Let go of the box

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

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 Р 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 Рthe 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 ūüėČ

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 ūüôā Enjoy!

 

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I have a story to tell..

cvqsvjkuyaaqvahOnce upon a time, there was a little girl. She was good. That one word described her very well. She listened to everyone and she did the right thing, sometimes, even when she did not want to ūüôā ¬†She liked¬†that everyone around her was¬†happy and she liked knowing¬†that¬†she was good. As she grew up, she realized that being good was not always the best thing. There were other kinds of people around, those who wanted their work done, no matter what. They did not care much about being good. She was told that getting work done on time was the best way of being good.

She decided it was time to change her view on what being good meant. It was time to grow up. She started getting work done on time and was acknowledged by many people. I am good, she thought. However, she realized that she was not happy. She was puzzled by this as she thought that she was being good and being good is what makes you happy. However, she continued being good, because that is what was important.

One day, she met a happy boy. He was just happy. He was not exactly doing what someone who is good should have been doing. He was not exactly getting work done on time. He was just happy. What fun, she thought! She decided to stop being good for a while. She started doing what she felt like doing and sometimes, her work would not get done on time. She was happy! So this is what it was all about. This is why she had not been happy. She had been doing what others thought she should be doing. Now that she was able to do whatever she pleased, she was free!

She thanked the boy. It was because of him that she realized that she had always been free. She just had to make the right choice.

This story is about courage. It is about how I lacked the courage for many years to admit that I was the only person holding back on my happiness.

This story is about happiness, of course.

This is also my life story. The little girl is me and the boy is my husband. It quite aptly describes how we met and why we got married. I have told many stories about my life to myself and to many people before this moment,¬†but this one¬†perhaps, is the most magical ūüôā

We are nothing but the present moment and the stories we tell ourselves. ~ Nithya Shanti

This is my story. What is the story you have been telling yourself? Is it time to change it?

 

Something’s missing..

e78e1a68a7d5d5ec8633e3925f49bd46Ever get that feeling? Technically, you might¬†have everything going for you but do you get this feeling sometimes..can’t say exactly what it is…but something seems missing?

To begin with, know that it is completely normal and there are millions of others across the globe who feel the same way at different points in life.

That being said, then what is it? What is missing? And more importantly, how do you find out what is missing?

Unfortunately, the Math that I studied at school and college¬†did not have a formula to find ‘x’, where ‘x’ is the missing factor to complete happiness. The funny thing is, that many of us start on this quest as if we have morphed into Sherlock Holmes, in search of the missing ‘x’. We do all kinds of things¬†– depending on whether you are a man or a woman reading this – things¬†range from bungee jumping to river rafting to refreshing your wardrobe to¬†coloring your hair and the list goes on and gets crazier, as you know!

And then, what happens? We feel something is changing, yes, we are so close to finding ‘x’ and then we realize that we are back from where we started, with ‘x’ still missing. In fact, by not finding ‘x’, we have further complicated our lives and convinced ourselves that the pursuit of ‘x’ is tougher than we thought and some of us tend to try even crazier things at this point.

And then what happens? It goes on and on and on in a loop..till one day…maybe some day..hopefully some day soon…we realize…either as a Eureka moment or through our reading or our religious pursuits or through some other way..that there is no ‘x’. That in fact, ‘x’ is just like the new Pokemon Go – we create it, we catch it and we think we have caught it but it is not there. It never was. It never will be. It is augmented reality. Augmented by our mind. To make things exciting. To make us believe that there is excitement in life, somewhere, out there.

Ok..so no ‘x’, no Pokemon, no Santa Claus? I know..not fun. However, that still leaves us with ‘What is missing?’. If there is no ‘x’, then what is missing?

So, here is the thing. What is missing is exactly this, it is nothing. We have everything we need. Well, if you are reading this blogpost, then I can safely say that you have everything that you need to live happily on this planet. We just want to believe that we are incomplete. We are perhaps raised to believe that things or people complete us. When I have a…then, I will be happy. When I get a…then, I will be happy. When I…well..keep waiting..the clock is ticking..and ‘x’ is still not be found. It never will be.

So here it is. Nothing is missing from your life. You are complete. Your life is complete. You do not need anything or anyone to be happy. So give up the search for ‘x’. Be one with ‘x’ for it has always been and continues to be¬†within you at all times. Cherish each moment you are alive. Who knows how many you have left?

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 ūüôā 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?

The Match

maxresdefaultBefore you read ahead, let me clarify, this is not a blog about sports ¬†ūüôā

I was reflecting today on what makes people differ in opinion, in values, in ways that leads them to disagreements and almost pulls them apart. It all really boils down to different people operating in different planes.

Let us say, one person wants to go right, the other wants to go left. They meet and they start walking. Oh..but..I thought..no..actually..well..awkwardness! What just happened? It was all going well until, they started walking. That was the beginning of awkwardness.

What really happened was that two people, wanting two different things, never really discussed what they wanted. Leave alone discuss, never thought it important to articulate it, to state what they wanted.

The result Рa mismatch. The root cause of a mismatch is not stating what is on your mind. Multiplied by many instances, it leads to broken relationships and irreparable damages which take eons to reverse, if they ever do.

How does one avoid it? The thing is we do not live in a homogeneous world. We will always have mismatches everywhere, with everyone we meet about something or the other.

If we could only find a way of sharing what is on our minds. Talk more. Really talk…connect…despite¬†the distractions of the environment around us. Share with people what you want often…what makes you happy…what you are looking for…what you are not ok with..it helps minimize mismatches..helps reduce stress and heartburn…and eventually…makes for a happier life.

So, what DO you want? WHO should you be sharing that with? WHO else needs to know that?

Go on..get started…the list of MATCHES that results keeps growing..and you will see, so does your happiness ūüôā

 

When Plan B fails

quotefancy-106928-3840x2160People who know me might smile reading the title of this blogpost. I am known to be a planner and I almost always, have a plan. Sometimes, I also have a plan for when I cannot have a plan. I know it sounds absurd but here I am, like so many of you out there..who had a plan A that did not work. It happened again with me recently. I had a plan B, that did not work. While my unconscious mind kept working on Plan C and Plan D, I had a lot of trouble accepting what made my plans not work. Stephen Covey has talked about it one of my favorite books – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There are things in our life that are in our control and then, there are things in our life, which are not. The things that are not in our control, should they even be a part of our plans, in the first place? No easy answer, this one, but usually, these are the things that make my plans fail. No matter how much we might be able to anticipate something not working, what we might never be able to fully estimate, is HOW wrong something could go. HOW much delay can something cause? HOW bad can it be? HOW low will this person go? It surprises me HOW so many times, it is that HOW that I am unable to estimate. It might be attributed to my belief that people are in general, smart and out to do the right thing. What happens along the way, is sometimes, best left a mystery. What is important, however, is learning how to cope with these failures. Over the years, I have tried many strategies – from my early years of writing nasty emails to giving people a piece of my mind to talking to other people about how something or someone is so not worth it. However, none of these really have made any difference to my state of mind and in fact, have only added to my frustration levels. The only thing that has worked, each and every time, is to productively redirect my energy into something that is of value. When I was young, I used to sometimes wash utensils in the kitchen when I was very angry. Today, I run down the stairs from my 15th floor apartment and take a long, brisk walk. These are only good to dissipate the negative energies that are brewing inside. What works, finally, to get oneself back to a positive state of mind, is a lot of self talk. In coaching parlance, this is referred to as self-coaching. I often find myself reminding myself of the larger view of life, of how insignificant that one instance or interaction might be and how grateful I am for everything else that is going right. So what works, when all plans fail, is just your intention to make things work. Just keep that and see how things fall into place. They take time, but they make the wait much easier and less stressful. Have you experienced failures of your plans? What have you done in such cases? Share with me, I would love to know! P.S. I have written a blog after ages! I feel as if I had never taken a break. I was working on my book, which is finally done. I hope to write a blog about it soon ūüôā

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).