Easy does it

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Being in Mumbai, I’m seeing the monsoon reclaiming it’s tenure here for the next 3 months. This quote could help draw out similarities in life and nature.

May be sometimes all it takes is to be gentle and easy on ourselves and others. Change takes it’s own time just like nature takes it’s own course.

Outside the comfort zone

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Stepping out of the comfort zone is one of the hardest things to do for most. I face the struggles too no matter how much I motivate myself to be. Rigidity is what we partake as stability. Change is the hardest bit to deal with.

Maybe all we need to do is broaden our horizon and be open to newer experiences. At least that’s what one can believe in not knowing if they could be good or bad. But whatever they maybe they would bring a good amount of learning. Another important aspect is of trying out things that challenge / scare you. Personally I have read this tip and I’m yet too scared to try it out. But one bit at a time, I’m trying my best to make the change required.

Just like a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, we tend to soak in all the comfort of where we think we’re best accustomed. But there’s a whole world out there begging to be explored.

‘Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new’ –
Brian Tracy

Nourishing the soul – Top 3 to-do’s

Day to day activities do drain a good part of ourselves. We begin to feel sapped off energy and even begin to question the routine even as we know it’s inevitable. So maybe at times we just need to disconnect and identify with ourselves. While each person may have their own routine that they escape in to, i find the following three techniques pretty helpful for myself:

1. Tuning myself to nature: I think observing nature offers relief in the most simplest forms. Waking up early to catch the sunrise is something that fills me up with positive thoughts. Even a simple walk, watching the birds and the antics of pets around is an uplifting feeling. Scenic locations make me wonder how much we think of problems when nature has so much more to offer.

2. Music: Nothing beats the feeling of discovering new music that i can resonate to. Even on a hectic day or when things don’t seem to be going good, i take to music to instantly drown out all the inertia. Classical, Jazz and Indie are my favorites when i want to relax. But, when work needs to be done i resort to just about any kind (including EDM too).

3. Getting creative: Working on something i like or enjoy and getting as creative as i can helps me push myself further. Writing is definitely on the top of the list. Other activities such as cooking and photography help me tune with myself. I once read that photography is less of what you see externally but more of what is internal to the photographer. Hence you can be good if you have the instincts or maybe with some expensive training.

Those are some of the ways i try to get myself back on track. Simple yet effective ways to go about finding myself at the end of the day 🙂

nature-photo

 

PS: Here’s a photo i clicked a while back on the hill tops at lonavala!

Image Copyright.

Judgemental

“He’s not going to make the cut” / “She’s obviously never heard of class” / “This entire thing is doomed for failure”. Quite often we come across people who are resorting to a quick judgement about people or situations. The way we have been brought up, our society has kind of baked this system in to us. From early school days, parents will be cautious about the friends you make. “Company maketh a man”. Or so they say.

As we grow older, we tend to draw out of our experiences and begin to stereotype people. Notions are widespread about the community one belongs to / experience they bring. Then you have qualitative ones. The kind of people you feel uncomfortable around for no good reason. “I have a bad feeling about this”. Many a times situations prompt the same response.

It’s quite natural for us to jump to conclusions. Some highly opinionated individuals take it upon as their birth right to have an insight on just about everything. Makes me think about how much can one know to really have a point of view about nearly everything. But, what i wonder most is that when people are drawing these judgements and passing them off unaware people, why does it mostly have to be negative? You could also come up with a real positive one. I think one needs to think ahead of themselves, in the larger perspective to really think on those lines. Just to think about it, if all of us were to just spend one entire day appreciating each other, wouldn’t the world seem like a much happier place? To me, it would sure would. Even with the judgement bit thrown in.

Hidden

I’ve always wondered how much of what we think we see is hidden. Ditto for the kind of situations we try to understand. I’m sure many a times, we think we have understood the crux of the problem. Only to discover there were more strings attached. To me, anything that’s hidden works wonders to spark my curiosity on the subject. Maybe that’s why i kept reading up on Astrophysics and quantum mechanics from middle school. While people around me were reading comics or Sidney Sheldon novels, i was deep diving in physics. My interests kept changing all along. But it was the unexplored that had me intrigued.

There are a lot of aspects that are hidden from our daily frame of things. I once read that our subconscious mind keeps eliminating thoughts to help us focus better on what’s important. Typically these thoughts manifest themselves in to dreams. In case these are unpleasant we then embark on a journey to understand the hidden messages. All of this makes me wonder how much of control we really have over stuff in our lives. While you may choose to know as much as you can, take additional degrees or courses, work in different sectors / roles and take on as much as you can within your family, there will still be things that are hidden. I don’t know what could be good given the circumstances. Maybe sometimes, we should just let it go and believe what’s not obvious is for our best interests.

Festivities

Come March-April, we revel in the festivities of Navratri. Several people fast through the 9 days for the granting of their wishes or just for the well being of their families. These days of fasting are dedicated to the Goddess. Being from a punjabi household, i grew up with this phase being celebrated twice a year. The second more popular wave come in October, just before Diwali.

As for me, i skipped the fasts to indulge in the special food preparations on the day of Ashtmi. This is the 8th day of Navratri. In most punjabi homes, Puri (Fried Bread), Black Channa (Black Bengal Gram) and Halwa (Semolina Pudding) are cooked and offered to the Goddess first and then to 9 young girls and 1 boy. The 9 girls are symbolic of the different avatars of the Goddess.

Here is a photo of the meal my mother cooked back home. These always make me smile 🙂

Puri-Chole

 

Empathy or Sympathy

I remember confusing the two some years back. During a recent situation i began to recollect how people tend to confuse the two. After all to empathize or sympathize for someone going through a tough time is a natural response for many of us. But there is a striking difference in the two states.

In the recent MH 370 flight case, what most of us can do is just sympathize. This is because in order to empathize one should have experienced and gone through the situation. To empathize is to understand precisely what the person is going through since you have been through the exact similar situation. I strongly believe that when we are being sold something with a promise or a warranty especially in case of a service, all the sales person is doing is sympathizing for your current state. Heading for the spa after a hard day, you are more likely to hear, ‘We understand your stress and physical strain and hence do what’s best for you”. Well do they? I have my doubts. At a weight loss clinic, the promising dietitian may not have put herself through years of bland food. All she / he is sharing could very well be textbook knowledge. But doesn’t she speak and empathize when you fall back? She is only sympathizing.

This brings me to larger issues we face in life, at work or in crucial stages. We are more likely to say that we empathize but we wouldn’t have really gone down the same road as others to do so. Hence i think more often than not we are only sympathizing. Empathy is also used in a more personal context whereas you could sympathize with anyone from your neighbors to co-workers. I leave you with this quote to mull over this for longer:

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
Daniel Goleman 

Doubt me not.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd – Voltaire

I remember seeing this quote and wondering if its safe to doubt everything around me. We do feel a false sense of certainty at times and when routine kicks in we fear stagnation. That is a worrisome thought and hence i constantly seek out new tasks or routines to put myself through more experiences. The doubt is that little nudge that pushes me to explore more.

Certainty being absurd according to the witty french philosopher is something i completely agree with. With just six degrees of separation online how frequent it is to come across people you don’t know and connect to work on something bigger. In a city like mumbai where one could face strikes / delays / torrential rains or even more pleasant things like someone returning a lost wallet / helping you find your way back / offering directions its more often to see doubt at the base of things. Maybe we doubt more because we know and understand more. After-all, more perspectives could add to doubt, but the collective view will be of more value than a singular distorted opinion. In a democratic society like ours i must say the elections are a classic example. Individuals more certain of a win are looked at with suspicion. There is no dearth of internet memes surrounding the upcoming voting season.

In my case, i choose doubt more over certainty. Its good to know some things for certain but when you begin to think everything is for certain, then ‘Houston, we have a problem’.