Wednesday, May 8, 2019

mother's day

With all the mush and the marketing around Mother's day, saw something a friend had forwarded that got me intensely aware of how much i miss mom.

And its strange how the anger, the guilt, the criticism I vehemently voiced around her parenting, all get washed away by one overwhelming need to just hear her voice one more time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Being in the Moment

Had a very interesting conversation today around what a vacation holds for us. A conversation very relevant because this week for the first time in my life i am going on a solo holiday to Goa. A permission i could give myself because the daughter is away on her own holiday with people i love and trust. And because i am exhausted and drained to my very bones.

As much as I am excited with the idea, of being in a quiet place, close to water, there are countless what ifs buzzing thru my head. What if this holiday does NOTHING to re-energize me? What if i am unable to take myself to the pool? What if i crash badly one of the days? What if I feel sick because yet again i have taken recourse to food to numb myself? What if the work waiting to be finished when I get back makes me deeply regret taking this much needed break?

And as I lay out these What ifs, the other person asks me gently - What if you drop all the agenda, the structure and stay in the moment? What if this holiday is nothing but an attempt towards discovery? What if all i did was stay in the now and see what emerges - how i feel, what i think and simply notice?

And though all she asked me were questions - they strangely seemed to answer my own What ifs!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Challenging perfection

A year ago, my scanty, wavy, frizzy hair became smooth and silky and straight, thanks to a salon treatment i opted for. It felt strange - a strangeness that was abetted by the compliments that came my way from people who mattered. Everyone seemed to love it - well, almost. The strongest voice of disapproval came from my teenage daughter - all of 13 and an amazing young lady - she felt my hair had lost character and the new look made me, well, not me.

And it was just her constant asking me when i would look "normal" that bothered me. What also bothered me was the amount of chemicals that i seemed to now douse my hair with - chemicals to hold the look just a bit longer, chemicals to maintain the sheen, and the chemicals made me feel confident as much as they made my hair feel abused. In my mind, i seemed to fit the much accepted norm of how professional women ought to look. It was almost as if, my qualification, my competence, my skill were all accentuated by the myth of what perfect hair is supposed to be.

It's been a year now. I have given up on the chemicals so now its a strange combination of wavy and straight and strangely stiff and frizzy - its as if, my hair finally decided to voice her protest. While I don't blame my hair, i do feel a sense of shame, a deep shame when I look into the mirror.

In a way, the hair seems to symbolize my femininity and with it, a reminder of how much time i took to accept what is and drop the ideals of perfection. At this point of time in my life, as I am working on letting go, of being more accepting of myself, my needs, I cant even remember what I used to look like before i got this hair treatment done. Just like I don't even know where to begin as a drop the mask of "good wife" and reclaim myself and work out a different way of relating with family. 

At this stage, the idea of shaving my head is very tempting - curious as I am about what might then emerge in the new me. I am also petrified as to how much of me would get exposed in this simple act. The thought of how long it would take before my hair grew to any length that is "feminine" and acceptable is frankly quite frightening.

Never before was it this obvious to me - how much of my identity of being a woman, of beauty is tied to my hair. A few months ago, a good friend shared how her teenage daughter went and shaved her head to challenge her own notions of beauty. And as i stand gazing at my reflection, seeing my frizzy, greying, scanty hair peek from underneath, I whisper a prayer that i may connect to that fearless, bold energy in me. And in this tiny act of courage, let go of some of the shame i hold about my female body.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 - an odd year to look forward to

2018 was a year of abundance, and a year of living life in a blur - given the pace, the diverse opportunities that came my way, the long travels. I did well, really well with showing up. And i failed miserably on being anchored around the intentions that i set for myself. So come 2019, that's what i really would like to change.

Over delicious dinner and comforting conversations with old old friends, i got the much needed space to reconnect with my core and really articulate what's important to me.

Here's what emerged as my intentions for 2019:
- Be brave
- Love my body
- Flow

While i was wondering how i would seed this intention for myself, a poem i had written while experiencing a healing process and completely forgot about, popped up. And to me, it seemed the best possible expression of my intentions. So here it is:

Dance to the beat of your heart
To the rhythm of your soul
To the call of the body
as she dreams to be whole.

Dance with your arms outstretched
to mirror the expansiveness that is you
No need to slump and hide
As life calls out anew.

Dance with the lightness of a feather,
Unbounded, soft and free.
Celebrate the being that you are now,
A rooted, strong tree.

Dance to live
Dance past the pain.
Dance to be seen,
let go of the shame.
Dance to celebrate,
this spirit that's born again.
And despite the challenges that come your way,
Remember as you show up each day,
To dance.
Simply dance.

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.