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.

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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.

Envy & Inspiration

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Photograph: Atanu Chakraborty “Reach out Into what Calls You”

I have been aware of the energy of envy since a very young age. In today’s times of social media, it has become all the more palpable. I think envy is simply the face of I-WANT-THAT. And I see nothing inherently wrong in it. I actually love to meet people that I start to feel a tinge of envy about. I like to actually share with them that I envy them for some particular aspect. By the time I know enough about them, I always find some genuine inspiration and there is no place for the green.

As a little girl, it was confusing for me to have the sense of self-worth mixed with the proportion of affluence. At some level, things seemed pretty simple to me …you have some things, and I don’t! But as the feeling of lack started creeping in, I slowly learnt to imbibe the energy of people around me who took pleasure in owning things, which I thought I would love to have too!

I learned to desire and trust that I will have all that I want and need.

Envy can hit us on all aspects of life like affluence, education, career, beauty, confidence. There is far more freedom in truly enjoying someone else’s happiness. If we look closely, each person’s asset could be their only true support system through this lifetime. People who seem to have it all very easily, are the ones who might have done the toughest groundwork to build their castle on. It can become very clear to us that we definitely do not want to be in anyone’s shoes. It can get really overwhelming to have to live all of the lives that we choose to envy. I now simply love the energy of the person who is truly enjoying something, be it money, faith, art, or love itself.

We open ourselves up for possibilities when we first enjoy the energies! We don’t have to have it all or live it all right now! And the freedom is even more when we realize that we truly didn’t need something we thought we did.

Someone said to me, “I envy a content smile, and wonder if it’s real or fake …” I say substitute the word envy with desire, I have now discovered that the content smile is the most important to want. There comes a time when all of us get tired of putting on smiles or wearing happiness on our faces. It is amazing when we can turn envy into inspiration! Simply go I want that content smile on me! Then look for what stops you from having it.

Envy just doesn’t feel good in the body, none of us enjoy not feeling good. Inspiration on the other hand feels amazing like the pulse of life itself. Don’t let anything touch you more than it serves you. You just need the energy of the person who has that smile, not that person’s life situation. You have your own life and magic to create for yourself. Trust your intention of love and service, and let go of all that won’t let you smile. Open yourself to new experiences, even if in the smallest possible way. Create space for that smile for yourself.

Regarding social media, some of us are not sharing the journey that brought us this kind of satisfaction, simply because bringing up that journey does not serve us more than sharing this smile. So use every smile to discover what’s really true for you. Smile …and always from the heart, look for it deeper when it doesn’t come from there. Every other aspect of life tends to follow a good genuine smile 🙂 Turn the green of envy into the red hot of desire to create for yourself …anything you want, really!!!


Originally published on December 2015

Recent short posts of few lines on envy: Envy & What can Be      Here, Take them All

Choosing Teachers/Mentors – My Story

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“Grow & Bloom in places that seem unlikely”

As I have explained here, I did not trust my own company for the longest time. Now I enjoy my own company yet I know the significance of having the presence of a guide, mentor, teacher in my life.

A true mentor/teacher holds a clear mirror to your being, reflects your strengths and your weaknesses, without any personal agenda attached.

I say this because I have gone through a good number of teachers and mentors, long term and brief, in my quest (thirst, greed) for more knowledge, more perspectives. I found only very few who walk their talk, live their lessons and lead with compassionate authority.

There are teachers who try to lure by dangling a carrot of some conjured bliss. I could smell these carrots from afar. I have also met those with whom the work began well, I grew rapidly and then they fanned my weaknesses to keep the work going. It ended from my side, not without distress for both parties. I seek greedily, but not needily.

My humanness always saw the other greater than I am. It took me a while to become a person who seeked with clear intention. There is tremendous trust and vulnerability involved in these relations.

When they saw the potential in me, kept it a secret and worse tried to manipulate it to their advantage, it made me confused, sad and furious within, to not know what is really happening in our teacher-student relationship. When they infused fear in me to satiate their egotistic authority of their role in my life, it made me grieve and mourn the end of our relationship.

If I was feeling fearful or furious, it was time to be on my own. The right teachers always showed up next when I was ready.

I have the gratitude and blessings of this lifetime to have some truly amazing mentors/teachers in the present and past. They are true mentors because they know about each other and their significant role in my life. They are aware when I am working with more than one of them parallel, for different reasons. They are not threatened by the other nor is their ego bruised by my choices. I am able to be crystal honest with them. They don’t judge me for what I am yet don’t entertain my dependence on them. They hold safe space for my humanness and facilitate me to see my way clearly.

A true mentor strives to outgrow the relationship with the mentee and empowers you to thrive on your own.

I have never stopped being in touch with this kind. One of my past teacher of Yoga philosophy insists I should never stop working with my current teacher of Yoga philosophy. She even asked me to teach her the new perspectives I am gaining. This to me is the height of humility of a teacher for whom I had very high regard any way.

All the teachers that I crossed path with, helped me become who I am today. They modeled the right and wrong. I love having students who share with me what other sources are being helpful for them. I will never be done growing myself. I teach, facilitate, mentor with joy and freedom. I offer the same to others. We are in this together. I am walking my talk, if you see me ahead of you, just call out to me and I will reach out to you.

Don’t trust yourself too much!

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“Crowded Mind” Photo Credit: Manish Doshi – Indian Banyan at Hindu Monastery, Kauai

As precious little humans we are often perpetually running in our minds, with the relentless churning of thoughts. We go through the day, and our lives, one escape after another, and back to the inner running mill of thinking, and more thinking.

“What? Meditation? Do you know how excruciating it gets when I try to sit still with myself? I just want to sleep and not wake up …not to these thoughts …not when I seem to have a knowing that they are not working for me, my thoughts won’t just leave me alone, so I can Think of doing something with my life. There is this stuck tape on repeat … over and over, 10, 000 times! My thoughts are sometimes killing me.”

I confess that the one above was me, seems like a lifetime years ago, and it felt lousy to be that one. If you are that lucky one who doesn’t know what I am talking about, you truly have a gifted life.

I never really trusted myself. Trust was never a part of the foundational paradigm of my living. The gift of that is, it made me into a greedy seeker. Always yearning for a teacher and teachings to guide me. I also lived with a fear of going wrong in some way in life. So I always chose to have a personal check on myself, by having a teacher or mentor, one way or another.

I became aware when enough was enough to stay with my own thoughts alone. I used a lot of Thought Replacement Therapy. That is my fancy way of saying I listened to or read from authors/teachers tremendously.  Reading from masters like Wayne Dyer, Louis Hay and studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, personally with teachers gave me a good influence on my thought direction.

I was still aware of times when my own company was useless for me, while doing mundane chores. Talking to other humans had its own limitations. So I listened to audios to replace my thoughts, particularly the dim ones. ‎

2 major influences on me are Dr. Dain Heer of Access Consciousness and Abraham Hicks.

Dain Heer gave me the childlike lightness in my living. While reading his book ‘Being You Changing the World’ my heart danced with delight, like a kindergartner. The book exactly described how my child-mind worked, before I began, fearfully trying to fit in, in society. We make too many things way more serious in life than required. His audios are a profound and phenomenal work. It basically replaced my thoughts with what would have been my original thoughts. In a language, as refreshing as it can feel to the heart and soul. Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer, founders of Access Consciousness, you helped change my life back to my true self!

When I stumbled upon the recordings of Abraham Hicks accidentally, I felt like she knew exactly how I feel and how I wonder and imagine in my innocent phases, about how this Universe functions. She spoke the Truths from the depths of my being and helped me see why I suffered. She described the exact ways that I had implemented intuitively to fulfill any of my desires and the exact ways I perceive life. What an affirmation! I may easily have 1000s of hours of Abraham in me …OK, that is an exaggeration, but I mean it.

My Yoga teachers/mentors, a longish list from India and US, the audio teachers and authors are an integral part of my Being. I am in deepest gratitude for each of these teachers that appeared for me at exact times that I was ready for them.

When you awaken to your own thoughts and their influence, you find access to the space beyond thought, from where true beauty & joy of living emerges!

Don’t trust yourself too much, if your own company is not being helpful to you. Seek out a book, audio, mentor, teacher for a good Thought Replacement Therapy. I found my trust in myself through them.

I am deeply grateful to those in turn who have used my writings and/or sessions with me to replace their thoughts, successfully creating change in life. I take immense joy in facilitating the journey of awakening, that I have chosen for myself too.

 

Yoga – My Work & Life