A new way to set resolutions: Focus on your feelings

It’s a new year! And a new year means that it’s time to set new resolutions.

 Photo Credit: Brett Jordan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Brett Jordan via Compfight cc

But we’ve all set resolutions with the best of intentions only to have them fall away by the wayside within a month. And for this reason, a lot of us have simply given up on them. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Resolutions aren’t about setting goals and then beating ourselves up when we can’t achieve them.

We’ve all of us set goals
“Lose 10 kgs in time for the annual beach vacation. Which is in, like, 2 months!”

Or thought about plans that we want to achieve
“Buy an island in Greece”

But how often have we thought about how we want to feel?
Eh?

Yeah. Think about it. Now, quick: How do you want to feel?Continue reading

Simplify your life with Soul Comfort + a giveaway!

Those of you who know me and who have followed my blog long enough would know that spirituality is a big part of my life. I believe in taking regular me time, in meditating, and in being creative – be it through art or photography, writing or cooking.

In the busyness of daily life, though, it is easy to let me time slide. But life, it can be simple again. Honest!

Just give yourself permission to take a break and play.

And what better way to do it than by using art and journaling as a means to relax and comfort yourself and to get grounded while dealing with the craziness of every-day living?Continue reading

Forget bucket lists, try a before I die list instead

Death. It’s inevitable. But still, it’s the one topic no one wants to talk about. When we hear of tragedy, we are thankful that it didn’t happen to us. We spend a major portion of our lives convinced about our own immortality. And still, death strikes. And when it strikes close to home, it forces us to look at death head-on.

So why is death such a scary monster? Is it because we are scared of leaving those we love behind, or because we don’t know exactly how long we have left on earth? Or is it because it’s the great unknown – after all, no one’s returned from the dead (and here I’m discounting near-death experiences) to tell us exactly what happens next. Or could it be because we still have so much more that we want to do…things that we’ve been putting off for a “later” that never comes?

Maybe that explains the popularity of bucket lists. But if you’re like me and want to do so many damn things that you know one lifetime would never be enough to do them, and that leaves you paralyzed wondering where to start, this TED Talk by Candy Chang may show you the path.Continue reading

Nigella Lawson and the can of worms known as domestic abuse

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As images of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson being attacked by her art collector husband Charles Saatchi went viral online, it led to a maelstrom of debate that surrounds all narratives of celebrity domestic abuse.

The overt, more often implicit, blame was on Nigella for not “standing up for herself” and for going back to tweeting cutesy food pictures a couple of hours after the attack. Australian radio jockey Dee Dee Dunleavy went so far as to call for a boycott of Nigella’s books.

We think you are strong, beautiful and successful. We imagine your home is warm and smells of cinnamon, and if we dropped in we’d get a hug and a feed. We don’t like to think of you cowering from a thug. A man so boldly abusive he had no qualms about attacking you in public. Nigella, like it or not, you’re a beacon for women from all walks of life. If you want us to buy your books and watch your shows on how to run our kitchens, then we need you to make a stand on domestic violence.

This isn’t very different from the public outcry that greeted Rihanna’s decision to get back together with her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, with whom she had split up after he physically assaulted her. (She has since broken up with him.)Continue reading

Year-end Wrap-Up: Top 20 motivational posters

I’m a sucker for motivational posters. I have a whole folder of them on my phone, my Facebook feed is filled with inspirational messages, and I follow a bunch of inspirational tweeps on Twitter. Needless to say, I’ve found tons and tons of inspirational and fun posters over the year, and made a few myself. Here are my 20 absolute favorites.

Enjoy!Continue reading

Year-end Wrap-Up: Top 10 lessons I learnt in 2012

Image courtesy: Jamie Oliver

1. I enjoy cooking! Not everyday cooking, but trying out new, interesting recipes that make people’s jaw drop in awe. 😉 This was a year when I tried some great new dishes, and  all of them turned out really well. So well, in fact, that it can serve as an alternate career! From yummy pastas to baked fish and roast chicken, I served it all on the table with elan.

2. I’ve got no head for finances, or rather, for tracking investments. I’ve let things slide too long, though. Next year, I’m going to work on changing that for sure.Continue reading

Year-end Wrap-Up: Top 5 books of 2012

2012 was a stellar year for me in terms of reading and all things book-related. I read over 60 books this year, across a variety of genres. I came across some brilliant writers, and some not so brilliant ones. I was approached by Random House India to participate in their book bloggers program, under which they send me books to read and review. And I joined a cool Twitter book-chat – TSBC.

So, what better way to kick-off this year-end wrap-up than by sharing with you my 10 favorite reads from the year? Without further ado, here they are!Continue reading

I wish someone told me…

I wish someone told me…
That the sun and moon wouldn’t really rise with his smile
That life isn’t really a dream that you dream with the one you love
That just believing I could wouldn’t help me to fly
That a hero doesn’t always lie in me, there is a coward lurking in there too…

This post is dedicated to those incurable romantics, who believe the songs and the movies and the books…who believe that what is sung and shown and written is literal…and are heartbroken when they realize that it isn’t.

Come on! How can you think that love would be so all-consuming that it would seem like a utopian dream from which you’d never wake up, or that just a smile from the person you love would light up your life, never mind their words and their actions? If it really was like that, life would be so exhausting! You wouldn’t be able to get anything done, because you’d just be melting into the other person. Not to mention that you would lose your identity – lose YOU. And seriously, that isn’t healthy. A relationship requires hard work. There are nasty fights and heartbreaks along the way. If you’re going to breakdown at the first sign of disagreement you’re going to be a mess!

Replace that narrative with this empowering thought:

Couples that are meant to be together

Can you really be so naive as to believe that just thinking is going to attract what you want into your life? Really now! The Secret may be great and all, but it’s very simplistic. Thoughts turn into things, sure, but it’s not magic. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes. You cannot just think yourself into a new job, for instance. You need to create or update your CV, send it out to multiple people, attend interviews, and only then might you find yourself with a job. And given the economy in most parts of the world, that isn’t even guaranteed! What thoughts do is help you focus on what you want, and give you the necessary inspiration to put in the hard work required to “attract” it into your life.

Replace that narrative with this empowering piece of advice, given to me by my teacher at school:

Luck is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration

Do you believe that you will eventually find the hero within you? That you can always rise to every challenge thrown at you? That you can face anything and everything that comes your way? Listen to the lyrics carefully – all of them. To those lovely lyrics, I’d like to add this: It takes a great deal of courage… and before you can find the hero within you, you have to confront the coward lurking in you. Your fears and anxieties. You need to calm that coward down and reason with it. At times, you just have to downright ignore it. That is hard. Very hard. To listen to the fears and insecurities and go ahead anyway. Not everyone can do it all of the time and in all circumstances. And that’s OK, too. Instead, learn your limitations. Work on what you can, accept what you cannot, and take your decisions accordingly.

Replace the thought of always wanting to be the hero and beating yourself up when you aren’t with this little gem:

I'm strong becauseI've been weak

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The prompt brought to mind my role as agony aunt with a friend who believes everything you tell her – literally – including these things I’ve listed above! If this helps you or someone you know, if you agree with the thoughts I’ve shared here, please feel free to share this post with your friends.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you wish someone had told you?

Solitude: How to make it work for you

Most of us are afraid to be alone – we confuse it with being lonely. But there’s a fine line of difference between the two. Being alone means being happy in your own skin, on your own, enjoying your relationship with yourself. Being lonely is when you crave external company, oftentimes because you don’t know yourself.

Solitude: You need to be happy just on your ownSolitude is powerful. It’s time you carve out for yourself to take care of the most important person in the world – you. It’s a time for self reflection and introspection. To examine your life and your emotions, get a grip on what is working for you and what isn’t.

When you’re in tune with yourself, you’re in a much better position to face life head-on. Decision making comes easier because you know exactly what you need at any given time to move ahead. You know what’s working and what isn’t and can take steps to change or correct your course.

Some of my best times are the few hours after I get back home from work and before the husband returns. It’s my time to do as I please – often I read, sometimes I go out for a stroll and on most days I journal. On Saturdays I’m out with friends because the husband works, but sometimes I stay home – alone – and take myself on a mini-retreat. I come out of that feeling rested, recharged and ready to roll. If I go too long without my alone time, I feel anxious and out of sorts.

If you’re afraid of spending almost an entire day with yourself, why don’t you try spending half an hour to an hour in solitude?

Here’s something you can try during that time.

You will need:
A journal or paper and a pen

  • Sit in a comfortable position and spend a few moments focusing on your breath. Take a few deep breaths in and out to center yourself.
  • Close your eyes and ask yourself: What do I need to know most about myself right now? What am I feeling? Is there any part of me that is feeling neglected, unwanted, unloved? How can I nurture myself?
  • Hold the questions in your mind for a few moments then open your eyes and write. Write without thinking, stopping or editing. The words will flow out of you on to the page.
  • Once you’re done, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths once again.
  • Then get yourself a glass of water or a cup of tea or coffee, and sit down and read through what you have written.
  • You may find kernels of wisdom in there or you may be surprised at the things that have come up in your writing. Find a way to incorporate the wisdom you’ve just gained into your daily life.

Or consider creating a simple morning ritual.

Do you find it easy to spend time with yourself? If yes, what do you do to connect with yourself? If not, why?

You may also like:

How to introspect

Preserved memories: on keeping a hand written journal

This is non-negotiable

non_negotialble_list1. My personal well-being: I’ve realized that when I am mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually well, I am in the best position to live my life to the fullest. This includes being my own best friend and loving myself unconditionally, even when I stumble and fall; replacing my inner critic with positive and encouraging self-talk; eating healthy and exercising, even if all I can manage is a 20 minute walk; time to connect with a higher power; and to meditate.

2. My self-respect: There may be times in my life when a friend or loved one walks all over my sense of self, damaging my self-respect under their hob-nailed boots. I’ve learnt it the hard way to never, ever, no matter what the circumstances, let anyone walk all over me or treat me like a doormat. My self-respect is the most important thing. Period.

3. A home that feels like me: Note, I didn’t say a magazine-perfect home. With all the amazing home interiors I see on Pinterest, in magazines and on blogs, it’s easy to look around my pad and hate everything about it. But when I stop and analyze, I realize that I love each object in my house – it all has a history, a story. It’s warm and welcoming and lived-in, which really isn’t something I can say for a lot of those picture perfect “white houses” I see online. If I’m able to keep my home clutter free for long periods of time, more power to me! I am open to change, to better my surrounding, but I refuse to give in to internet envy.

4. Allowing myself to dream big and DO big: There are no limits to imagination. I’ve found that it’s very important to allow myself to imagine a live that fills me with joy, and then go out and work towards achieving all that my heart desires! I may win some and lose some, but I know what I’m working towards and why. When something no longer resonates with me, I drop it, instead of living up to someone else’s idea of perfection. Since I am a procrastinator, I keep reminding myself that the only thing standing between my dreams and reality is action.

So, what’s non-negotiable for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!