Let go of the box

While decluttering is certainly something I am passionate about, this post is not about that 🙂

Did you know, that every day, 7% of our body cells change and replace themselves? In terms of volume, as shared by Tom Chi, co-founder of Google X, that is about one arm of our body. In a year, about 98% of our body cells have changed. Which basically means that every day, we become a new person. In fact, every moment, there is something in us which is changing.

The same phenomena happens with every living being, every moment. Change, as we know, then, is truly, the only constant. It is interesting to note how suddenly, so many things can be explained with this one concept.

Think about a few years ago, the person you remember being, your choices, your ideas, your beliefs –  it seems like a different you, almost like a past life. Well, as explained by science, it clearly was a different you! Now think about the people you live with. For people who stay with families, you can now understand why sometimes you feel disconnected from the same people you felt connected with at one point; why you feel they have changed and you have trouble identifying with them. So much so, that sometimes you start questioning your own self and your set of choices.

Well, there is good news! You probably made the choices which were right for you at that point in time and then, change happened, bit by bit, every day. New thoughts led to new experiences and more change happened, every day. During this time, people around you were changing too, bit by bit, every day. As Barbara Frederickson explains in Love 2.0, love is connection. How connected you were with our family on a daily basis, would explain how connected you feel after a few years. Robin Sharma says that the secret to your success lies in your daily routine – the same goes for relationships. The secret to a successful relationship lies in your daily connection.

So now, the box.

I find it fascinating that as human beings, we love boxes. We find a box that we think we fit in and we get into it – let us say it is the box of a working professional, who is also a parent, and so on. Everyday, as we are changing, the box tries to keep up with us and then one fine day, we realise that we don’t fit into that box any more. It clearly happens with women I know after they have a child and then they try to find new boxes to fit in. The mom box is a tricky one 😉

Either ways, the thing is, when we outgrow a box and try to find a different box to fit into, what we don’t realise is that we are going to soon outgrow that too. It is just that brief comfort that makes us want to find one anyways. I am going to be off work now and will just be a housewife or I will now be an entrepreneur and will work from home or I will just sit back and enjoy life.

No wonder then, when people ask us for an introduction, we start sharing the labels on our boxes (mostly including past ones, even though we feel disconnected with them), little realising that we are not the box. We have never been the box and we have never identified completely with only one box. And when we have tried to do that, we have felt limited and restricted and whether we acknowledge it or not, it has caused us more pain than giving us comfort.

YOU are not the box. So who are you? An infinite, limitless, abundant being. I know – might sound too blah blah or fuzzy and might us uncomfortable, especially for those of us who love definitions and prefer structures. But well, you are infinite. Everything is connected and you are limitless. Let go of the box. You don’t belong in it. Nobody does.

One million people do not get up in the morning everyday. You did. You read this post. And you still want to go back to the box? Let go of the box. Just be.

P.S. I watched this video that said – How to save the world in 3 simple steps. Do watch it. Bottomline – meditate. Try using Insight Timer. It is an awesome App and will get you started 🙂 Enjoy!

 

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The journey

2Often times we find ourselves thinking of the past and wondering what prompted us to do what we did or what could possibly justify our actions in the past.

Every time I have caught myself thinking that, I try and steer my thoughts towards what I might have missed out on had I made a different choice. What if..this…or what if…that..?

We can continue to dwell in a world of what ifs or we can instead, move into a realm of acceptance. We can choose to accept the fact that like most people, we are, most of the times, thinking, rational beings. The choices we made in the past, were, hence, a result of the thoughts that transpired at that time. This does, however, pose a danger, in the sense, we can then use this to justify any ‘wrong’ that we might believe we have done. It is, hence, important to also trace back to the thoughts that led us to make those choices. If this is what I thought and that is the choice I made, I was left feeling so and so about it.

What happened was important, as without that, we would never know how we would feel. If we do intend to not feel that again or if we wish to change the outcome, we need to replace our thoughts with other thoughts and see how the related outcome changes.

In essence, nothing that happened in the past was not intended to happen. Can you accept that? Nothing in life is a coincidence nor does anything happen by chance. We are where we are, thinking what we are thinking, doing what we are doing, because that moment is meant to teach us something. Once we have learned what we were meant to learn, we move on to the next moment and create a different outcome.

Many religions and philosophies, including Buddhism talk about infinite possibilities in every single moment of time. If we think about the number of choices we have every single minute, we might feel overwhelmed. Hence, the way things unfold, it seems someone is making that choice for us. It is, in fact, we, ourselves, who make that choice. We make that choice by default by not acknowledging that other possibilities exist.

When you say hello, there are so many possibilities of how you say it. How loud, how soft, how energetic, how engaging, how detached, think about it. Even that one word has an impact on the resulting possibilities that get created in the environment around us.

It is convenient to not think about these as this means more work 🙂 The point is, we are all living our lives for a purpose..if some of us haven’t found it yet, we are unlikely to find it unless we recognize the choices we have every moment.

So how do you want the rest of your journey to be? Would you like to continue in the greys, blissfully ignoring the possibility of colors around you or would you like to paint each moment with a color of your choice?

Stop hiding, start living

f2c551c6f6e0085ac489bb94900a09c0As women, we spend our lives living up to the expectations of the people around us. Like it or not, we are brought up to believe that addressing the needs of others around us is more important than living our own lives and we tend to succumb to this belief and adopt it as our own as fighting it and wanting to live our own life takes far too much effort.

If you find yourself in this category, know that you are possibly trapped in a hideout, which is a reason (read excuse) to stop ourselves from doing the things we truly want to do. I cannot do this because my husband…or because my child…or because my in-laws…or my boss… the list goes on. Interestingly, there are abstract hideouts too, like our income or our looks or, and this will sound a bit ridiculous but it is true for some, even our colour. I cannot do this because…I cannot wear this because…I cannot go here because…For men, of course, hideouts take a different spin. It is the newspaper or the cricket match or the occasion that calls for drinks or perhaps the next big car.

The point is that we all tend to live in these hideouts endlessly unless we are required to pull ourselves out of the inertia for reasons that we believe we have no control over, though for which, we may be secretly thankful at a later point. The sad part is that in some cases the reason to break free never presents itself, and if it does, it arrives too late when most of our desire to live has ended. I would argue that each of us has one or many hideouts, but the truth is that each of us is capable of recognising our hideouts and abandoning them for good. It requires courage and means facing the real world with all its opportunities and challenges. It means saying no to things which no longer work or make us happy and going out of our way to do that one thing that we have always wanted to do.

Happiness is like a flame that needs a constant supply of oxygen and oxygen is scarce in hideouts. Sometimes, resorting to hideouts might be good, but only for a limited period of time. As long as we are conscious about our choices and have a plan for getting out when we want, it works. So, what’s your hideout?

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Stop stressing and start adapting

Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman holdA woman is key to the culture of a house and its level of happiness. Many times, owing to the transitions we women go through, we might feel unsettled but still choose to continue life in a limbo, without making a conscious effort to adapt to the change and reinvent ourselves appropriately.

Let’s say we move to another city. How much time do we spend in consciously planning how to settle in to the culture, how to get to know the life of the locals and most of all, how to really settle in. We tend to believe we are now in a foreign land, complain about how things are different and then expect for a magic fairy (usually the man in our lives) to make us happy in the new land. The same applies to other key transitions; say motherhood. While we do read books on pregnancy and are all geared up to have a baby, how many of us consider getting coached or counselled by maternity coaches or become part of support groups for new mothers? How many of us wallow in self-pity?

The same applies to working women and how we sometimes fail to reinvent ourselves to suit our changed roles as we move up the ladder. How many of us purposefully think about a promotion as an opportunity to rethink the way we dress or how we conduct ourselves? Suddenly, we find ourselves amidst a different audience, are required to manage teams, etc. All this requires is some proactive thinking and planning on our part. While the organisation would send us for training programs, most certainly getting one-on-one guidance by hiring an executive coach would yield far better results.

The point being that one of the things we as women often fail to do is to reach out to others for help. Even if it is garnering sponsorship or mentorship, we wait for someone to assign a person to us. Nothing stops us from identifying a suitable person we feel most comfortable with and requesting them to handhold us through a transition. Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, ‘Lean In’, talks about how women tend to hold themselves back and in the process, give up critical opportunities to their male counterparts. On deeper thinking, we would find that this happens not just at work but in everyday life. All we need to do is acknowledge the upcoming change and seek active support to cope with it. Smart women do!

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Refuse to accept

whatever-course-you-decide-upon-there-is-always-someone-to-tell-you-that-you-are-wrong-ralph-waldo-emersonOver the last decade, I have had an opportunity to closely observe many family customs, rituals and practices. I feel blessed having been raised in a family that had a democratic set up. There are certain practices that my parents followed and while we were always encouraged to participate and contribute in whatever way I could, there was really no compulsion to do anything especially if it did not resonate with us.

Over time, this practice has become so deeply ingrained in me that I find it to be an extremely empowering way of dealing with situations in which people around me ‘expect’ me to do some things. Of course some people frown when I question them with the intent of helping them break free from age-old customs that they resentfully follow without questioning their rationale.

Your child turned one? Great! What would happen if you don’t splurge the money on inviting people who really have no reason to feel thrilled and instead, open a bank account for securing your child’s future? A baby boy was born in your family (very Indian :)) ? Congratulations! How would buying clothes and jewellery for relatives help you or the baby boy? What else could you do with that money? You just bought a new house? Yeeaah! It is time for celebration! You would need more money to settle in so why not celebrate modestly. Sure everyone likes to share happiness but it is important to remember the point. Share happiness. Why does money have to play a critical role in that?

Most times we tend to fall into this trap of ‘people will expect’ or ‘people will think’..when what we forget is..we are those people too! By doing exactly what has been done and what
other people expect, you are saying ‘Yes, I agree. That’s the right thing to do’. If you genuinely believe that, go right ahead. But, if even for a moment, you find your energy draining at the thought of doing that task, know that it is a signal your body is giving you to rethink your actions.

Refuse to accept things as they are. Make your own decisions about what works for you. You can do whatever you want to. The only person who stops you from doing that, is mostly, you.

Spiderman!

blog-3My 4 year old daughter loves Spiderman (she loves Barbie too, so I am not worried, really ;)). I was watching Spiderman 2 with her the other day and I realized that, well, each of us, is like Spiderman (minus the web..let me explain).

In one scene, Spiderman was utterly and totally frustrated with his evening sojourns and in that moment, he received advice from his dead uncle’s spirit. He said to Spiderman – ‘You have a choice’. The next day, Spiderman decided to take a break from being Spiderman for somedays to get back to being himself. He dumped his costume in a garbage bin and walked away…and he was happy!

Of course there is a longer story to it else what would the kids watch, right? But let’s hold the story at that point when he dumps his suit.

Isn’t that so much like each of us? Each day, we try to be something – something that is superlative, something that we believe the world expects of us, something like Spiderman. Sometimes, carrying the weight of being that somebody seems like a burden to us. It might be the weight of being a dutiful son or daughter when all you want to do is to go out on a date..it might be the weight of being a mother when all you want is to travel away to a quiet place..away from the madness..it might be the weight of being a star employee when all you want is to just say ‘that’s enough..let me be’ or some other weight…we all tend to carry some weight at some point of time.

All it takes is letting go of that weight. I know we might believe that we are not in a position to let go of the weight and we don’t have a choice. But, well, we do. Imagine that you are wearing a costume of that responsibility and imagine dumping it into the garbage bin, just like Spiderman! Now imagine that you are free and are living the life you want to. What costume do you imagine wearing now? Once you have visualized it, imagine placing it in your wardrobe forever. You can wear it any time you want. You can get really creative with this and let your designer instincts come to the fore.

The point being..you can choose to not wear the weight that you feel is wearing you down..let go of it. Even if it is for a while, you can let go of it. Wear something else instead…which makes you look better and makes you feel happier. You could wear the costume of a lovely princess instead of a dutiful daughter or wear the costume of a highly successful and dynamic woman instead of a full time mom…or anything else you might. Be who you want to be. There’s no stopping Spiderman..is there?

Note to my readers: This is how the Belief Closet methodology works. It is an extremely powerful technique to help you change your beliefs. It was introduced to me by a practitioner of this methodology and I can totally vouch for its results. 

Choose to have fun!

DChitwoodWhenYouHaveFunAs we recover from the aftermath of the festivities around us and gear up to deal with more, it is perhaps, an opportune time for us to reflect on the feelings and emotions that we go through as we celebrate. Many of us find ourselves in a situation where we believe we have to attend a party, even though we know it is really not going to be fun. These might be parties at work or social gatherings with the relatives whom we don’t really connect with much at all. Let us dwell on these for a bit, keeping in mind my interpretation of the fundamental principle of life, which says that, in every situation, we have a choice. If we do decide that being somewhere would be an utter waste of our time and effort and we would rather spend time doing something else, perhaps it might be wiser to politely decline and to be done with it. What a great opportunity that opens up for us – we can plan to do something we have wanted to do for ages and get really creative with that time. Should we, however, lose the reasoning battle with ourselves and the people around us who matter, we might need to consider engaging in some self-talk. Back to the principle – we do have a choice. We can go to the party wallowing in self-pity, feeling a misfit and not end up happy (just like we had known and hence, planned) or, we can decide to have a great time even before we land up there. Visualization is a great tool in helping sportsmen gear up for victory and it does apply really well in day-to-day life too. Here’s how: Imagine that you will have a great time and start from there. Work your way backwards – to have a great time, what do I need to do? Look good, for sure. Go on, indulge yourself – get creative with what you wear. What about who I take along? Pick someone who will ensure you will have fun. You can always seek permission to bring a friend along – try it. Think about how you would want to engage with people, what would you want to talk about? Has there been something on your mind you want to know more about or is there something you are dying to tell someone? Is there someone you know who might be in the least bit interesting, whom you could consider talking to? And really, this does not imply planning for a flirtation but it could really just be a simple act of thoughtful networking. Find out more about what a couple of women whom you can connect with might be up to. Find out more about the recipes of the food you like. The point being – do whatever it takes – but make it a fun time for yourself. You can decide to have fun, even before you land up somewhere. Give it a shot! Cheers! This blogpost is a reproduction of my column ‘Her Point of You’ published in SHE section of The Goan (http://thegoan.net). If you are going through change or have been planning some kind of change in your life, coaching can help you. A coach works with you to help you move from point A to point B, ensuring that you hold yourself accountable for your progress. If you would like to know more about coaching and experience a trial coaching session, contact me via my website (http://growth-cube.com). Coaching works. Try it.