On building a mindfulness practice

On building a mindfulness practice

I thought I’d share this month’s issue of Gypsy Wanderings to give you a taste of the kind of letters I share in my monthly emails. I enjoy writing these letters every month – it feels so much more intimate than blogging, and somehow, a lot more personal too. I imagine you, my dear Wanderers, sitting with a cup of coffee and reading these words, and I hope they strike a chord with you each month too. You can sign up for Gypsy Wanderings at the bottom of this post. xx


Hello loves,

I’m watching the sunlight dappling through the window; the gentle swaying of the leaves outside creating a flickering, fluttering pattern of shadow and light on the white marble floor. The boys {my two tom cats, Simba and Loki} are fast asleep by the balcony door. The house is quiet – all I can hear is the soft whirl of the fan and the chirping of the birds on the windowsill.Continue reading

Journey of a Seeker: The Power of Meditation

Journey of a seeker power of meditation

A spiritual journey is an inward journey – it’s a journey to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, our life and our purpose. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the roles of society, in the rules we are conditioned to live by, in the pursuit of wealth, success, or the next shiny new toy.

But true peace comes from our inner strength, from the stillness and silence that is at the very core of who we are. It is this inner silence and peace that radiates out into our lives, creating a sense of serenity, calmness and balance in everything that we do. The best way that I have found to tap into this silence is through a regular meditation practice.Continue reading

Osho on Courage

Set boldly forth, conquering your fears, overcoming them, to achieve your goals, to live your life fully. Take heart in these words from Osho:

To accept the challenge of the unknown in spite of all fears, is courage. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly slowly those fears disappear. The experience of the joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. For the first time you start feeling that life is not just a boredom but an adventure. Then slowly slowly fears disappear; then you are always seeking and searching for some adventure. Courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is. – Osho

To courage!

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)

Formula for a great start to a new week

Here’s a formula to start your week on a good note:

Make peace with your past. If there is anything you’re holding on to from the past week (or even the past year or earlier), release it. Put the baggage down. Lighten your load. Allow yourself to move forward. Forgive others who you think may have slighted you. Forgive yourself too. Breathe in light, love and peace. Breathe out stress, hurt and pain. Give thanks for each moment. Welcome new experiences and joys into your life. Take a few moments and visualize your perfect week. If that’s too far ahead for you, image your perfect day. Smile.

Here’s to a great week ahead!

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)

Create a morning ritual

Tick tock

Image by kalyan02 via Flickr

The loud ringing of the alarm on my cellphone jerks me out of bed and running helter-skelter to face the day every morning. I rush through the house like a whirlwind – brush, bath, get dressed, put out some cat food, grab a cereal bar and race to work. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of waiting for the last alarm (I have three, in case you’re wondering) to jolt me into action, I can get up with the first, or even the second, and ease myself into the day. On the days when I’ve managed to do that, I make myself a cup of hot lemon tea and do nothing until I’ve finished it. It’s my time to think, dream, imagine…before I go forth to meet the world. I’ve noticed that on those days I’m calmer, more focussed and less stressed out.

But I haven’t really done anything about that observation…until recently. And for that, I have to thank Pilar Gerasimo for her article, Reclaim your mornings. According to Pilar, you need to create a morning ritual

Temple of A-ma

Image by Ray Devlin via Flickr

for yourself and ensure that you do it everyday. Your ritual can be long and elaborate or short and simple, but the key to success is to have a minimum commitment – i.e., on the days when you don’t have enough time, spend at least 5 minutes with yourself before you take on the world. Pilar also shares her sister Andrea’s morning ritual. She…

“lights a candle and a stick of incense, then puts on relaxing music. She unrolls her yoga mat, sits, and — at minimum — takes three long, centering breaths. Generally, those three deep breaths lead her into a gentle yoga practice that may last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. At the end of her practice, she meditates for a few moments, sending loving thoughts to her friends and family, and setting some key intentions for the day. When her mat-based practice is complete, she makes tea, has breakfast, and only then does she turn on her phone, consult her calendar and begin the active portion of her day.”

Her minimum commitment from this long ritual is to “Unroll the mat, sit, take three breaths. That’s it. The rest is negotiable.”

This inspired me to design a morning ritual for myself.

Image By derekGavey via Flickr

I find a comfortable spot to sit in – could be cross-legged on the bed, or on the drawing in the drawing room. I take three deep breaths, and do a short guided meditation to start the day on a positive note. Then, I draw a Card for the day to give me a feel of the vibrations and the things to watch out for.  After that, breakfast, and then I’m ready to face the day. My minimum daily commitment is to take three deep breaths and draw a card for the day.

I’ve been doing this since the past three weeks, and already, I feel a tangible difference in the texture of my days.
What small ritual can you create for yourself every morning, or do you already have a morning ritual? Tell me about it in the comments!

10 things in 10 mins

In our daily busy lives, as we go about meeting deadlines, keeping the house, looking after husbands, pets and children, it can be easy to forget the one person who needs the most care – you. If you’re bemoaning the lack of time, worry not.

Meditation Begins at Birth

premasagar via Flickr

Here are 10 things you can do for yourself in all of 10 minutes.

1. Meditate – The next time you’re online, download a few meditation podcasts, or check out my Spiritual Sunday posts and choose a piece of meditation music or guided meditation you like. Sync it to your music player (iPod) or phone. Next time you need a break, plug in your headphones and tune in to radio: you.

2. Collect images for an idea file/vision board – Dreaming of a relaxing spa treatment, a beach holiday, or something else? Set aside 10 minutes to scan through old magazines looking for pictures that speak to you. Clip them out and stick them into an envelope. Next time you need a mini break, get the envelope out, bring out a sheet of paper and a glue stick, and stick those images to make a collage of your very own vision board. Put it up where you can see it as you race through your busy day.

3. Breath yoga – Known as Pranayam in Yoga practice, are a set of simple breath exercises you can do in 10 minutes (or less, or more).

4. Listen to music – Music can change your mood – relax you, pep you up, make you dance or cry or fall in love all over again. Better still, if you’re at home faced with an unpleasant task (like cleaning up the house), put on some peppy music, turn up the volume, and dance as your clean!

A Sip of Turkish Coffee

Image by Kuzeytac via Flickr

5. Have a cuppa – A hot cup of tea or coffee, a slice of cake (if you want to be indulgent), quiet time for 10 minutes, and you’ll feel shiny and new. Promise!

6. Mini home facial – Put on some soft music – Chopin, Mozart, anything instrumental. Exfoliate your skin, apply a face mask, put a slice of cucumber over your eyes, and lay down for 5 minutes. Rinse. Apply a face cream. Fresh, smooth skin can make you feel absolutely wonderful!

7. A few quick photos – Take your mind off your to-do list. Grab your camera, yes, even your phone camera will do. Frame and fire off a few shots. Admire your mini creations.

Cover of

Cover of Messages from Your Angels

8. Quick 1-card reading – Get yourself an oracle deck – one of my favorites is Doreen Virtue’s Messages from your Angels. Next time you have 10 minutes, do a quick 1-card reading for yourself. The messages on the card deck are very uplifting, and might just help you shift your focus so you can approach your day from  a calmer place.

9. Read a poem/passage you love – I’ve found that reading a poem can help me shift my mood, no matter what kind of a mood I am in.

1o. Make a 5-min cup cake – click here for the recipe. Then snatch another few minutes to indulge in your guilty treat. If you’re feeling super generous, share it with your significant other! 😉

There you have it! A list of 10 things you can do in 10 minutes to recharge your batteries.

Do you have any favorites of your own? Do share in the comments!

Technological spirituality: 6 ways to tune into you

Info from the English WP http://en.wikipedia.o...

Image via Wikipedia

Technology has been evolving at a rapid pace. Remember the days of yore, when we used to call the telephone exchange to place STD calls. You had to wait for the telephone company to connect your call, you never knew how soon – or even if – your call would go through. Fast forward a few years, and we had the ability to place STD calls ourselves without having to go through the switch-board. A few more years later and mobile phones emerged, allowing us to make STD and ISD calls on the go. Fast forward to the present, and you have multiple ways to stay in touch – phone, email, internet calls through Skype, Facebook and even Twitter.

This ability to constantly be in touch, in real time, is a boon when your family stays far away. You’re now no more than a phone call, e-mail, status update or tweet away. It’s also become possible to stay connected to the office while on the go. Look around, and you’ll see people in the gym handling office-related phone calls, busy executives sitting in the coffee shop with their laptop updating an important presentation or checking and answering work e-mails.

But in this constant race to be up-to-speed with everyone and everything around us, it has become increasingly difficult to find time to connect with ourselves, with our spirituality, with God. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

The very technology that has connected us to friends and family around the world has also given us myriad tools to connect with ourselves on a deeper level. Here are six ways in which you can tune in to you even when you’re on the go.

YouTube: Most smartphones these days can connect to and play YouTube videos. The next time you’re in the train commuting just log on to YouTube, look for meditation, scroll through the numerous options that come up, plug in your headphones and hit play. You can also visit the Soulful living page here on Modern Gypsy to access a collection of hand-picked meditation music or guided meditation videos and find yourself. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get a new meditation video every Sunday, along with a lot of other interesting content on a variety of topics ranging from book reviews to travel stories to observations on daily life.

Twitter: There are a lot of spiritual gurus and motivational speakers on Twitter who send out inspiring tweets everyday that can give you a nugget of wisdom in 140 characters or less. They also post links to relevant content on their blogs or other sites that you can visit whenever you have a few extra minutes, or favorite and go back to later.
Twitter

A few people to follow: @paulocoelho, @DalaiLama, @RockSolidAdvice,  @RevRunWisdom. You could also follow my Inspirations list on Twitter.

Mailing lists: There are a lot of websites and blogs that offer spiritual content and insights online. Subscribe to a few of their mailings lists and you’ll have some thought provoking articles to read the next time you’re stuck at the doctor’s office or in a nasty traffic snarl. You can even save them on your smartphone using apps like Instapaper, which allow you to save webpages for offline reading.

god_wants_you_to_knowFacebook: Have you come across the nifty Facebook app called God Wants you to Know? If you haven’t, I suggest you check it out. It gives you a new message from God everyday – daily bite-sized pieces of inspiration that at times are exactly what you need to hear.

Apps: There are a lot of religion and spirituality apps available that you can download onto your smartphone or tablet. You can download The Bhagwad Gita as a book or in audio; Buddha-in-a-Pocket offers powerful insights from the teachings of the Buddha; The Life Purpose App, which provides full access to Dan Millman’s bestseller The Life You Were Born to Live and calculates and provides details about your life path.

Podcasts: There are a lot of meditation podcasts available on iTunes that you can download the next time you’re updating your iPhone/iPad/iPod apps. Spend 10 minutes before you start your day to meditate, or listen to vedic chants while commuting and see the difference it makes to your day. You’ll operate from a more calm, focused and peaceful state of mind, and if you make it a regular practice, you’ll notice that you aren’t as stressed out as you used to be.


I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface of the millions of options out there. Are there any tools or apps that you use to connect with yourself?