Roots

How does one get from point A to point B?  Without point A, point B might not exist at all. I believe that reflecting on one’s roots and foundations, figuring out why and how you arrived at point B, and accepting and addressing flaws along the way, are crucial for personal growth and evolution.

My roots are my parents. So strongly grounded into the earth, unfettered by a storm. My roots allowed me to grow in many different directions but always made sure that I felt supported. I have never tried to ‘fit in’, because my branches had their own terms, respectful of trees around, but always spreading out in unexpected ways.

In some ways my parents were my ‘handlers’, just like handlers in the CIA! And god oh god, did they know how to handle me. As I did, them, in their later years 😉  The beauty of my upbringing is that my parents understood my strengths and weaknesses, and pushed and pulled in exactly the right amounts in my foundational years. I always had a mind of my own, and they understood this well. They did their best to nurture this quality of mine in the most positive ways possible. They always gave me the opportunity to try new things. Even my fad of studying at a boarding school in third grade, when I was enamored by Malory Towers and St.Claires, books by Enid Blyton 🙂  Mom and dad allowed me to experience, learn and let go as I deemed fit, for the most part. I have made my share of mistakes and learned from them. Change, and learning from change has always been easy for me. However, accepting the unchangeable, and understanding the difference between what I can and cannot change has always been a challenge.

Diversity is the spice of my life and this is precisely why I love my life now. I am writing one minute, creating art the next, teaching yoga a few hours later, planning our next travel adventure and then cooking dinner!  And fortunately I have the ability to do each one of these things for the love of the process, and not for money.  Once you start being present and mindful in every process, you start living a meditative life. Even when I am not spending time on a focused meditation, I am infact in mindfulness meditation mode. This is indeed the universe’s gift to me.  But it took me a long time to realize that this gift had been mine to accept for a long time. The mental journey to take money out of my personal purpose equation took approximately 8 long years.

I have heard people saying to me, ‘oh good you are so busy’ lately 🙂  I have always been occupied and busy even through some very deep dark days,  but I think what people’s perceptions are indicating to me is that people identify ‘being busy’ with structure.
For the last few years as an entrepreneur, artist, or while supporting my parents through thick and thin, I had to keep changing modes, requiring a high degree of adaptability, flexibility and pliability. Now I am teaching yoga classes that have a time slot attached to them. I schedule the rest of my day based on the classes I have to teach.
Little did I realize that the unstructured time, when I was trying to shift hats constantly was indeed a very important part of my journey. The biggest purpose in my life was to spend as much time as possible with ‘my roots’ between the years 2014 and 2016 and the universe guided me perfectly to fulfill it.

There is great beauty in stillness. In just being. In just breathing. And sometimes we transform ourselves in this stillness. I have had a hard time with stillness for the most part of my life, but I think I have finally discovered that still space that I can sink into with comfort. Stillness has helped me in the process of accepting the unchangeable, and finding peace with it. Keeping oneself busy is not hard, but finding something purposeful, meaningful and meditative, and living your life in mindfulness can be 🙂

PS: Yogi friends…… Stay strong and grounded on your right leg, lengthen your torso, and ensure that the left knee is aligned with the right,  as you spread the branches of your tree ; )

My journey from Skinny to Chubby to Slim :)

If you want a peek into someone’s heart, you need to be able to give them a glimpse of yours.  I keep talking about vulnerability, and decided to share a piece of me that not everybody knows about.

I was a skinny girl till I got to 5th grade. As a child, I struggled with wheezing, and refrained from eating chocolates and icecream. All this changed in Abudhabi when I was about 10 years old. Decadent goodies were available in plenty, and I had finally outgrown my wheezing! So there you go, I was literally a kid in a candy store. And ofcourse, mom being an excellent cook did not help 🙂

I went from skinny to a chubby pimply faced middle schooler in the Middle East. Truth be told, I still don’t like those photos on display! Mom ensured I was active, but given I was not obese, there was never a major push for me to lose the extra pounds until I got older. I probably weighed about 120-125lbs through high school. And to give you some context I am only about 5.1 in height! During my second year in college I think I hit nearly 130. And at that point, my mom believed that the time had come for a serious intervention. Will power has always been my strong suit! Once I decide to put my heart and soul into something, it gets 150% of me.

Mom promised me a new wardrobe, and in Dec 2000 I got one! Just 3 months of swimming and a hardcore regimen on fruits and veggies got me to 100lb. Nothing else mattered. Seeing mountains of goodies never made me falter.

Since then I have never been overweight. I put on a few pounds and lose a few pounds. It varies just like everything else in life. When I was hospitalized with asthma in 2015 February, I touched 89 pounds. I’m one of the exceptions to the steroid rule. It increased my metabolism, and made me lose weight!

These days, I don’t focus on a number on the scale, I focus on being as strong and flexible as possible, just like water. I listen to my body. It tells me what it wants. Like now, it’s the holidays, and I’m eating a few more baked goods than I probably should! It was funny when I heard my friend’s mother say to me on Christmas day – you are not all skin and bones now , u look so much prettier:)  Lol, I was thinking to myself, I might be getting a little too pretty, time to hunker down and get back to some rigorous working out and laying off the baked goodies , come January 2017 🙂

PS: I have a very interesting relationship with my arms. I’m not in love with them. I think they are disproportionate to the rest of my body. But I have finally learned to love them!! And oh yeah, I’m a total celebrity style arm poser 🙂

DEATH AND REBIRTH

For me, one of the purposes of this blog is to open up others to the world of vulnerability, by expressing my own. In the past year, I have brought up death in person, in the form of pictures, in my writing. In every form of expression. And the reason being, the way I look at my existence on this planet has changed since my near death experience and the death of my parents. Death has transformed me in unbelievably positive ways. While the physical form is gone, their spirits are still here. Talking about them and cherishing memories, makes them come alive for me. It brings out those heartfelt smiles and tears. In my case death has instigated a rebirth of sorts. Or rather, what was residing way deep inside of me has just blossomed, and to me, that mirrors a rebirth.

I have found that people don’t know how to react and respond to death. Everyone deals with death and grief extremely differently. I have observed that people are vary of bringing it up, because of awkwardness, uneasiness, and so forth. But it is an integral undeniable part of life.  The circle of life. I have often told my friends that colleges need to incorporate a class called ‘Grief 101’ into the mix.

The expression of vulnerability increases empathy in others. Sometimes it is hard to empathize when you believe that you can’t relate to a situation at all. So I’m telling my story, hoping that it will awaken that empathy in someone, somewhere. In my world, empathy is crucial. And I can only be the change I wish to see  🙂

February 25, 2016

The eve of my first birthday without mom and dad. I stand by the coffee maker, looking at my phone. I slowly start receiving birthday wishes from India and elsewhere. But the one phone call and message I desperately want will not come.  Tears trickling down. No matter what I told myself on that particular evening, I felt lost. What am I doing here? They are both gone. It feels empty. I want that phone call.

February 26, 2016

When I look back at how I spent a birthday one month after my dad’s demise, now, I am proud of myself. But back then, I didn’t feel that way. All I knew is they would not want me to cry on my birthday and would change anything possible to stop my tears. So I honored what I knew for a fact.

I made my own bar hopping plan with Sam. All dressed up, eating and drinking along the way. I will come clean and say – I really wish someone in Seattle had asked if they could see me. Meet me. Celebrate me. Not an expectation, but definitely a wish. I remember telling Sam, I know I have people who consider me to be family in this city. And I received lovely calls and messages. In retrospective, maybe I should have said – will you come celebrate with me? But if I think further, maybe I was afraid to hear ‘ No, so sorry can’t make it happen today’, because I was not emotionally equipped to deal with that response on that given day. I would have probably started missing mom and dad more, and best friends who are scattered around the world, and started crying. It was because of where I was in that given moment. I was grieving. I was definitely dealing with grief in the best possible way at that moment in time, but grief just ain’t easy baby. All one can do is be one’s best in a given moment. And one’s best changes from day to day.

When I look back now, it all makes sense to me. For the heart to expand, it need to be broken. Heartache is a big part of my transformation.

July 22, 2016

The day after mom’s birthday. The day after I had just edited redesigned and published her beautiful words as an ebook. I was taking off on a trip to Dallas.

I step into the bathroom, ready to take a shower. I touch the sliding glass door of the shower cubicle to close it and the entire glass door shatters into a million pieces with me standing butt naked inside of it. And just one cut. A cut on my right knuckle. That’s it. Nothing else. My reaction had been in nano seconds. Curling up into a position that helped me protect myself, I had escaped a number of possibilities. To me it felt like a miracle. A human being’s instinct to survive is extremely strong. When I broke my back a couple of years ago, I was lucky that I was not paralyzed, but then again, it didn’t hit me with quite the same intensity this did. And maybe it was because I had also been through the experience of my mom’s unexpected demise and dad’s demise. Yes, death surrounded me in different ways so I could be reborn again ! Maybe for mom and dad’s purpose in life to be fully completed, they had to leave me. For me to come to a higher level of self realization and consciousness, they had to leave their physical forms and exist only in spirit.

I made it to Dallas in one piece. And that day changed my life forever. The universe was telling me the same thing in many different ways  –

All you have is this second. Be your best in this moment. Spread your love, peace, harmony and kindness. There is no room for anger, hurt and resentment. If you feel it, observe it and let it go, and let the next second unfold in a way unimaginable to you. The whole world is beautiful, and nobody is perfect.

MERRY CHRISTMAS PEEPS !!

 

Grief over election results, akin to Grief over death, for many…..

I have experienced grief over the death of my parents, but yesterday I felt like several human beings were feeling the same type of grief over the election results. So when some people were saying ‘Move on’ to others, I could see why it was taking time for people to move on. You don’t get over death in a day, and to many people it felt like the death of a nation yesterday. It’s time to EMPATHIZE folks, no matter where you stand. Whether you are one who moves on fast, or takes your time to heal, there is no right or wrong way to get over grief. You can’t restrict what you feel. Instead I invite you to observe your thoughts and emotions, and let go of them. Like puffs of cloud in the sky, rarely do they linger for too long……

It is nearly impossible for me to ‘feel good’ about a president elect whom I perceive to be disrespectful to women, homosexuals, and the list continues…..
I’m working hard to empathize with a variety of views, and stay open and non judgmental.

Unity is strength, and if we want any kind of peace and harmony, we have to rise above hatred. Hope and love are supreme ways to trump hate, and it is imperative for us to believe that whatever happens, happens for the best.

The United States of America is home to me, and I’m definitely not leaving this country because DT is president! This nation has a lot going for it. Let’s hope, pray, meditate and work towards making it better.