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!

Tread softly, I'm dreaming

Bath Salts

Image by LilyBaySoap via Flickr

I woke up this morning with the gentle rays of the sun streaming in through the blinds on my windows. I rolled over in bed, hugged my arms to my chest, and let out a contented breath. Getting out of bed, I walked into my bright, sunny bathroom, done up in shades of white and blue. A spray of summer blossoms sat on the windowsill in an old ceramic mug, a collection of seashells and pebbles was heaped on one side of the marble bathtub, the other holding my collection of colorful bath salts and toiletries. I walked over to the little dressing room adjoining the bathroom while brushing away the stale smell of sleep from my mouth and got out my clothes for the day – a pair of rugged jeans and a white t-shirt – perfect for a day to be spent out and about with my trusted camera and sketchbook.

Once I was ready, I padded into the kitchen, had a hot cup of tea and some fruit, packed a sandwich in a brown baggie, collected my gear and headed out.

The Fujifilm FinePix S9000 bridge camera

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to my dream world, where I am a successful artist, photographer and writer, with a beautiful house in a small, beautiful community located very close to a bustling town. It’s a place where all the neighbors know each other and where I have some of my deepest and most lasting friendships. When I’m not busy with the constant demands of success – book signings, gallery openings and exhibitions, you’ll find me in the kitchen whipping up some tasty, exotic dishes or traveling the world and telling my stories through words and images.

I don’t know about the house, but I do know that if I put my mind to it, I can achieve my dream of being a photographer and artist – a writer I am already – I write this blog, don’t it? 😉

So, if you could live your biggest dream, no holds barred, what would it be?

Are you killing your dreams?

Kant said that we require three things by which to measure happiness: someone to love, something we like to do, and something to look forward to.*

Look closely at this statement, and you’ll realize that most people have someone to love and something that they like to do, it’s the something to look forward to that we sometimes forget .

When we ignore our dreams, our life feels withered and empty

I know, I forgot about it too, recently. Life goes along smoothly…we work, spend time with family, meet up with friends…life has a steady rhythm and we don’t do much to shake it up…happy to maintain the status quo…not realizing that we just might be killing our dreams in the process.

Paulo Coelho

Image via Wikipedia

So, how do you know if you’re exactly where you need to be right now, or if you need to challenge the status quo? I got the answer to this question by chance, just when I needed to hear it the most, as I was scrolling through my Twitter steam. “Killing our dreams: the three symptoms” flashed out at me that day – an article by the master himself, Paulo Coelho.

The first symptom is the lack of time. Ever looked at those super busy people and wondered how they find the time to fit so much into their day? They’re living their dream. It’s those of us who say we’re too busy to do this or that who are actually shying away from fighting for what we believe in.

The second symptom is our certainties – a false belief that we are being wise by not demanding more from life. When we look at others striving hard to achieve their dreams, we choose to retreat into our own daily existence, not realizing that the fight is what excites and rejuvenates.

Angel of Death Also Dreams

Image by Yuliya Libkina via Flickr

The final symptom is complacency. Since we’re satisfied with the way our life is going, we get comfortable in our daily routine. We brush our grand dreams under the carpet, believing we are “mature” in seeking only professional and personal development, and are surprised when we hear others saying they want still more in life.

When we renounce our dreams, we go through a short period of tranquility because we buy into the illusion of comfort. But our dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychosis arise. What we sought to avoid in fighting for our dreams – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And these don’t even have to be really big dreams. They could be small ones too.

I always wanted to have a vase of fresh flowers at home. It makes the entire room just come alive, doesn’t it? But as time went by and life got busy, I found myself waiting for those special occasions when the hubby would bring me flowers, and that dream of always having fresh flowers fell by the wayside.

But recently, I’ve picked that dream up and dusted it off, examined it and decided that it isn’t something that I want to give up on. So, I have decided that I will buy fresh flowers every week during the winter and monsoon months. It’s rather pointless to bother is summer, because flowers just wilt away in a day.  Here’s the bunch of blooms I bought myself this week – pretty, aren’t they?

Sit down and ask yourself: what are your dreams? Are you living them, pursuing them, or have you given up on them?

* Thanks to the Designer Wife for sparking this idea with her post on Measuring happiness