Let Go

Letting go, moving on, accepting change and starting afresh… these are some of the hard parts of life we’ve all gone through, or are going through or will eventually have to face. Let’s face it nobody can avoid it and there comes a time when we all have to go through this. So my blog is not about accepting this fact but about finding the strength to face change.

Most of us don’t like change and will often avoid it. Why? Maybe because we’re so settled in a monotonous way of life we’re used to and accept our daily routine as life. But no. This is not what life is about…Life’s a ride, full of its ups and downs, twists and turns but meant to be enjoyed every second that we spend on this ride. What’s the fun or excitement of starting a new day when one already knows what’s the schedule like? Sometimes it’s good to not know.

Moving on to finding the strength to accept this change, I feel it needs to come from within. There is no person or thing but yourself which can get you ready to face change. And to do that one needs to be patient. There’s a right time for everything and anything done before that time just leads to confusion and misconceptions. Whether it’s work, family, friends or other relationships we all need to take it slow and give things their own sweet time to happen. Rushing into anything will never be the solution.

Also one needs to infuse optimism and faith in oneself about the fact that one is capable of accepting change. Moving on and starting afresh is never easy. There are certain emotional attachments which you don’t want to let go and I’m no one to tell you to do so either! All I’m asking is for you to remember the positives of the past and make space for the new memories your future creates for you. Spend time with yourself, reflect upon your memories and your past and think. Think of whether what you’re holding onto so tightly is worth accepting monotony in life. Think about when you feel ready to move on, about the process of moving on, and more importantly about what or who you need to move on from.

Materialistic things are easier to move on from, we simply find a new fantasy😋 Change in people on the other hand can be tougher to accept and that’s fine! We’re only human 🙂 Go easy and be patient with yourself. Be as compassionate towards yourself as you might be towards a loved one. It’s okay for you to take time, make mistakes and think of even giving up at times. It’s natural. But remind yourself of your parents, or a friend or someone who loves you and think how they would feel on seeing you give up on yourself ask yourself, “ Am I not worthy of some self-compassion?” I guarantee the answer to that question will always be that yes you are! What’s the point of being nice to others when you can’t be nice to yourself. Summing up, take it slow and go easy on yourself! Take your time to figure out what helps you move on. Life isn’t that short.., you’ve got plenty of time to explore your options. And remember, Always Do It With A Smile. You may not believe me but your smile is the reason someone else’s smiles! So spread the love and joy and keep on trying 🙂

Share your experiences with me and tell me your journey of accepting change! Good luck 🙂

Until next time….!

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That Smile…

Belonging to the Sikh faith, community service is an integral part of my upbringing. The attitude of service before self plays a very important role in my life. Praying for the world comes first before praying for oneself in my daily prayer called ‘Ardaas’. Serving free community meals called Langar and providing night shelter to the homeless are integral to every Sikh temple around the world. Washing dishes and polishing the pilgrims’ shoes, inculcates a sense of humility in me.  Here others are taken care of, much before one looks after oneself.

I was eight when my mother first took me to the most crowded streets of Old Delhi for Seva (community service) and what happened thereafter changed my life and me as a person. When I first saw the open wounds of a few hundred lepers and others with cuts and injuries, it first made me very uncomfortable. My mother handed me a roll of bandage, cotton and a pair of scissors to dress up the first wound. In the queue were people from different religions, backgrounds and beliefs with different wounds but something common; they gave me such benign looks of gratitude and pure smiles that I had never seen before in the opulent society. It made me feel so petty for cribbing about not getting a new toy or home food instead of pizza.   That day the eight year old grew up.

I am a regular at Seva now.  One hot June day, when I finished dressing up a little girl’s wounded arm she beamed at me the most beautiful smile ever. That was the first time I experienced true happiness, or bliss as they call it. That little girl taught me to value everything I have in life. I often forget how lucky I am to be alive, able bodied and have a shelter called home. Every time a feeling of frustration creeps in, I quickly remind myself of that little girl with the bandaged arm who taught me the secret to a happy life: accept what is and be grateful for it.

My Story…

“Do you think you can do it? You don’t have to do it just to make us happy,” said my father as we walked into the Gurudwara for my Amrit Chhakna, the Sikh equivalent of baptism that would declare the beginning of my spiritual journey. Upon its commencement, I would be required to pray daily and adorn the five Kakkars or symbols of Sikhism.  I was convinced of my decision and ready for this miraculous journey, happy to have become the Guru’s daughter and nervous because I knew the path would not be easy.

This was an important step for me as it would bring me closer to my faith. I had entered the holy building as an ordinary fourteen-year old and walked out with a magical feeling of great things to come.

Considering the hope and expectations I had from myself after my purging, things didn’t seem to go quite as expected. While I, with my long uncut hair, bushy eyebrows and body hair had never quite fit in with the pretty girls in their short skirts, thin waists and manicured hands, things became worse for me.

My pledge, however, meant that I could not cut or remove the hair on my head or my body.Consequently, I was mercilessly teased. Boys would walk up to me and want to know why I wasn’t using the men’s restroom and girls would point at me and giggle.

As I grew another year older and the hormones began to hit me in earnest, I began to regret my decision. It had seemed brave and wise then, but in the face of a cruel teenaged world where ‘fitting in’ is all that matters, I felt I hadn’t thought things through.  All I wanted was to be accepted and live a ‘normal’ teenager’s life. My confidence deteriorated and I began avoiding social gatherings. My sociable parents had passed their love for company to me, but when I entered a room I felt all eyes on my hairy legs and face.  I tried to convince my parents to let me be like ‘the other girls’.  I was forgetting the promises I had made, but my parents, being true Sikhs, did not and refuse to buckle under pressure. They insisted I be the, unperturbed Sikh lioness I was meant to be.

Nevertheless, I continued with my prayers and admittedly, they make me feel more positive. However, there was always a lingering doubt – perhaps I had made the wrong choice…

Now, in school, there was another girl just like me, equally teased and bullied, but who never seemed to be affected by it.  Then, one day, she shocked me –  the girl for whom I harbored much respect and admiration was now another face in the crowd – her once braided hair sported flicks and her face was as made up as the girl next to her. That day I realized I didn’t want to be like her. Even if my parents approved of it, I wouldn’t respect myself. I realized that to gain acceptance of some immature people, I had been willing to sacrifice my personality. I had been strong enough to withstand criticism because I am the chosen one, with courage and conviction.

After that day, the sniggering stopped bothering me. I looked at myself every day in the mirror and said ‘You are beautiful.’ That girl had lost her battle, but taught me an important lesson in winning it.

Today, all those people who once ridiculed me, tell me how they are proud of me for not giving in to criticism, for loving who I really am and for inspiring others to be proud of their unique identity. It’s not easy to make tough choices and even harder to have the courage to stand by a difficult one, but those who do are the real brave hearts.

Efforts

“God only helps those who help themselves.” While we’re all familiar with this poignant saying, how many of us actually get its essence? Hard work, dedication, commitment and determination are just some of the elements of its true meaning. I feel the quote simply means that until and unless we make an effort to change the way things are, nothing’s ever going to change.

How many times have we all made a mental list of the things we have to do. Plenty maybe? And how many of those plenty times have we actually ticked something off that list and not procrastinated? Not many right? At least not a lot of times for me! While the idea of enjoying a movie, chilling with my friends and partying does sound fun to me now,  but the idea of a successful career, a beautiful big house of my own and buying a convertible for my dad ten years  down the line sounds much more appealing to me. I’m sure all readers are aware of their duties and responsibilities today. I know that you all know what you have to do. But I also know that many of us aren’t exactly fulfilling our duties. And I want to ask Why? Why is it that to me watching a rom-com series is a thousand times better than doing math? Why is it so that I can sing for hours without a break and need a two-hour break after every hour that I study? These questions dance around in my mind everyday but I’m unable to get an answer.

But today I think I have an answer. The zeal with which I do all the above mentioned activities is much more than the energy I would spend on a math problem. We all shirk off those tasks which we think require out of the box thinking, the activities which need to be done by a different method , those jobs which are different. Basically our brains have become so used to the routine work they do everyday that when it comes to doing something different it feels it’ll be unable to do that and is not ‘intelligent’ enough to challenge itself. But today I say no. I say no to that routine, I say no to not thinking, I say no to not challenging my brain everyday.

Today, I finally found my strongest competitor – me. From today onwards I won’t shirk off challenges but would avoid the “what if I fail ” question in my mind. Today I will accept the fact that I am the reason for my failures, my mindset is what caused me to not succeed previously and I am going to change that. Fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself and I’m not going to be afraid from now.

Wow! Just by saying that I feel much more motivated and energetic. I’m thinking how much would I be able to achieve if I actually believe in that and do something. I assure you all that what I just said will have a deep and positive impact on you as well and encourage you to try it.

Please share your experiences!

(P.S.- Thanks Dad for being the constant source of motivation for MINDFUL)

 

You Had An Impact

Cut! Slice! Crush! While many of you might associate these words with the preparation of food, this is not what my blog is about.

Death. The End.Finish. Sounds so simple; in just a few seconds all despairs of one’s life come to an end. How satisfying, how easy! But is it? It’s very normal to feel burdened and pressurised, as if the entire world depends on you. And under this pressure it’s even more common to have thoughts relating to just quitting everything, ending all ties and being free. But this is not the right solution.

Suicide among teenagers, students and young professionals has become common these days.We have started ignoring those notifications from NDTV informing us of these tragedies because we now look at these incidents as ‘nothing new’. The ones who do read about these catastrophes are saddened for a few moments and then they forget about it by saying, “life goes on”. But does it really? What about the ones left behind to deal with the grief and sorrow once that one person, the one who they loved so much, is not there. How can life just go on for a mother who once eagerly waited for her child to call in everyday and now knows nobody’s going to call and say “Hi Ma, I had lunch.”; how can life be normal for that sister who longed to hear her sibling make fun of her and now knows there’s nobody to tell her how stupid or cute she looks!

So why do people do this. I have heard a lot of people say how nobody cares for them, or how they don’t really have an impact on anyone, or how no one would care if they were dead. But I would like to take a second and tell those people how incredibly stupid they are! Why are these people giving so much importance to problems and not to themselves and the ones who care about them. Just because some guy doesn’t like them back or someone made fun of them, these people think life has to come to an end. What they don’t realise is that the demise of one person equals the death of many. Once a person kills himself he is also ripping out the souls of all those who loved him.

Life is hard, it is a rollercoaster ride for sure. But don’t you get off a ride with an adrenaline rush and the feeling of having conquered something hard?Nothing is worth ending this ride. If life were simple and just as you liked it wouldn’t it get boring and predictible. What I’m trying to say is that while there are many of us who feel they aren’t important, they do matter a lot to many. I cannot believe that there is not one person in one’s life who loves that person and who has not been impacted by that person. We all have had an impact on at least one of the thousands of people we have met. Whether in a good or bad way, you did play on someone’s mind. You were the reason of someone’s smile, someone’s anger or even someone’s sorrow. You did matter to that ‘someone’ for at least a few seconds.

Life should not be toyed around with. It should be valued and enjoyed to the fullest. Make mistakes, fall in traps, fail, rise , work hard, succeed and smile. Every second is precious. Where we easily think about suiciding there is someone praying to live another day, to get just one more hour to spend with one’s family. Please be grateful for however your life is. It may be hard, it may be unfair, it may be amazing; just smile because at least you have a life. 

I Have Ego Issues

I’m the best. There’s nobody better than me. How pretty am I. These are just some of the thoughts running through my mind all day, everyday. But why so. What makes me feel this way. Ego is a problem almost every one of us is struggling with. I feel this is solely because of our inability to understand the fine line of difference that is between ego and self respect. I ,being a typical 17 year-old(my dad’s favourite adjective for me),  have often felt that having humility may make me seem weaker in front of others, or maybe people will think I’m not strong enough to defend myself. But is it really so?

Humility is a skill, one that cannot be imbibed in a few days but by practice over many years. One cannot simple become humble because one’s being scolded to become so; a person actually needs to feel the importance of being humble. Empty vessels make the most noise. We’re all familiar with this saying; but I think only the few learned ones understood its essence. Not boasting about oneself is an art that is practiced by the ones who’re actually something, who’ve made a mark.I was struggling with low self-esteem a few years ago and someone then told me to always have a superiority complex about myself. Maybe what they meant was to be confident of myself so that I wouldn’t be affected by others, but I understood it in the wrong sense. When my confidence turned into ego and vanity , I never even noticed.My father always says that no matter how successful you are, the way you handle your success is what shows your true character. I recently learnt that having self-respect is important till it doesn’t lead to ego. My mother taught me that being humble and grounded doesn’t make me weak but actually shows the strength of my character. I tried what she said- be humble for a day, look at others in a more positive light and was amazed at the results. Not only did I achieve more but I was also a happier person.

There are many instances where we are stuck between what constitutes dignity and where that turns into conceit. I feel that our dignity is what makes us assertive and not submissive , it is something that makes us and even others realise their worth. Ego is when that dignity  turns into self-importance and leads to misconceptions about oneself. As long as your dignity keeps you grounded, it’s essential to maintain. But the second it takes a toll on your character ,it’s high time you tell yourself,”Okay dude you’re not someone everybody is dying to be with. You’re nobody’s favourite right now so just try to change that. ” It may sound a bit harsh for the first time but this is what an inflated ego needs to hear.

Having humility is one of the key ingredients of a successful and a happy personality. If just one day’s humility made me happy then imagine how happy and complete I would feel on actually imbibing this quality in myself, on living in harmony always.

To some I made sense and to others not! Please share your views!

 

 

I Need Inspiration

I have come across many like me who’re finding their inspiration, looking for something that drives them to work hard but have not met many who’ve actually found that. Is it my sister doing so well or my brother representing his school at Yale or my parents having their faith in me and my abilities? What is it that is motivating me? 

I often think about this. Honestly, none of the above things drive me to do well in life! They don’t inspire me or push me towards working hard. So what does?

She does.

My mother is a very strong woman. She selflessly sacrificed all her dreams and desires to raise her children and make them the beautiful people they are today. She worked hard and still does to keep love and joy alive in our family. She was an excellent medicine student but for some reasons dropped it. She always told me,”Do whatever makes you happy but just make sure you don’t have to ask someone for money to shop for your kids or yourself”. That day I realised what my mother felt everyday but concealed it with such a beautiful smile and positivity that one could never look past the radiance on her face and the gleam in her eyes.

It is my mother who keeps me going. It is her sacrifices that made sure I didn’t have to make any. It is her who motivates and inspires me the most.

I used to keep looking for motivation in the speeches made by successful people or in those Ted Talks or in conversations with my father. Never did I actually find something. I felt it doesn’t matter. But the love and conviction with which she tells me to make something out of my life makes me feel like it matters. If not for myself, I want to be somebody someday for her.

She’s taught me an important lesson: whatever you’re doing is for yourself, nobody else is getting affected by your actions. She made me realise that if I’m doing something, putting in my mind, then let it be for me! Why waste that energy on someone else. She has been the sunshine im every gloomy day that I have ever had.
Now I know most of you are thinking that she probably scolded me so this is my way of saying sorry, or I’m out of ideas to write. But no. Neither did she scold me(not much!) nor am I out of ideas. Today when my younger sister said that mom doesn’t work, I could see what she felt. I knew what she was going through. I just want her to feel that her contributions are above all. No matter how many gifts dad gets or how much my sister mentors me, they’re all doing so because of her.

There are millions of moms out there who feel they aren’t that successful just because they aren’t earning. I want to tell all of them that nobody is as successful as they are. They make winners. I feel so proud on knowing my mom coaches winners, she can carve a winner out of someone who’s lost many challenges. Such is the power of MOM.

Tell me what inspires you…!