Looking Back to Look Ahead

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As we prepare to step into the New Year I felt drawn to revisit my old posts that came at a similar time. It was like visiting the previous versions of me and how the felt sense of life has kept evolving for me, year to year. This year I feel fairly removed from feeling the years as separate blocks of time. The year ahead feels like a continuum, a knowing of how I am going to be changed as a person yet there is no rawness of curiosity in it. I feel focused and open for new directions.

Following post, first posted on Jan 5, 2017. I loved repeating this to myself, so I shed some more layers of confines I place on myself. 

Step into the New …You

It is too long that you stayed in that shell …to keep others comfortable.

There are some around you who have always loved you, with whom you are amazing and it is easy. You feel safe being yourself. Then why walk on eggshells in the rest of the world? Why numb and dumb down the goodness and brightness in you ? Sometimes to the point that you feel like the most ungracious or insensitive person?

Nobody realizes that you are trying to be just the opposite, or simply trying to fit in. You value them too much …more than yourself! They are getting used to that …your misery even. And you are getting comfortable with that. In your mind you are being nice to them …stop …just stop!

They are taking your appreciation and praise, for everything about them, as your weakness, or worse jealousy. When you soar higher than what they perceive you to be (and you are still nowhere in your perception) …what will you take their unappreciation of your journey as? How will you look at their lack of acknowledging of your existence?

Look at those who really ‘see’ you. You seem to do everything right towards them.

Break the shell, crack open …Do what it takes! It’s worth it! They will find others who feed their comfort. Yes, give them the shock …stop hurting so much!

They will have to step up, to be able to understand you and cheer you in your growth. They will have to know the pain you pay as your dues. The grace you are showing as you choose to crack open and take flight.

You in your truthfulness will mourn your perceived loss of some of them, because you truly cared about them. That’s why you kept them comfortable while you suffered being trapped in an unwholesome reality.

Yes, I know you also have done some things wrong to some. Those too will reach out to you or you to them, in your growth. Just that you are not accountable to all of them this very minute, so don’t judge yourself so hard.

Go ahead take that step, a small change, break open, fly. The ones ready for growth will grow with you, or even break some towards their own growth. Some will fall away, as you both cannot see eye to eye now.

Forgive yourself, forgive them, love yourself, love them, allow yourself to Be, allow them to Be. Trust me, trust me, trust me it’s worth it. When you feel stuck and choose to wiggle out, it hurts, it’s worth it.

The ones who care for you and the ones you care for, will have to accept you as you are today. Let them know you want ONE with them, you are one of them. But be stronger on your own path. Some of them Never let go!!

Break out of anything you are keeping yourself in …one step at a time!

Following post, first posted on December 31, 2017. I have picked lines of the poem to share here because I feel exactly the same in a very different way, as I look back to 2018 and head into 2019. Title is linked to full post.

Looking Back in Time & Curious Ahead

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My family at a beach on Kauai island, Hawaii – December 2017

Looking back 2016 had felt like a poetry
It’s rhythm evident towards the end
Miraculous intensities as if waves undulatory

Looking back 2017 feels like chunks of prose
Blocks of emotions riotous, faced to fend
Unbeknownst intensities dealt to come to close

Now I see tremendous success in simply Being
The freedom and liberation is sweet
Without the need to justify with achieving

A lot of life is hidden in the slow living
Follow into the next choice after deep listening

All the voices in my head that created turmoil
Most many of them were not mine

When I decided to do nothing
Exact things happened that meant something

Universe is becoming my family
Soul interactions touching me deeply

And there’s us souls committed to each other
Deemed as Family for this lifetime
We hold hands together in joy and trust
To make it through with our individual soul calling

Each of you dear one who reads
I wish you too a curious & glorious 2018 (now 2019)
May you find a ground steady as you tread
The waves of life with each twist and turn

May we all embrace the beauty with mirth
Of this finite vacation on planet Earth

Following post, first posted on December 31, 2016. Title is linked to the full poem.

Times that become the year

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My family at the Sand Dunes of Death Valley, CA – December 2017

 

I will be on a break from this blogging space for a month from now. If I don’t respond to any of your comments this is why. When I return I will resume my visits to your wonderful works that I am going to be missing 🙂 My heartfelt Gratitude & Love to all of you and this precious virtual space where we often have our most treasured conversations. 

 

 

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Choice

Choice

Photo by Manish Doshi – On the sand dunes at Death Valley, California

A note to my blogger friends & readers:

This could be the last quote image of 2018 from me. I have had so much fun creating these. Check out all my quotes at the Inspiration Gallery that I am so grateful for coming to Be. It is the gift of 2018 to me and my gift to all of you who enjoy it.

Pairing the words that came to me with pictures was like a meditative treasure hunt always. Pictures came from our family vacations and often browsing through sites of my photographer friends Atanu Chakraborty & Vikram Phale, who generously allowed me to use them. None of the collaboration of words and pictures were ever planned. Pictures were taken without agenda and words were gifts of the soul of the Universe. Rare few times the pictures prompted the quotes and other times the words took me on the trail to the right picture.

The first quote image I ever made took me about 8 hours to get the final version right, playing with all the tools, fonts and placements available. I was like a kindergartner getting my alphabets right on the blackboard. So much patience shown with me from my friend Vikram Phale with his coaching to visualize the aesthetic aspects of the images, his honest feedback always, and help in the technical aspects of editing from my husband Manish Doshi. Today’s quote above found a picture and got designed in under an hour with no help 🙂 and I love the feeling of that.

I started this blog with a lot of poetry and occasional articles. I dreamed of making quotes but didn’t think/trust I would be doing them. A blogger friend Josiah Harry of Skylarity gifted me some quote images that he made from my poetry lines that he so preciously picked. Oh the joy and gratitude with which I received his gift of these quote images! (Images created by him are included in the Inspiration Gallery)That gave me the boost of a beginning to create my own, though it took me about an year after.

My quote images seem to have replaced the process of my poetry. Poetry has become a occasional kind visitor to me in my work, some articles, some thoughts, some quotes, some long pauses, that’s how I am flowing in this blog space.

 

PS : This quote image is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects. Choices come with ease when we work with forgiving and acceptance.

Downsides of Gratitude?

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Photo: Myself “Fallen Leaves”

Gratitude & Joy are on my mind a lot lately.

My understanding of gratitude and joy, how it has evolved and grown for me, is on my mind a lot lately.

The quality of Gratitude and its power became known to me during the seemingly toughest times of life when I found myself naturally leaning into all that was available for me to depend on – people, basic necessities, nature – every single thing that I was receiving anything from, to help me keep going. Genuine Gratitude swelled from my heart for every perceived blessing, every kind word, every new day, each genuine smile, each laughter that became possible.

Joy was the gift and the jewel that came as the core fragrance of Gratitude. It felt the most amazing to wear on me – something radiated brightly with just Being in this state of Gratitude and Joy.

Then came the awareness that my Gratitude for roles people played in my life was taken for granted and seen as my neediness alone. I wrote a short poem to give this an expression.

On further self exploration, I recognized that deep down I have always felt unworthy and undeserving, having to earn any regard, support from any one else. There was a feeling of indebtedness. I felt obligated to become everything I can for their comfort and be available to pacify any of their struggle. Result was a lack of boundaries, lack of self-compassion and honoring my own needs in favor of what was required of those others who had made any contribution to my life. I had a tendency to disregard any unfairness towards me, constantly justifying it as their humanness.

Eventually I was able to separate my heartfelt gratitude from the feeling of having to give up my true sense of being in return for approval and appreciation. I felt empowered, free and actually very unselfish. I am now available in my best possible ability to be of good service to anyone, when I am truly being myself. No amount of taking on other people’s suffering is going to lessen their’s.

That lead to the awareness of the guilt that permeated the joy available for me. Guilt about how much some other people had not still caught up on the true simple pleasures of life and how they needed to be supported in that. With time I realized, I can honor each person’s journey, feel the tenderness of their suffering but the Gratitude for what is available to each, is their’s to find.

Grief brings us in touch with the core of our being, empathy brings us in touch with the core of humanity.

Each one of us is responsible to use our emotions skillfully and compassionately towards self and others. No matter how many tantrums I threw about the sometimes seemingly treacherous life, I had to live out my own until I was able to choose the right perspectives that led to more Gratitude and Joy. There are so many people that I am grateful for, for showing up to help me keep steering powerfully in the right direction. I just needed to keep the strength to NOT let go of the wheel, and depend completely on others to carry me. The direction I am headed towards comes from within me.

Gratitude is a means and also the gift received through the means. Joy is something that flows through our veins and becomes a natural expression that shows up in relationships and life experiences. There remains no need to stage and create moments of happiness. Joyful moments keep occurring naturally. This happens with looking at some excruciating times of life in the eye – with the eye of Gratitude.

I am finally free to celebrate Gratitude without forever feeling indebted or undeserving of what life offers me through people and opportunities. I am still learning to express joy without the guilt because of how much suffering humans hold within. I share my Joy when moved to do so, in an attempt to inspire more people to move in that direction, share in this pure juice of life and genuinely celebrate life with each other.

 

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects. Debbie Roth’s work on this blog is a wonderful inspiration.

Beauty in Resilience

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Photo Credit: Atanu Chakraborty “Ladakh Old Lady – Hard Labor for Living”

Note: This is a narration of a true personal experience of a profound mental shift, I went through. This was originally posted on Infinite Living on December 2, 2015.

I was standing at the busiest intersection of Mumbai, India, just arrived from US, couple of days ago. It was the end of June and rains were expected anytime, unannounced. I was there waiting for my friend to pick me up, to take me shopping for some rain shoes.

I was much immersed in the experience of being there, soaking in life moving at a fast pace around me. There was a sense of impatience in the atmosphere as there were too many vehicles on the road, to be able to move fast enough. Mixed in, was the sun, moist heat, dust, pollution and the blaring horns from drivers.

I was going to be waiting there for 15 mins, my friend called.

My eyes lingered and then my gaze dropped down on a sight, about a foot by my side. Just inches away from traffic, on the footpath/sidewalk, on a tattered mat, was a mother tending to her newborn …maybe a month or so old. She had the baby on her legs outstretched, no clothes on the baby.

My mind drifted very briefly to some memories of how I had lovingly purchased multiple things to keep my babies in perfect health and comfort. I was again drawn back to the sight in front of me. Words came to my mind-  hygiene, safety, nutrition, sickness – but I was again drawn into the scene.

The cars and people zapped by. But the only thing real for me was the mother taking care of that baby. Perhaps just like the only thing real for the mother was her baby and what she could do for the baby.

Flies were hovering over the baby. The baby was clean. The woman had a rag in her hand and a half filled bottle of water by her. She would sprinkle a few drops of water on the baby and then wipe it off with the rag, every few minutes. It was her way of keeping the baby cool and the flies away. The mother and the baby looked content, and for what it takes, doing ok with each other.

I was filled with love and inspiration for the duo. What endurance and strength they have been born with! What beauty in that the mother making the best use of all that was available to her, to be able to give her baby all that she could!

This experience opened me up to a different reality altogether. The reality of our human arrogance that equates a good life and happiness with wealth and all that it brings.

I remember only 3 years ago when I previously visited Mumbai, I had a very different perception. I used to feel sad and have tears in my eyes as I walked past poverty and people living in tiny made up houses with their kids roaming around naked. I felt happy and also guilty about having a beautiful house and a bountiful life. I assumed they were suffering from poverty. I assumed I was happy and was supposed to be happy because I had all these material comforts.

In the 3 years in between, I went through a profound journey of self-discovery, transformation and renewal. I could now see the world through the eyes of people who have felt like their body has betrayed them completely.

People who have to show up for themselves, each day with tremendous courage to survive, what feels like their own death, day after day.

The ones that go through pain so intense that they have to continually keep tapping into the pulse of life itself to find faith, surrender and the means to help them inch towards the ability to thrive.  

Having a house, the food, the comforts, all become part of gratitude. Body and mind become the primary dwelling and the immediate place of turmoil and suffering.

There is tremendous beauty in the strength and resilience that people show, in showing up each day of their life, to make the best of what they have available to them.

To me this day, there was no difference between this mother and anyone else doing just that. Having a house is not enough. What you choose while living in any kind of house or under the sun is what makes you what you are.

In that baby I saw a beautiful being born with a purpose. One purpose was to open my eyes to this beauty. In the mother I saw a face of pure nurture and love. I felt a renewed faith that we are all very well equipped for where we are placed.

In that mother and baby, and all other contrasts around me, I see no suffering, only beauty, grace and strength!

 

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgvingConnects. It is in the forgiving non-judgmental perspective of our circumstances is where we find our strength and happiness.

I am a yoga teacher …actually I am not.

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Photo Credit: Manish Doshi “Be present as you make your way”

Question: What do you do?
My answer: I am a yoga teacher.

Just that I don’t identify with that answer ever.

So what do I do?

My true answer:

I create space for people to rest their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and help them access their own clear voice that leads them to their truth and joyful living.

That is the answer that feels true to my heart. When I begin teaching a class my name, different tags of relations and society, our acquaintance if any, all that disappears. I lead you through an experience that is called yoga practice. I help you tune in with your breath, energy, body and sense of being. We take a dip in the pool of Infinite Living.

The practice helps you get clear in your mind, truly knowing and sensing what is going on within. Your time with me is a safe space to allow all that comes up in your body, mind, and emotion- no judgments. It is designed to help you be attentive and listen in.

I help you build skills to navigate through all that and listen to what your truth is and where your joy is. It is not an hour mind vacation after which you walk back into the same stress you live in. You know something about yourself or your life better than before as a result of your own attention. This happens in a group class too.

Do I continue in this relationship, or walk out? How do I find joy in my continuing relationship? Am I content with my current health status and how my doctor is addressing it? Do I quit my job, or continue? Do my food habits truly nourish me? Does parenting really have to be this difficult? How supported do I feel through these life changes and choices? What do I really want? I am worried, I have depression, anxiety, insomnia …

I facilitate these above experiences for you, as you find your own answers. We vibrate together with the joys and tears of transformation as you find your own relationship with yourself. My utmost contentment is when you need to see me less often, for our private sessions because you are now skilled at finding your clear voice and true choice. Your chronic pain has disappeared, digestion improved, or any other body issue addressed through therapeutic focus of yoga.

We are like lone kayakers in this Infinite ocean of the universe. If we are very present with the life currents, then we are skilled at the navigation. We have but this short and sweet vacation on this beautiful planet. We meet with each other, sometimes in happiness and sometimes in misery. Each one of us has our own path to carve through.

I have been blessed with teachers, with whom I continue to hone my skills. I have been blessed with students with whom I can share this powerful work, so I can pass it on just like I received it.

Teacher, student tags are just our convenience. What I do as work is create safe space for your pain, feelings, emotions – no judgment – so you feel positively empowered, inspired and supported through life and choices.

 

 

P.S. Dear wordpress friends, I apologize for my absence on your work, that are my joy to read. I will visit you soon.

Writing – a Journey of my Life

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Photo Credit : Manish Doshi

I have returned from my break absolutely inspired and pregnant with messages from the ocean and the sky. I am very eager to share them with you all, yet I am feeling uninspired to go through the process of making it into a post immediately. As if I want to steep in the experience a bit more and have the juices of the interaction with the ocean flow through my veins as if all mine. The message to become part of my Being. I can’t wait to get past this stage, pick it up from where I left off in my last post, before this deliciousness set in. I am giving myself permission to indulge in this space for a bit more.

I do want to have this following conversation with You.

How I became a writer is sort of an astonishing accident to me. I remember where I was and exactly the moment some words came to me and I was ‘forced’ to have those words typed. What came as completed looked like a poem to me. I was thrilled and absolutely scared at the same time. And more came and one more came. I was terrified. I sent them one by one to trusted friends, asked them if the words meant anything to them. I was so accustomed to living the surface level life (read turmoil) that this expression from the depth of my being felt alien to me.

It took me tremendous courage to begin sharing them publicly, as if baring my soul naked to be judged or accepted. I needed the kind approval from a trusted friend and sometimes my husband to hold my hand while I hit publish with the other. My heart raced a thousand miles an hour before the first like, the first kind comment came in, as a seal of approval for my eligibility to continue being whatever I was in this world of existence.

After each poem I often thought surely it was the last one, and looking around I always wondered where is this coming from? I just became insanely uncomfortable at times as if choking on words or tears and then it just became necessary to type all that needed to come. Often I typed words I did not know, looked up its meaning to find out it meant exactly what I needed it to mean and rhyme in the poem. Sometimes I made up words not in the dictionary, and they conveyed the right meaning. As some generous reflections and appreciation came as responses, I was utterly grateful as I was sure every time it was my last poem. The authentic exchange of perspectives and heartfelt interactions helped me thrive, grow, flourish and nourish my being.  In less than 6 months on WordPress I was amazed beyond measure at how a genuine word, true expression and pure intent becomes evident through words alone.

It got unstoppable. The poems, the prose, all came as these intense surges just wanting a place to land. I made a commitment to keep reading other writers because of what gift it was when they read me. Each one putting their attention and time on my work had my deepest gratitude that I earnestly conveyed through truthful response to their comments. I was able to post way less than I was writing personally. Drafts and drafts of different inspirations and topics that begged to be expressed have piled up to be published in some form or the other.

For almost 3 years now I have published 2 or 3 times a week, except about 3 breaks of a week to 3 weeks. Every single day reading other writers on different platforms and interacting through comments. The numeric growth of my blog followers and readers has been very slow compared to some others but my personal growth has been enormously satisfactory.

Until some months ago, I did not have mind space for adding pictures to my posts.  Slowly it started dawning on me that there were pictures taken by my photographer friends and those by my husband that spoke the words I wrote. None are ever clicked with a plan to go with my post. It is meditative and miraculous to me in how perfectly they choose to come together.

The emotional intensity from which my poems came have found a balance, my personality has changed quite a bit. I opened up to new strengths in my being. I have owned myself as a writer by now. I am going through a huge personal shift. I still have countless drafts and some unpublished poems and ideas for creating quote images. I feel immersed in this space of inspiration where I am soaking in some new energies and do not seem to have the mind space, energy and time to publish all that I know is waiting to be published. If you recognize this and have any advice for me, I am all ears. And if my sharing has helped you in any way then it is my privilege to be a channel that serves a purpose.

None of this was possible for me without You my friend. You know what you have done for me by being here for me and reading my words and responding. My utmost gratitude for that and our continued interactions and conversations.

 

Related posts :
Just how did the writer in me get born? – I realized that this poem had come through me exactly an year ago and today I have felt this strong urge to post on similar topic.
Top writer in Inspiration – prose

Who’s breath am I breathing?

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Photo: Manish Doshi ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’

Who’s breath am I breathing?
Who’s story am I weaving?
Who’s memory am I churning?
Who’s thoughts am I carrying?

With each breath I take

Who’s life am I living?
Who’s pain am I feeling?
Who’s right to breathe freely have I made my story?
Who is it that I am not left with my own pure breath for myself?

We talk about letting go. And for that process we invite all our stories and all of others’ woes to look at, to be able to let go. And then we look at them and we defend them and justify them and find ourselves lost in them. And the only thing we let go of is our deep, pure breath. Nothing else.

I have found that I imbibe, absorb, feel, sense every thought, feeling, energy around me. I pick up on it very sensitively. At times making my inner life a chaotic tangle of feelings. I have made a personal career out of my life to continually keep cleaning out my energetic closet that sometimes catches the cobwebs of negativity, lies, untruthfulness, facades, envy, jealousy in thought and action directed or not towards me. Most times I am not even aware of any of this actually going on. I just feel horrible inside and I know I am not breathing my pure breath but breathing a heavy air of all that is toxic to me. My breath catches it like a virus. I just feel it.

I have found myself very strong, resilient, having magical perspectives that lift me above any drama and trauma, in the face of the worst. I am unshaken in faith when it comes to threats to the well being of those closest to me and those who choose to work with me. I am undaunted in my intention of creation of a life of possibility and true joy for all of us. I will not give up on my version of a world where we absolutely trust the spoken word, show up as our real self and have compassion for each other.

Yet I end up using tremendous energy to keep my head above the waters of feelings and emotions of those around me physically, virtually and spiritually. I am an empath who feels the hurt behind your need to lie to me, your need to be untruthful to me, to act what you don’t mean with me. Yes I actually feel it and live it until I process it to rise above it.

I know I have done this when I am able to breathe purely, deeply, fluidly, smoothly, softly, leisurely, luxuriously – just pure breath of air that does not carry any charge, thought, feeling, emotion, story attached to it.  I am glad it is becoming increasingly easier, and the beauty of life is pouring in for me.

Do you know what a gift this kind of breath is? Have you given yourself a breath solely for yourself lately? Have you lived a moment purely as yourself lately?

I have dedicated my life to just that – taking as many deeply pure breaths and teaching you to do the same. It is a learning process to be able to let go of the stories. Even the real ones have to be let go, so they actually change.

Let’s breathe space into our stories instead of our stories clinging to our breath.

 

Yoga – My Work & Life

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgivingConnect, an amazing blog by Debbie Roth.