“Solitude, like a long love, deepens with time, and, I trust, will not fail me if my own powers of creation diminish. For growing into solitude is one way of growing to the end.”
– May Sarton, The House By The Sea
The world isn’t designed for introverted, solitude loving people. For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me, what with my hermity tendencies and my need for pockets of quiet time, especially after I’ve peopled.
Choosing a word of the year can be an intensely transformative journey — even when you lose sight of your word, it doesn’t lose sight of you. I should know. This is my eighth year choosing a word of the year. There have been years when I have forgotten all about my word (I’m looking at you, 2020), but that word has still worked its magic in my life.
Words, they say, are spells. They have an inherent magic and power that can work in ways you may never have anticipated to bring you the exact medicine you need at any point of time. The first word I chose, eight years ago, was Transform. It is a spell that’s been woven into the very fabric my life, impacting it far beyond just one year.
Sovereignty. That was my word for 2021. And what a ride it has been!
I started the year with a sovereignty list. A list of ideas that I had bought into that didn’t really hold true for me anymore. And as usually happens, as the year progressed, I lost sight of that list.
But it didn’t lose sight of me.
I pulled the list out while doing my year end Visioning, and to my surprise, I had achieved almost everything on that list, plus some more!
A prose poem, plus an exploration of the symbolism of the owl through the lens of Indian mythology, philosophy & spirituality
There’s something about owls — mysterious creatures of the night, their golden eyes, staring unblinkingly into the shape shifting shadow and then lightning quick — they pounce. fear, like a mouse, held firmly in their talons.
Some resources and invitations to soothe your tender heart
I thought I’d share this month’s issue of Gypsy Wanderings because these invitations feel like they need to be shared more widely, especially given the times we are in. I hope this also gives you a taste of the love letters I send out every month – intimate, personal, and filled with love and care. You can sign up for Gypsy Wanderings at the bottom of this post. xx
It’s hard to believe that one year on, we are still held hostage by one small, constantly mutating virus. The chaos and destruction it has caused this time around in India – and on a global scale – is difficult to comprehend.
But where there has been death and despair, there has also been birth and love and hope. It can be very difficult to “be positive” in these times, ButAndAlso, we are simply not built to deal with this overwhelming tsunami of grief, guilt, fear, panic, and rage.
On being a rebel, a stream of consciousness prose poem + a painting from my studio
“I will participate, but not as asked.” ― Jenny Odell,How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
When I was in my fiery teens, my father declared me a rebel without a cause. I’ve always been contrary. If you tell me to go up, I will go down. If you tell me not to do something, you can be sure that I will go right ahead and do it. And then proudly tell you that I did it too. That fiery rebellion of my teenage years has mellowed over the years, though – I guess that’s what they call aging.
I may not be a fiery rebel, but I am still contrary. I question most things. I tend to think deeply. Sometimes, it is annoying. It would be so much easier to just go along with what everyone else is saying. With the things the world seems to value. With what everyone else is chasing. It is so much more difficult to try and swim against the tide.
Science-based tips + resources from my own struggles with anxiety
Let’s talk about anxiety for a minute. The debilitating fear. The constant worry. The thoughts that circle around in your head at a hundred miles a minute. The heart palpitations. The shortness of breath. The certainty that everything is going to come crashing down around you.
We’ve all suffered from anxiety at some point in our lives, but did you know that 1 in 7 Indians – or 197.3 million people – were impacted by mental disorders of varying severity in 2017, of which 44.9 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders. And this is 2017 data, so this number is sure to have skyrocketed.
What it really means to resist the attention economy, focus on depth, find your center and embrace the joy of missing out
We live in a world that is constantly trying to sell us what we want – or better yet, what we don’t even know we want. When I was still in college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, one field that I was interested in was advertising. One of my aunts headed the creative department at a leading advertising agency, and in the course of various conversations with her, she asked me this: “how will you sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo?”
This is a question that has stuck with me through the years – and one that I reflect on from time to time. It isn’t so much about literally selling a fridge to an Eskimo, but about convincing someone who has no real need for something to buy said thing. That’s what good advertising and marketing is built on.
My word of the year made itself known to me at the start of December. After Radiate showed me all the ways in which I still don’t trust myself, the word that showed up seemed rather apt. It was a word that had come under consideration in previous years too, but I’d passed it over. This would be its year, I thought.
Then, in mid-December, I did my annual year ahead tarot spread. The cards that came up didn’t feel like a great fit with the word that had presented itself. But instead of trying to puzzle it out, I decided to simply document my cards, make some notes, and go about my day.
Radiate. That was my word for the year. And though I lost sight of it as soon as lockdowns hit, it didn’t quite lose sight of me.
Radiate led to my first curated group art show, and then immediately showed me all the ways in which I still don’t trust my abilities enough to take pride in my achievements.
An offhand comment by a so-called friend led to a shame spiral that lasted most of the year. It’s only around November that I realized I was viewing myself through the lens of someone else’s jealousy and opinions, and took steps to rectify my error.