What makes a life feel right?

Is it success, less stress, positive relationships, personal growth or ongoing adventure? All of these are important, but of paramount importance are joy, passion and living from the heart. And joy, it begins with inner peace.

It’s happened so many times that even after I go buy myself the latest toy — be it a new gadget or jewelry or what have you — but when I come home, there’s no excitement about the purchase. And I’ve often wondered why that happened? Perhaps it’s because we sometimes aspire for what we think we should, instead of what is personally meaningful for us. Bigger isn’t necessarily better…but doing what you love…that’s priceless!

If some of your recent purchases or achievements ring hollow,

check to see if the “cost” is too high, or if it’s something that’s not really meaningful to you. Sometimes the outer things we seek are just poor substitutes for an inner state we crave. when you experience the inner peace that comes from being the kind of person you aspire to be, you’ll find joy around every corner…in all the toys, experiences, beauty, and relationships that come your way.

What about passion for life? That seems to have fizzled away. There are so many things that I love doing, but the passion to do them seems to be missing.

Passion for life does not wear out…it fades from lack of use. At various stages of life we hit plateaus and then the choice is ours: coast downhill or climb to a new peak. If we make the effort and muster the courage to move forward in some dimension of life, we feel renewed. Energy and passion climb, and we feel fully engaged. But pass on all things new, and we get stuck in a rut of the known — smack in the middle of our comfort zone.

That seems to be exactly where I’m stuck — things are comfortable as they are, familiar. To pursue my passions or to change them would mean undertaking some element of risk. So, what would I rather do? Stay stuck in the rut, or climb out of it?

Think of the last time you tried something new — learned a computer skill, visited a foreign country, went to a party alone or just tried a new food. Even if it didn’t turn out as you expected, chances are you got a lift from taking the risk. Beyond the familiar — just past fear — is where life truly expands. Passion needs exercise.

Just like I do! Un-stick butt from chair and move it! Find the joy, fight for the passion and create a meaningful life.

A meaningful life is born in the soul, grown in the mind, and lived from the heart.

Following the busy-is-better crowd means that we could miss out on the sense of purpose, on the feeling of having made a difference, of leaving behind a legacy…Instead, there’s constant motion, with one step merging into the next,

and though [we may be] dancing as fast as we can, we often feel no sense of accomplishment. You’re busy, but what are you busy about? Are you keeping commitments to your self? Growing the gifts that you have been given? If not, you’re probably wondering, “Is this all there is?” Outer success does not equal meaning. And meaning does not just plop into your lap; it is created every day — with one thought and one act — at a time.

God’s given us a wonderful present — the present! Each new day, new moment, gives us numerous opportunities to live a life of purpose.

Staying on purpose requires listening, not to the cacophony of our 24/7 world, but to the wisdom in our hearts.

How about meditating everyday? It used to feel good…it used to give me a sense of calm, of inner joy…but then, I got too “busy” to do it anymore. Maybe, instead of giving up on the meditation, is should start saying “no” to time wasters and “yes” to living a life that feels right.

Silence, focus, conscious choices. I’ve learned that these are the things that add meaning to life.

Thanks to writer Suzanne Zoglio for the wonderful article she wrote on Soulfulliving.com, which helped me look within and analyze my situation.

Out with the old!

Manifestation so works! I’ve recently been thinking about all the stuff that we’ve accumulated at home and all the work and effort we’re going to need to put in to throw things out. And today, I came across an article on just that phenomenon of accumulating and discarding.

It seems to me that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them, paring our possessions down to a manageable cache. At some point, it is important to take the time to catalogue what it is we have, what we have accumulated, what we hold onto, what we have carried with us through the years, and what we would be better of letting go of.

If we are to practice living life with intention, purpose, and appreciation, we are called to take stock — on every level imaginable — material, mental, emotional, and spiritual. And we feel the need to evaluate everything in terms of its value to us. Do our belongings, attitudes, ideas, obligations, commitments, habits, goals, dreams, relationships, and wardrobes still fit us? Do they suit us and our current life style? Are they flattering? Do they please us? Do they continue to serve us? Do they feed us what we need? Or do they drain our energy and slow us down by the amount of maintenance that they require?

The author then goes on to list out a number of suggestions for clearing out…like…

• Throw out, re-cycle, or donate one thing every day. This is a great practice in claiming what is important to you and discarding what is not.
• Eliminate one food from your diet that you know you should not eat. When you get used to living without it, eliminate one more.
• Send all of the novels that you know you will never re-read to a school or hospital library. And that pile of magazines, too.
• Clean out your medicine cabinet and cosmetic drawers. How many of the products crammed in there merely mask superficial symptoms and flaws rather than enhance your essential strength and beauty?
• Reduce stress through yoga, exercise, breathing techniques, warm baths, sex, music, art, meditation.
• Slough off the old, like a snake shedding its skin, or a butterfly its cocoon. Emerge renewed and energized.

You can read the entire article here.

Divorced from reality…

…for a few days when I went back home to Poona….

Soaked up the cool air during breakfast in the garden every morning

Soaked up the cool air during breakfast in the garden every morning

It was a total break from the hectic pace of my “real” life. A going back in time, as I returned to my room — the place where I spent 20 years of my life — to a life sans responsibility…no need to think about work, to plan the next meal, to track groceries, or worry about mundane things like making up the bed. It was a return to innocence, to a time when responsibilities were something the grown ups had to deal with.
Watched nature unfold around me on lazy monsoon afternoons

Watched nature unfold around me on lazy monsoon afternoons

The weather in Poona was lovely compared to the oven that is Delhi…cool breezes, light monsoon showers…perfect for lazy mornings spent reading the newspaper, breakfast in the garden with the singing of the morning birds…late morning spent talking with the parents, an afternoon siesta, long walks in the early evening, crowned by a shopping trip later in the day…a more languid, peaceful, soulful time.
It was yesterday once more as I returned to the sanctuary of my youth --- my bedroom!

It was yesterday once more as I returned to the sanctuary of my youth --- my bedroom!

As some of that peacefulness clings to me still, I’m reminded of the lyrics to Dido’s Sand in my Shoes:

Two weeks away it feels like the world should’ve changed
But I’m home now
And things still look the same
I think I’ll leave it to tomorrow till unpack
Try to forget for one more night
That I’m back in my flat on the road
Where the cars never stop going through the night
To real life where I can’t watch sunset
I don’t have time

Wakeup call

Today’s Reminders from God on my iGoogle page was:

“All walls fall before you. Your faith and My Power are the only two essentials.”

It’s such a reassuring statement to read first thing in the morning, especially when you’re going through as much mental turmoil as I am. There are so many decisions that I need to make without losing too much time.

I had made up my mind to take a certain path if things at the work front didn’t go according to plan at the end of this year’s performance cycle. Now that the time has come to act, I find myself wondering if I should still stick to that decision, or take a slightly different approach instead. A part of me is worried about the recession, while another part of me just wants to go ahead and act. Caught in this dilemma, with no clear plan in place just yet, I find myself unable to act. Unable to sit down and list out pros and cons of different actions and paths and to take a decision.

But this statement, so simple and powerful, jolted me out of this limbo that I find myself in. The time has come to act, and with my faith and His power, things will work out just fine.

Quote of the century

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.

Hear, hear! 😀

We’ve been adopted!

By a cute little kitteh!

She wandered on to hubby dearest’s tennis courts day before and played around there all evening while he was coaching. She made friends with all of the guys who work with him and won over all the children and parents sitting at his academy. I wanted him to get the kitten over that day itself, but he was biking down that day, so wasn’t able to get her.

They left her on the court that night, and I wasn’t too hopeful that she would be around the next day. But when his boys reached the court in the morning, there she was to say hello!

So, he finally got her home yesterday evening. She is just so darn adorable! Must be around 4-5 weeks old, so though I keep calling her “she,” I’m not too sure if its a “she” or a “he” yet! 😉

She plays around for a bit and then sleeps for the most part of the day. She was up and about early in the morning, so I had to get up around 6:30 am today (gasp!), but now, while I’m awake, she’s fast asleep!

Well, what’s that they say about cats?

Dogs have masters, cats have staff. – Anon

Yeah, right!

We’re not sure how long we’ll be able to keep her though. Have to see if she and Cleo get along — Cleo was scared out of her wits yesterday! It was so funny to see though! Here was this (comparitavey) big bunny sitting in her cage all huddled up and scared stiff, and here was an inquisitive little kitten peeking in, saying “Can we be friends?” Plus, as she grows bigger, we aren’t too sure if we’ll be able to handle her. So while I want to say “Yes! We’re keeping her!” my other half (he ain’t better! ;-)) is saying “Let’s see how it goes.” So as of now, we’re taking it one day at a time!

Gone too soon

Watching Michael Jackson’s memorial service brought tears to my eyes. The troubled King of Pop has left an indelible mark on human history. His fame was unparalleled, as was his decline. Those who pointed fingers at him and blamed him did not realize that Michael never really grew up. He was a boy-man, a modern day Peter Pan. His music….the lives that he touched….the humanitarian work that he did….will live on as a lasting legacy behind him.

Let me leave you with the hauntingly beautiful poem that Dr. Maya Angelou wrote for Michael Jackson, which was read out by Queen Latifah at his memorial service.

We Had Him by Maya Angelou
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Reading the cards

I’ve been fascinated with the occult and divination methods, such as palmistry, the I-ching, Runes, etc., since a really long time. I’m even doing an altered book that has a Book of Shadows theme. A couple of weekends back, while browsing through the bookstore, I came across a tarot deck that wasn’t too highly priced, which was rare, and on an impulse, I bought it. I soon realized that that particular deck was a mistake — the cards were simply not “talking” to me — but I found myself fascinated with the cards.

t-rideroriginSo, within a week, I was back at the bookstore, where I purchased the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the only one that’s readily available here, and a comprehensive book on the tarot.

Around that time, while exploring on the internet, I also came across this really greatwebsite called Learning the Tarot, where author Joan Bunning has a tarot course up for free. It’s an excellent site to read about and learn the tarot.

The tarot is made up of 78 cards — 22 Major Aracna cards and 56 Minor Aracna cards.
Each of the Major Aracna cards corresponds to a significant life event, tracing the journey of an innocent adventurer (the Fool, card 0) as he evolves into one that has the world at his feet (the World, card XXI). Each card symbolizes an archetype, a classic role that we or others take on.

I especially loved Joan Bunning’s The Fool’s Journey. Not only does it help you to understand the cards in the Major Aracna, it also holds true about the way we go through life — our cycles of learning…falling, rising, learning…

It’s been fascinating learning about the cards, and some of my daily readings have resonated really well during my day. I didn’t have time to do one for today…but I might just draw a card at night to introspect and reflect on the day gone by.

And we've chosen…

…the Hyundai i10 Kappa!!


I had to stretch my budget for the down payment on the car a bit, but did manage to get the monthly payments to fit within my budget. Plus, I get the latest technology without having to settle for the base model, and it’s such a peppy and fun car to drive!

Got my car loan sanctioned today — that was a real PAIN! I had thought I’d be able to get all the formalities done by 1:30/2:00 and go in to office, but by the time we were through at the bank, it was 3:00! By then my brains were fried, and I was dead beat after signing 48 checks! Am taking the loan from SBI — typical PSU bank — no efficiency in their work, things move leisurely…ugh! But, they offered the cheapest loan…so as they say, you gain some, you lose some!

I’m expecting the car to be delivered on Tuesday. I had initially wanted to get the delivery done over a weekend, but if the car comes in the beginning of the week, I don’t think that will be possible…and honestly, once I know it’s arrived on Tuesday, I doubt I’ll be able to wait until the weekend to go pick it up! Can hardly wait!!

Chitty chitty bang bang

Dontcha just love the movie, and the car, which flies at your command? 🙂

It’s time for me to upgrade my chitty chitty bang bang now! After checking out all of the options in my budget (and there weren’t too many of them, ’cause I refuse to drive a Tata Nano and can’t afford a Honda City!) it’s down to two cars, both from the Maruti stable — the newly introduced Ritz and the tried and tested Wagon-R.

The Ritz is Maruti’s spanking new introduction, which looks really stylish and sexy.

maruti_ritz_front maruti_ritz_side maruti_ritz_back maruti_ritz_dashboard

I had initially discarded it as being too expensive, but after a lot of playing with numbers last night, we did manage to strike the right balance between a down payment that I can make without breaking the bank and an EMI that I can comfortably pay for the next 5 years. So now it’s time to do some research about the car and read up some magazines for reviews and shootouts.

The Wagon-R is a tried and tested car that has won numerous owner satisfaction awards.

wagon-r-duo wagon r_interiors_dasboard wagon r_interiors

A couple of our friends own the car, and have only good things to say about it. The best thing is that I can buy the top-of-the line model without needing to juggle my finances or stretch my budget. To buy the Ritz, not only do I need to stretch my budget, I also need to juggle my finances around a bit. And I still get just the base model of the car.

So, it’s decision time. The spanking new Ritz vs. the tried and tested Wagon-R!

Update: 10 June:

Now, we’ve brought another player onto the scene. The Maruti A-Star.


It’s a nice sporty car, but hasn’t caught on too well, because people find it a bit cramped. I don’t have any such space issues, since I don’t plan to load up the car with people. Now, we gotta figure out the specs and cost. Decisions, decisions!