About Being Myself

Photo of Moon by myself

Growing up around a lot of extended family and friends who were more affluent than my family was, I never really had envy. It was a matter of fact for me that you have some things that I don’t. I remember once a cousin who owned all the latest CDs, excitedly sharing with me about it, apologized to me “oh I didn’t know, I am so sorry you don’t have a CD player.” As if I lacked a family member, I thought. I just responded “Why sorry, I just don’t have a CD player.” I think I simply enjoyed the feeling of abundance they enjoyed and was very much interested in their life. I can have all that some day I imagined and yet never really prioritized having ‘things’ in my life.

What I craved was people, authentic people. I looked for genuine care and unconditional love, and struggled to fit in, wherever I went. I didn’t know that though. So I envied the confidence in people. Often being affluent made people more confident in the world – like they owned the world in some ways I didn’t. I mistook it as something being wrong with me. It didn’t cross my mind that money made the difference. They kept showing the riches to me, I kept looking at it and saying to myself “yes but I want to become like you, be more confident in being myself”

I was amused to realize that my life long quest of living as authentically as possible, has this root in my envy for confident people and those with artistic abilities. That is how I discovered that what I think of envy is actually my admiration for people who can express themselves in ways I can only dream of.

My honesty and vulnerability in my quest for authenticity was repeatedly taken for my weakness, and that became a further blow to my confidence. I am emerging from that too. I have nothing to prove to anyone as much as I owe to myself, the gift of being myself. This is one journey that I have mastered very well and yet always be a beginner forever on the way. I have discovered that I can be way more courageous than just confident.

I love and admire people who have what I don’t have in me yet.
I keep learning to love myself more and more with all my perceived shortcomings.
It gives me a renewed taste of newfound freedom continually.

I wished to highlight these lines above from my previous post as a reminder to myself for everywhere I am not living this in every fiber of my being. I am committed to waking up with more love and freedom in being myself for the rest of my life. I also know that I will have days when I falter and slide away from this commitment, and wake up in judgment and fear instead. I feel immense gratitude for being in association with those who model greater faith, trust, capacity, resilience and joy of living and being alive. They fill my day and life with abundance and blessings. I get to borrow from them what I might wake up lacking for the day. I consciously practice filling my cup and then rejoice in gratitude when I can be a channel of support to others.

A Similar Post : Envy & Inspiration

More on the topic
5 lines about Envy : Envy & What can Be
Thought image: Eyes Look Longingly
Short poems:
Here, Take them All
Parallel Disappointment
Show up with your gifts

Where We Stand

Photo by myself

Flowers strewn all over my walking path feel like a definite sign and reminder of blessings on my way. They make me pause and smile – at myself, and at their short miraculous existence that brings beauty and joy on our way. That is if we happen to encounter them in different ways – either as buds, blooms or dried and fallen around undramatically returning to ground.
And we get to walk on that ground.

We get to walk on this Earth.
Sometimes with flowers strewn on our way…
And sometimes there are pebbles…

As a child growing up in a tiny home in Mumbai, I used to run out to play with my friends without any shoes or slippers. Coarse sand and tiny pebbles poked my feet but I only remember a befriended feeling of it. Staying out as much as possible was happiness and the feet stepped on and around the pebbles effortlessly.

My family later upgraded to an upstairs apartment in another town and from there into adulthood, stepping out only with shoes on became the norm. It took some decades until now to get back to appreciate going barefoot, welcoming the experience of Earth through the sands, the grass, the water. I am beginning to also venture on to some pebbled areas to test how my comfort conditioned feet now play with the tingles and the tickles.

Wherever I Stand, I Stand on the same Earth”
Use this to stand a bit taller
Use this to soften within…

These lines posted on Jan 26, 2017 came to my mind today. They had come from my awareness of so many levels of separation we feel with others – the feelings of smallness or superiority based on innumerable definitions we have created as our markers, including where we live, what we eat, how we spend our day – literally shaping how we live our life. There was a yearning to share the feeling of Oneness and yet not much ability for how to live it. So I had reminded myself that we share the same Earth – it felt as simple and as radical.

Today, we are collectively experiencing our existence on Earth as never imagined before. The world is vaccinated and opening up where I live. Yet family and friends in India are suffering deep losses and hardship every day. I feel trust in our Oneness and in our Earth to guide us to be of support to each other.

How do you relate to these 3 lines that came back to me today? I would be honored to know what came up for you when you read them. I discovered a lot more layers in those lines today from the time that I first wrote them.

Did I hurt my ‘image’ by sharing about my pain?

My Meditative Moments – Photo by Manish Doshi

I shared about my recent knee pain here and how I used it as an opportunity for deeper healing. Since then I have had quite a few conversations with curious and also concerned friends. I was encouraged by one of them to write this part 2 for my post “Liquid Gold” Following are some of the questions/comments I received along with my responses.

Why do you share about your pain publicly? Doesn’t it hurt your image as a healthy yoga teacher, and affect your business?

I do not have a brand to create in this moment, if at all, I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity. I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. I am a good coach to help someone identify what it is in their way & reach their goals with clarity, if we are a good match to each other.

I am as curious as you are, if my approach creates a well paying business for myself. I am open to discovering it. I forever keep pushing the edges of my skills, courage and vulnerability, and will keep showing up with all that I have in the moment. The results come abundantly in ways we are open to receiving, and that can look different for each one of us. I refuse to create an image of that which I am not in my being and becoming.

You practice yoga every day and also teach people, then how come you have such knee pain suddenly?

I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. It gives me the ability to become present to the pain and find a positive skillful way of being through it, and maybe out of it. It gives me the capacity to discern clearly, where is the pain coming from – is it purely physical, or is it also from some stagnant emotions? Is it being inflicted and accumulated from some mental belief that has us make certain choices repeatedly? Often pain has deeper roots than we can imagine.

I am skilled at facilitating this process for others, designing practices that help them become aware of their own body, mind, emotion patterns, and replace them with more aligned, balanced patterns.

I am a bit worried about you, Pragalbha. Are you taking health risks by treating yourself with yoga & spiritual stuff? Do these affirmations and all work for you because you are really specially spiritual or are you really doing something scientific?

This is in no way to replace expert medical advise (which I did take). I simply believe I have absolutely contributed to whatever pain emerges in my body, and so I need to be of equal or more contribution to my recovery from pain. Sometimes there are perspectives and choices that are needed in addition and for any medicine to take sustained effect.

While my doctor focused on the inflammation aspect of my pain, I focused on lengthening my spine with postural yoga to relieve strain on my knee joint, using my breath to keep my mind calm & clear, and other ways to clear out emotions like fear, inflexibility, anger, resentment that tend to create stiffness and pain in joints. In my case, my knee needed help to allow me to move forward literally and in life. I still have some lingering moments of pain coming back, reminding me that I am falling back into my old patterns. Pain is a very intelligent medium that helps us by its presence, until we heal wholly, deeply and fully. I am in touch with my expert medical practitioner for advice as needed.

Yoga is a science and practice of Being. It helps us get skilled at Being through circumstances without added stresses like fear or worry for example. It helps us get through difficult situations with much more ease, without anything become a major impediment. We are able to function in ways that otherwise might not have become possible. I have seen countless examples of this in students that I work with, be it physical pain or other stresses of life. And of course, I hope to keep sharing my personal journey with honesty.

P.S. If you liked this article, you might like the poem Questions Answered that I wrote back in 2017.

The most memorable thing anyone said to me

Myself in the Tall Woods – Photo by Manish Doshi

During one of the weekend trainings that I was taking about 5 years ago, another girl who was about my height or an inch taller, came up to me and said

“At your height, you really teach us how to stand really really tall!”

I had a good laugh with her and responded “This (height) is all I ever got, so I just stand that’s all”

She then shared with me how my passionate contributions to discussions had helped her gain confidence in her ability to speak up for herself, ask questions in front of the group.

I don’t remember being bothered, but I have been reminded all my life of being short. Nobody did the reminder as amazingly for me as this kind classmate did!

I thought this was the most memorable thing that anyone said to me. Then few months ago, I was in a phone conversation with a long time friend, sharing our latest life experiences with each other lovingly. She suddenly said “You know Pragalbha –

You live as if someone getting a PhD on the subject of life itself… not just studying but actually living it”

I was speechless, also because I only have an idea of the amount of meticulous research and dedication required of those who pursue the PhD degree. I do not have the experience of it. My educated friend went on to remind me “Oh you are no different, always remember that. You have a similar passion and dedication towards life itself, and to my eyes you live exactly like any other PhD aspirant.”

I remember being bothered by my lack of higher education and degrees behind my name during my younger years. It used to cut into my sense of self worth. A lot of life happened before I grew out of that and found my purpose in life. I feel content and blessed for how I was guided all along to reach where I am. I was absolutely humbled with what my kind friend had to say about my approach to life.

Now I have 2 most memorable things anyone said to me that make me smile when I remember them :)))

I would love to know – What are the most memorable compliments given to you? What do you think of those I shared?

Big & Small of how I am

Waterfall

Photo Credit: Manish Doshi

Is this Waterfall Big or Small?

I used to remain small to keep others comfortable
That’s how we were used to being, relative to each other

Now

I feel nobody big
I feel nobody small either

There is a big difference…

 

*Kindly excuse me as I will be a bit delayed in getting back to your kind comments, in a day or two surely.

P.S. This is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects that promotes healing through forgiving of our judgments and limitations.

 

Of Truthfulness

Sail Sunset

Photo Credit: Manish Doshi

It is courageous vulnerability
Not a weakness
It is soul confidence
Not an arrogance
It is pure truthfulness
Not a lack of humility
It is heartfelt gratitude
Not a sign of neediness

It is actually an humble attempt
To persist in this made up world
With absolute will and trust
To insist on a world made of Love

Agnized their’s is a lonesome way
Greatest battles fought only within
Rain flowing from the eyes of turmoil
Emotional storms cleansing the heart soil

This is true of the ones who have tasted
The brutality of the life of humanness
The ambrosial essence of existence itself
Their tenacity time & again tested

A strength seemingly divine revealed
Ceded to the oceanic universal current
Soul-calling of intention keeps the ship asail
In the guided direction that Source avails

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

Envy & Inspiration

Reach out - Pristine Radhanagar Beach - Havelock - 1F8A1101

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

Don’t Blow Up your Life

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Photo Credit: Manish Doshi “New Day begins on Kauai”

In the recent days I have had probably one less than someteen conversations regarding relationships while being true to yourself.

There comes a time in the path of personal transformation when you question every single one of your choices that you seemed to comfortably live with until now.

My simple message is don’t blow up your life and relations entirely in your minds. Stay steadfast in making choices that work for you. Take responsibility for those choices. Give others involved, space to catch up with your new choices. Do it with love for yourself and gratitude for anything that relation has given you until now. This is Yoga of Relationships. With yourself and others. It is a skill developed to continually attain a state of balance, in our day to day life and interactions.

“Don’t Blow Up your Life!” – Chase Bossart, Yoga Therapist

This is important for long time committed relations. Your new found realizations of right or wrong about the relation are yours to resolve. Unless you are choosing to walk out of the relation, your reasons to stay are part of your gratitude and not your limitation in life. If you are receiving something, anything from the relation, then be willing to contribute to the relation. The contribution would be, you going for the change you seek while allowing space for others to be themselves. Keep asking for the truth in your relationship while you keep going for your own truth. Give up the blame, shame, game and the fight.

Go for your own joy while giving others the space to be shaken a bit, or a lot. Hold them in the space of Love. When possible hold them a bit tighter in love. You can do this in your mind, if you don’t actually hug.

This becomes easy only when you are being courageous to choose your own joy and wellness. You don’t need to turn it into a you versus me battle. Carve out small ways of being yourself. Shop for yourself, open your hair, put on make up, cut back on make up, take powerful life decisions to bring change, do what it takes – small and big. Show up beaming with joy, or choose contentment, just for making a different choice.

Begin to imagine how you would like things to be. Then inch by inch, even millimeter by millimeter, start making different choices. If you are confident of making a mile of a change, go ahead do it!

Have kindness for all involved, including yourself. Do things differently than habitual, be bold, convey your truth. Give it time. Keep steady in choosing what makes you happy. Hatred in your heart will not make you happy. Forgive in the name of human limitation. It is a choice for your own peace. Break your own limitation on this. Love is not dramatic or romantic sometimes. It is way bigger. It is something that helps accepting what Is, wholly, and then changing it!

 

Yoga – My Work & Life

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects, a wonderful blog by dear Debbie Roth.

There is a Difference

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LiveLifeGrand&Deep

There is a difference.
In living to make it look like
To be seen a certain way
To be remembered a certain way
To be talked about a certain way

And

Actually living the life exactly
As what would be seen and talked about
Only because that is the only way
That is skilled and known to live.
There is a difference.

The difference is
Vexed exhaustion
And
Calm conviction.

The difference is
Unknown inner suffering
And
Chosen wise suffering

The difference is
Mind maddening rush & fall
And
Heart exalting ebb & flow