4 Powerful Ways to Self Renewal

No matter at what stage of life you are, you could do with some improvement or shaking up. For those of you content with the way things are in your life now, pay heed to the ways you can keep the status quo. For those who feel that life throws up challenges faster than they can resolve or that their goals loom faster than they can be met or even that they are going nowhere with their present efforts, here are a few ways your mind can be reset, your days become more meaningful and your dreams seen closer to realization. 

1. Gratitude 

Practise Gratitude to see the best in every situation and count your blessings over and over again to get into a positive frame of mind. 

In her book, Magic, the author Rhonda Byrne shows how Gratitude has an immense power in making a person see the best in everything and everyone. It is precisely this positive bent that brings about changes in our lives that seem nothing short of miracles. 

2  Directed Questions

Harnessing the power of your brain to bring a change in focus is what can help you to succeed at a personal and professional level. Developed by the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Trainer, Rex Sikes in the 1990s, asking Directed Questions is a way to channelise the brain’s capabilities of looking for answers through the massive amount of data it already has. 

The technique consists of knowing what to ask the mind so that the mind goes in a positive direction and then gets the focus on the things you most want to achieve. These questions are different from making affirmations. In fact, they are supposed to be 400 times more powerful. 

3. Examine your Narrative 

There are stories we tell about ourselves to others. They may be half truths, some embellishments and some lies. They are told this way because we want to project the best of ourselves to the world. 

Then, there are the stories we tell ourselves. These are the voices in our heads. They are the ones which say how we could not follow our dreams or could not get that job or why we turned out the way we did in our lives. We all have these narratives running in our minds telling us the reasons we are not the best versions of ourselves. 

Take out some time and examine the narrative you have of yourself. If it does not work for you, it is time to change that story. 

4. Declutter 

Get rid of the things you don’t want in your life. Declutter your space and your physical surroundings. A physical declutter can do wonders in creating a sense of relief by letting go of the stress that too many things bring. 

Marie Kondo, in her book, Spark Joy says that we should keep only those things with us that spark joy. 

Extend this logic to your emotional space. Let go of situations and people that no longer work. There is no point in hanging on to things just because you have always done it that way. Evaluate your emotions. Weed out the negative ones. 

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Gratitude

Today, I feel grateful for the present of the present moment.
It is somehow very difficult to stay in the now, discarding the mirage of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Yet, the now means nothing more than ‘being’ as opposed to ‘doing’.

I feel grateful that I could put away my worries about ‘what might be’ and the regrets of ‘what might have been’ and focus on what I have now.

I am grateful that I could feel the breeze and see the beauty in the bare branches of the trees.
I am grateful that I could see the deep colours of the blooms.
I am grateful that the sun set the sky aflame in the evening.
I am grateful that it rained and everything felt new.
I am grateful that I could hear the pitter patter of the rain drops on my roof.
I am grateful for the tiny buds on the plants that herald spring.

I am grateful for today.

What are you grateful for, today?

How to say Goodbye in 5 ways; in 30 days

Bidding farewell is always hard, unless you are longing to move on from your present circumstances. Usually, the pull of ‘status quo’ is too strong and all we wish is to stay where we are, with people we are used to and with our routines that we have stuck to.

It has happened to me often that I have had to bid adieu to places. For all of my childhood and much of my adulthood, I have hopped from one place to another and in the process experienced a rich life of new experiences, different cultures and mind expanding circumstances. I am ready to move on, to adapt, to see the new, to view the different all because of my peripatetic existence.

Due to a quirk of fate, the past few years saw me settling down in one place. Although, I was always ready to leave, one foot in the door, always looking at what lay beyond. But the charms of the place I lived in started weaving its magic and as months went by, I wished more and more to stay on. In time, I almost put down roots. But life is nothing but a movement and the time has come for me to move on.

It is painful to go from this place that I have fallen deeply in love with. The clock is ticking and it shows a month. It is also important to say my goodbyes completely so that I can look back after a few years and remember only the good.

So, here are the things I wish I can do for peace.

One, say goodbye to people that have mattered. Deep and close relationships are the bedrock of a stable and fulfilling life. Even though the world is networked as never before and talking to someone is as easy as the push of the ‘call’ button on the phone, yet to cease sharing the most insignificant details of your life with someone and let the frequent belly laughs subside because you no longer go through the same days can feel bad. So, acknowledge that this is going to happen and that your relationship is going to change. Say thank you to all those who have shared your world. And pledge to stay in touch and have a deeper relationship that defies distance.

Two, say goodbye to the places as well. It may seem weird but we are as attached to the places we visit frequently. So, say goodbye to the parks you frequent, the restaurants you loved eating in, the theatres and the art galleries you have lingered in and the bends in the road that give you the first glimpse of your favourite landmark.

Three, take memories with you. Of course, you have been making memories all along. Now, just gather them in your camera, in your scrapbook and as souvenirs. For you and your new friends.

Four, plan to come back. Never say never. Life, with its unexpected twists and surprises may just bring you back. It has happened to me and with very pleasant results.

Five, stay Grateful. Say good bye and at the same time, stay grateful for the wonderful memories and the learning. You were meant to be here and you were meant to move on. It is all a part of the Universe’s grandiose plan for you.

I just wish that I am ready to let go with grace and love.

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Journey On...

Rule of Thirds

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Rather than this being a wonderful photo post in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge on the WordPress, it is a rumination on how we take the things we love for granted.

I tried to click a great picture with the subject off center and a beautiful bokeh but I failed miserably. Instead I clicked away with what I thought looked captivating. So, after an entire day of taking unaesthetic pictures, I tried to relax in my favourite spot in the house. Or rather outside. In the balcony.

It overlooks some hills and a verdant valley. I usually enjoy the morning sun shining on the tops of trees in the distance. I look at the skies to gauge the day. Brilliant blue on good days and gray on the rainy days. Yet, I keep waiting for the first glint on a tin roof for proof of a sunny day. All day, when I am home, I periodically look out of my window to see the sun advancing, illuminating its path, then overhead in its full glory, making the cedar forest off to the left inviting and later in the afternoon the dance of the shadows.

Everyday objects, the houses, the cottages, the tree stumps, the bushes are brought to life and I admire it all.

Does the beauty lose its charm after a while? It does. It is human nature to take beauty for granted. And good fortune. And our blessings. I am aware of this and periodically I remind myself to stop, shut down the internal chatter and ‘just be’ in nature’s lap. And at the same time, renew my thoughts, emotions so that I can enjoy the bounty of God with a renewed feeling of peace and gratitude.

Renew, Rejoice

Almost a week into the new year and no talk of resolutions, wishes, desires? I had been a stickler for the New Year routine for years when I realised that all I was doing was making the same list over and over again, narrowing or expanding the scope. That made me give up on resolutions.

Still there are times when life needs a course correction, when things become dull or uninspiring, when everything seems jaded. How then to find joy and contentment in daily life even when I am not climbing mountains or clinching that deal?

Here are some of my mantras for constant self-renewal.

Change your surroundings

Tackle your immediate environment first. Clutter can cause a lot of stress. Getting rid of the unnecessary gives you a priceless commodity-freed up space. Cherish that and feel the calm descend.

Another way is to go for a walk or a drive to an area you usually do not frequent. It may not be always possible to travel or to go on a vacation. The stimulus of being in a different place would bring in fresh ideas.

Do not draw from the same well

When feeling stuck in a rut, try to do things differently. Be creative in other areas. If you normally find your creative outlet in painting, try sculpting. If you write, try music as a way to get your creative juices flowing again. You need not even take rest or a break. Turning from one creative activity to another is a great way to rejuvenate your mind.

Examine your life script

Forget star alignments or God’s will or destiny. Much of that happens to us is governed by our minds-our perceptions, our imagination, our expectations and our vision. Analyse how you perceive yourself. Think about how you expect your life to turn out. Enumerate the things that are holding you back. Then, try to understand why you are not living your life the way you would really want to. Frequently, we are the ones holding ourselves back. We all can write our life script and work towards making it happen.

Stay fit physically

Physical fitness is a precursor to mental agility. Working out, taking care of what you eat, staying active make you feel good and in control. A healthy mind resides in an active body.

Connect with nature

Living an artificial lifestyle leads to stress and dissatisfaction deep inside. Spending some time communicating with nature brings on a sense of calm. It may not mean spending time in hills or near the sea as that may not be possible. Going for a walk in the relative quiet of the morning, taking up gardening or even contemplating with your own potted plants are great ways to feel closer to nature and yourself.

Practise Gratitude

Expressing Gratitude on a regular basis brings an amazing amount of positivity into your life. Start a Gratitude Journal, keep a Gratitude Jar, count your blessings with beads, enumerating your blessings every morning are great ways to keep negativity in check. If you are unable to let go of your negative thoughts, replace one consistent negative thought with a strong positive one. It would soon work wonders in your life.

Seek out new connections

Seek out new people in your life for they would bring an element of newness and expand your mental horizons. Make friends with people of different age groups and social background. It is as important to interact with an eight year old than with an eighty year old. Make connections with people from diverse professions.

Review your Identity

We cannot and do not change what we are essentially, but we do change our habits, hobbies, even professions over a period of time. Give more time and thought to the direction you would like to move in and the person you would want to become.

Rejoice in the wonderful gift of life that has been handed to you!

Thank You All

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My thanks to all. Photo Credit: http://www.rcapsolutions.org

Thank You. Big words. Sometimes, so oft repeated that they lose their meaning and relevance. But said at the right time (or even late) and with sincerity, they can warm someone’s heart… and a few months of winter.

I am grateful to Daily Post for providing me this opportunity to express my appreciation to all those who made the good in me and my life possible.

Well then, here goes. Thank you to all the people in my life-my parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, children,friends, colleagues, enemies, strangers, guardian angels for feeding, caring, guiding, companionship, criticism, love, appreciation, gratitude, flattery, obstacles, difficulties, lessons…

Now that the living, breathing beings have been thanked, I am sending out special thanks to my pair of wooden parrots. Diminutive and green (obviously), they sat on my study desk at the time I was completing my post graduation studies. This table was in my hostel room which meant they were gawked at by philistines all the time. I had bought them while on a pilgrimage with my parents. Hidden away in the serpentine lanes adjoining the magnificent Gurudwara were the small and impoverished workshops of the artisans, eking out a living by crafting handmade wooden toys. Oh! We fell in love with them! So, back came the parrots with me, hundreds of miles, to where I was trying to contain my dreams till the world was ready to receive me.

I christened them “Yossarian” and “Godot”. Their names wee written down on their bases. Yossarian was the name of the main character in Joseph Heller’s book “Catch-22”. He is the soldier who is perpetually trying to escape the battlefront. It is madcap fun, reading the book. It is also sometimes called a tragedy by readers. Godot was the mysterious character(?) in the play “Waiting for Godot” written by Samuel Beckett. Godot is someone everybody (rather the two characters) is waiting for fervently but he (He?) never appears.

The parrots stood for the opposing influences in life, in our worlds, both physical and emotional. Yossarian was somebody who wanted to go and Godot was someone who never came.

I was asked by a friend, whom also I should thank after all these years, about them. As I enthusiastically told their names and their significance, I was met with raised eyebrows and widened eyes (is it possible to do that the same time?). I was told that I lived in an imaginary world. People whispered about my sanity. That made me all the more determined to protect my world of books, imagined characters and stories.

Thank God for that, it made my imagination richer and I learnt to put my thoughts on paper.

Peeping through the Veil

Most of the times, I feel as if I am behind a veil watching the world go about its business. It is not my religion or my culture that decrees wearing of a veil by females in public places. It is a personal disposition of sorts that I have had for years, from my childhood perhaps.

A psychiatrist might call it a mild depression. I am not sure, for the only time I gathered up courage to visit one was when I cried so much before, during and after the appointment. I do not remember much what happened. Or the diagnosis or the prognosis. I only remember being looked at suspiciously, as if I really were mentally very unstable. I was prescribed medication, that I never took.

In retrospect, I think I had gone to talk, to find empathy, sympathy even. I just wanted a confirmation of my existence, that it was not a mistake and that the veil would not be defining. That somebody understood. That day, I came back empty handed.

The veil exists very really for me. I feel as if I am separated from the world, looking on but unable to feel much of what is going on. I am watching a movie but I am not part of it. I rarely feel involved and when I do, it is exhilarating. The exhilaration does not last long.

It is rather tiring after a while. Draining. Sucking the life energy out of me as if I had much to start with. I want a solution. My mind races on, through all that I have heard about or read about or thought about. The various theories, the exhortations, the strategies. I have been through most of them. I want one solution. Not a series. One definitive step.

Then I turn to Gratitude. I sit down with my journal, the one I had set aside. Bright yellow, in hope of brightening my days. I write down ten reasons I am grateful. I put it away. The next morning, I have a date with my Gratitude journal again. I write down ten more reasons for my supposed happiness. Each time I do this, the veil gets translucent. I can glimpse more of the outside. I make it a routine. Each morning. Twice a day, when things as looking up. Sometimes I slide back into despair. But I pick myself up. For nowhere else would I find The Solution.

Thanks to the practice of Gratitude, the veil seems to be slipping. And in the glimpse of the world, I see pieces of myself.