done in many ways, the first thing to start with can be your physical space, your home, get rid of things you don’t need. Give things away.Clear your physical space. Then maybe do the same at your work place. And your online life – de-friend, unfollow and allow yourself to only be surrounded by things that really bring you joy. The rest is clutter, and they have got to go!
  4. Forgive – Forgive yourself. We tend to be our own harshest critics. Learn to also be your own biggest cheerleader. Its okay not to be perfect, but that is not an excuse to be unkind to yourself. Start by consciously forgiving yourself, and see how that will change your perspective.
  5. Embrace – After all the above, you will feel finally ready for all that is coming your way, embrace everything, the good and the bad. Find your bliss and cherish it.

Let this holiday season bring joy and light, because after the year we have all had, we deserve it.

Until next time, be good to yourself.

xo

The story behind my blog name

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After getting asked numerous times about my blog name, I decided to write a post and share why this name is significant to me..

So here’s what it means, the word effloresce means to blossom and 23 is my most favourite number. (Yes, I have a favourite number too 🙂 who doesn’t ?)

This means so much much because I’ve always thought of myself as a late bloomer, always taking my own sweet time, and doing things at my own sweet pace (can’t force a flower to bloom before it’s time, now can you ?). So the moment I saw this word, I knew instantly that this is perfect for me ! 😀

Something’s are so perfectly meant for us that the moment we encounter it, we know ! Just like that.

And ever since I started writing (and by that I mean, taking it more seriously than I ever have), I feel like I’m in a constant state of blossom, always ready with new ideas, always seeking interesting things to read, to share and ultimately, to be part of.

For you, who took the time to read this, thank you 🙂

More soon..

xo