Tuesday, February 6, 2018

10 Days of Self-care

On my way home after having spent 10 days at RK nature cure centre. This has been the first of its kind for me and also hugely inspired by my dear friend Bhanu who has such commitment to her health.

While the first three days, I kept thinking of my decision as a huge step towards self care and self love, over the 10 days, I feel like I have developed a new relationship with my body. The first three days were really tough given the tea deprivation headaches I got, as were the last two days when I just craved for my normal routine back home. Despite these tough times, I feel this was one of those rare times when my body led the day and not my mind.

The most significant insight for me at the end of this period has been: To eat food based on what my stomach needs and not allowing my head or even my heart to take that call - The generous portions of fruits, steamed veggies, juices - none that the head or the heart would have chosen - left my body feeling healthy and energetic. It helped me get a sense of the amount of food my body needs to work well through the day. It was also interesting to experience the body go through specific breaks between different meals. To actually create a gap of  14 hours between dinner and breakfast was surprisingly easy ( when done the right way). It was after the longest time that I was having every single meal at the table, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend, and not in front of the screen.
This helped me get a more real sense of how my body was experiencing the food.

The other interesting learning was slowing down in exercise. And in each stretch, each aasan to pay attention to the breath. The slowing down while it got me more aware of how much addicted I am to multitasking or act with a sense of urgency, it also helped me notice my body in a different way. There were things I noticed that I didn't like - the flab, the loss of flexibility, and yet despite that to pamper the body with the daily massage, was an act of deep acceptance.

I am leaving the place with a new relationship with my body and with  food. I am also inspired to live life with a focus on wellness. Hoping to sustain this once I am back in the much missed home and routine! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

That's why it's Magic!

The blessings of having a book worm, nay, a book dragon for a daughter is the amazing range of literature she has been introducing to me - specially so in the last two years. Thanks to her incessant demand that her mum should read more fiction and the fabulous library her school houses, I've discovered authors, plots, narrative styles and just sheer magic in so many places. 

Last year, there were a spate of books that made me cry my heart out. Think the kiddo saw I needed something that would lift my spirits up and come this new year, she left on my bed this book by Kate DiCamillo 

A simple tale, with the power of hope, belief and compassion, The Magician's Elephant reminded me about the simple, yet deeply imaginative worlds that children (and the child part of grown-ups) live in. As much as I resonated with the magician's desire to do something extraordinary, so did I with the elephant's longing for home and finding connection under the most unlikely circumstances.

Some of the lines that lingered after I had finished the book:

"Leo Matienne had the soul of a poet, and because of this, he liked very much to consider questions that had no answers.”

"It is important that you say what you mean to say. Time is too short. You must speak the words that matter."

“We must ask ourselves these questions as often as we dare. How will the world change if we do not question it?"

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 - here I come!

I LOVE NEW YEARS DAY! and the ones heralding an even numbered one is specially my favourite.

I know I've had friends and colleagues saying - "big deal, its just a date". While earlier it was enough to trigger a rant from me, right now I am able to just aspect that attitude being another option as much as my own YAY-a-new-year-is beginning-here-I-come!!

Of course I make resolutions, of course they start to fade away, and yet each new year's day, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope and possibilities. And irrespective of what friends say, this sense of hope, of getting another fresh shot at life is a feeling i zealously guard coz optimism otherwise doesn't come this easy to me!

For the last two years, instead of setting resolutions, I have been setting intentions for myself. A three word piece that helps me anchor my focus for the rest of the year.

for 2018 my intention is:
- Creative
- Mindfulness
- Health.

Lets see how the rest of the year unfolds.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Music Flashback

Driving back late evening after an invigorating dance class, wanting to listen to the radio to relax. The FM channel declares "Flashback Hour". I smile - a B&W visual of Madhubala and Kishore Kumar on a boat as I ready myself to listen to "haal kaisa hai janab ka".....

Instead what pops up on radio is a song from Dil toh pagal hai (the title track) followed by a passionate rendering of Aye ajnabi tu bhi kabhi avaaz de kahi se (Dil Se). When did these become flashback?!!! I mean these are movies I've watched in theaters with friends back in college. These are from the motley of songs I would hum all day thinking of my crushes.....

As the third song pops up - Anna mere pyar ko na tum (Kabhi haa Kabhi na), I'm like - oh so flashback hour is a Shahrukh special.....when did Shahrukh become so old. WAIT A MINUTE - when did i grow so old 😲 . And if the 1990s are the flashback - whatever happens to all those Bhoole Bisre Geet numbers are grew up listening to.....

There was only one way to deal with this existential crisis - turn the radio off and on the top of my voice sing this for the rest of the ride home!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The grass on either side.........

Was facilitating a workshop on Narrative leadership the other day. When it came to me sharing my own experiences as examples of my own leadership, all stories seemed to be from the time that I was at Magic Puddles. Professionally while there was a lot of joy in being in the role of co-founder, it was extremely challenging. Working with really young kids, being responsible for their safety, building a team, supporting them through their high and lows while I grappled with my own - all a recipe for huge personal turmoils. However, given the level of challenges, it was an immersive experience. I could never really switch off from that - no matter what time of the day or even if we were on a so-called summer break. The immersion helped me hone my leadership by challenging me in very new and different ways on several occasions. Also regular monthly income was something that really helped!

In comparison, the last three years of being solo, of collaborating with peers and not really building an organization or team, has been a lot more easy personally. As a professional, there has been a call to stop playing small, with no one to hide behind. I  experience a lot of freedom - specially to what i can say yes or no to. And yes, its a lot easier to walk away from something I don't enjoy, its equally tough to walk into something I really wish for myself. There is a lot less control over how projects go with multiple stakeholders coming into the picture. I have more scope to experiment, idea to something tangible is a shorter journey. But with each idea wanting to be birthed, often I find myself really alone in taking it through as I grappled with unpredictable work load and income.

Will I continue to play solo or move towards building an organization - at this point, I really don't know. All I know is, having been on either sides of the fence, there is no such thing as "greener grass"! Its just which landscape seems more inviting. And even as I enjoy being on one specific side for now, i do trust that if there is a need to be on the other, the universe will show up something!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

and that's how we get it moving!

Nia all of 12 is back from school. She has a ritual - 45 mins of reading with her evening snack to wind down - then get on with chores for the evening - her dance practice, bath, a little bit of homework and getting ready for the next day.

I try not to schedule meetings around the time she comes. I love hanging out with her - getting snippets about how her 2 days at school have been, how mine have been (and an occasional lecture about something she missed doing before she left for school).

Nia, of course, has no intention of engaging. She zealously guards her me-time (something I am hoping she'll remember to do all her life). So today, as i am continuing to play mamma - she fervently appeals to me, "Mamma please fix my snacks so that I can start my quiet time. I have grand plans for the evening - i need to do this and that and this and that," and in the same breath she adds, "And you right now are my weakest link!" 

Even as I burst out laughing at this absolute bang-on focus to get things moving for herself, this was enough to get me moving!

A sacred space

Working from home has its many benefits. Specially when I am blessed with a house and green community as beautiful as ours. The pain point does seem to be how blurred the boundaries become - between work and family, between my time and work time, between what to focus on vs everything else that seems unfinished around the house.

It took me a while to figure this out for myself - the shift i needed to make is to accept this reality and then create clearer boundaries (first in my head and then for the rest of the family). Step 1: creating a clear physical boundary - to have a room only for work. Sure it meant taking over the guest room - and then having to give away our room when friends and family came visiting. But it has been truly worth the trade off!

After the physical space was carved out, what helped me create an energetic boundary has been this special altar in one corner of the room. Each morning begins with attending to the altar, lighting the dhoop stick and taking in all the symbols and meanings of what I have placed there. The altar anchors me in my work world. In times of stress and confusion, it helps me anchor in myself. And it serves as a constant reminder to send out gratitude for the many blessings in life (including this very house!)