A Charmed Life


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it takes a village

village.jpgFirstly I want to start this week by thanking those who have reached out to me in regards to my last post about my phobia; your support and words of encouragement have overwhelmed me. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a caring community.

As I go to write my post today it is with a heavy heart for it is with the knowledge that a family friend has passed away. Letting go and saying goodbye to someone who has graced your life is never without heartache and yet it is the way of life. I remember once when I was little, asking ‘why do people have to die’ To which the reply came ‘they just do when it’s their time.’

They just do when it’s their time and what remains are our memories which, no one not even death can take away from us. And I have such lovely memories of this ‘auntie’ (when you are Indian everyone is your auntie or uncle). I have this one distinct memory of the time when I was leaving New Zealand to seek pastures new, over 17 years ago. It was at a farewell lunch my mother had organised for me, one final hurrah with all our friends. There came a point after the eating and drinking had subsided when my parents, brother, grandma…  basically all my family became very emotional at the thought of me leaving, there was a lot of crying and hugging going on and who knows how this lunch would have ended if it had not been for this auntie saying ‘cheer up it’s not like she’s getting married’ and thus changing the mood in the room completely and that’s who she was, the effervescent mum. She was even one of the first mums I know to join Facebook, in fact the last time I heard from her was via that medium when she told me she had enjoyed something I had written on this blog. Always fun, always encouraging.

There is this African proverb I heard years ago which goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ When I think of all the people who ‘raised’ me; my parents, the extended family, teachers, neighbours, friends and the many ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ I feel so blessed and fortunate.

Each and every person has left an imprint.

Each and every person is present in the tapestry that is my life.

So thank you to all those who played a part in raising me especially to all those ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’.

You are forever in my heart.

Sat Nam

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being thankful

Gratitude.jpg

It is time for Thanksgiving yet again and even though it is not something I celebrate, a public holiday dedicated to giving thanks is my idea of the very best kind of public holiday. If I ruled the world I would make every country adopt the concept – ha!

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Jean Baptiste Massieu

Seriously though, being and feeling grateful has changed the way I live and look at my life. It gives me a total buzz and every time I say the words ‘I am grateful…’ my heart swells, what’s more I know that the times I have failed or forgotten to be grateful I have experienced the lowest ebbs in my life so now I make sure I cultivate being and feeling grateful in every aspect of my life. When I wake in the morning I go through a mental list of all things I am grateful for, as I walk to the bathroom I am being grateful. I continue being grateful as my day progresses for the different activities I am doing and the people I’m interacting with and at the end of the day before I close my eyes to sleep, I say thank you for the day I have had and for the day that is come.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” Maya Angelou  

The more I am grateful the more I find to be grateful for AND I have realised happiness and gratitude are mutually inclusive – you will never be truly happy if you are not grateful and if you are not truly grateful you are not happy.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Cicero

Thank you for reading, please feel free to share what you are grateful for in comments.

Sat Nam

 


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good morning beautiful people

morning

My favourite time of day is first thing in the morning. I love waking to the idea of a new day with no mistakes on it yet and in order to start the day off on a positive vibe this what I do before I get out of bed:

My guru once told me if you have forgotten the language of gratitude you will never be on speaking terms with happiness. accordingly I have made an attitude of gratitude a focal point in my life. I start expressing gratitude the second I am conscious, I go through a mental dump of all the things I am grateful for. It’s a fun exercise I’m always finding the most peculiar things to be grateful for.

Forgive myself for yesterday’s mistakes. Through self forgiveness (and I’m all about forgiveness these days) I find I cleanse myself of any regret and/or baggage and hence forth set myself up to start the new day with just a focus on the present.

For no particular reason other than to flex the muscle I like to smile for about a minute.

To wake up my body up and for mental clarity I take five long deep saturating breaths in and out (the in through your nose, feel it in your lungs  and out through your mouth kind).

I like to give my eyes a bit of a workout so I do a little yoga for my eyes this involves blinking, near and far viewing, side to side viewing. I know this sounds a little woo woo but we live in the age of smart devices, and I already wear glasses for seeing long distances so I’m trying to limit further damage to my eyesight.

You know that saying start as you mean to go on that is why I like to set my intention for the day first thing in the morning, it helps to focus my mind.

And then it is time to meditate as the sun rises.

Tell me about your mornings: Are you a morning person? Do you have any kind of early morning routine?

Sat Nam


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mood lifters

In a funk? Get out the wrong side of the bed this morning?

When we were young my brother and I would play cards or crank up some music and dance. In the beginning I think we did these activities as some kind of bonding ritual but as we got older we continued because they put us in a happy place. I still smile when I think of those times. We all need mood lifters at one time or another, these are mine:

Be Grateful: This is my number one mood lifter as its easy and can be done anywhere. Whenever I have a ‘rainy days and Mondays’ moment, I construct a gratitude list (either mental or written). A list whereby I go through everything I am grateful for (my support network, technology, food that I eat, the sun, grass, the air I breathe….). There is so much to be grateful for, we really do live in a friendly universe. You will find that as you go on with the list your mood will visibly change.

Brain Dump: Sometimes when you are low it can be constructive to let all your feelings out. I call it a brain dump where I write how I feel for 10 minutes and then walk away. No need to read it over, the act of writing helps to make me feel better. By the time I have finished I am usually feeling much better.

Daydream: Visualize what life would look like if things were going the way you would want it to.  Then, for the next few minutes, imagine you are acting a part in a play. Speak and walk and behave as your ideal self living your ideal life OR take a virtual vacation. Look up a place you have always wanted to go on Google (I used to work with someone who was always planning their next trip, she would spend her lunchtimes meticulously organising trips to amazing lands and she was always happy – coincidence I think not!)  OR still using Google look up the address of your childhood home. Have an imaginary conversation with the kid who used to live there. What would you say to them?

Deep Breathing Exercises: Anytime someone comes to me saying they are anxious about a situation in their life, the first words out of my mouth are ‘deep breaths, take 3 deep breaths…’ The way we breathe affects the whole body. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel and your body is able to enter into a relaxed state.

Get out of the house/Go for a walk: A change of scenery can do wonders – and not just because you are exercising the physical body – this simple act helps to clear your head and allows your creative juices to flow. I get many ideas away from my computer; often I will be out walking and will have to stop to record or write an idea AND besides being out with nature and people – soaking up your environment – helps you to recognise that you are but one little cog in this big universe.

Give: There is nothing like the act of giving to those in need to make you feel appreciative of the life you lead. Visit your elderly neighbours, walk dogs at an animal shelter, feed the homeless at a food shelter, teach English, or assist with special needs children. Do your research and you will find a group that can use your talents and skills. If time is an issue give a £10 donation to a charity you believe in. In these times of austerity every cent counts.

Laugh: Did you know it is impossible to have negative thoughts when you are laughing? So laugh; watch a funny movie or youtube video/laugh with friends/watch children…  whatever it takes to make you laugh. My current go tos: a little bit of Ellen and a whole lot of Modern Family.

Listen to Music: I think this will resonate with everyone. Isn’t it pure magic how a tune can instantly change a mood and take you on a journey? Love it.

Meditate: I have incorporated meditation into my daily life for nearly two years now. Its easy to do (as with everything it gets easier with practice) and you can do it anywhere. I once spent an entire plane ride from Sydney to Brisbane meditating.  For a simple meditation try this for 5 to 10 minutes:  Sit and listen to the flow of your breath. When your mind begins to wander, gently pull your awareness back to your slow, deep breathing.

Offload: What’s that saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’? Well my best friend knows this well as I am always offloading on her. Sharing how you feel with someone else can help you gain a different perspective to how you are feeling and/or help you to find solutions that you weren’t arriving at on your own.

Just remember however you are feeling right now ‘this too will pass’.

Love