Day 14: State of Fear

Alright, as soon I hitched onto reading books, I have neglected blogging and yoga practice. Both of which made me look forward for a lovely day with action plan. Diverting from discipline entailed eating food outside every day.  Essentially, everything cracked through the holes. This is my 4th book that I read in last month, which is phenomenal. Yes, the title is the book authored by Michael Crichton, a techno-thriller novel which speaks heavily about Global warming, climate change and how environmentalists, lawyers, industrialists, philanthropists, scientists and academicians are involved in this environmental aspect that we hear about from various means. I have not finished reading it yet, but I highly recommend reading this. I have read different kinds of fictions in the past; it has been the best so far for my taste. The characters in the book challenge about our idea of global warming, rising sea-levels, weather trends gathered over 100 years and all of them quoted with proper science journals and research papers. As much as it sounds like a fiction, there is some sense of reality in it if you dig further based on the references provided in the book?

This is not a review of the book by any means. As I progress in reading, I have heard of global warming, rising sea levels, environmental impact with high carbon emissions, destruction of natural eco-system, rising temperatures, or moving towards ice age or melting of Antarctic glaciers seems all questionable. The knowledge I have on them is very limited, I have used the terms here and there without really knowing about them. There are many of us who just take the stance and speak of it without really knowing anything about it; our opinions are media generated. For instance, everyone thinks that the humans being killed have gone up in the recent past, but in reality, in the history, this is the time that it is at the lowest.  We would know what happens around the world with in seconds of incident taking place. Information overload and this cause a state of fear. Sure, there is certainly no doubt that average life expectancy of human beings has gone up at by considerable rate, but we perpetually are afraid of something or the other all the time. We are afraid and depressed most of the times learning about all the dreadful things. My father watches news almost all day when he is at home. The news are repeated over and again, mostly speaking about threats that impact us in a negative way. People are afraid of the things which may not happen, pessimism builds in. This has indirect health impact on us. We are constantly sucked into the fear factor generated by media.  Is this good? Gone or those days, where I just had to watch 30 minutes of news to get summary of news, and you know now how it is?

Are we ever going to break free from that state of mind? I am not very sure how easy it is when everything around you is pointing in one direction and it is certainly does not get any easier to find your own path.  Do you believe in whatever media propagates? Or do you dig further up on it to gain knowledge about it before sticking to whatever gets into your head? How do you handle such information?

Day 13: Year-end ramblings begin

I cannot possibly come to terms with the time lapse this year. How it flew by while life happens without much progress. The pending things from last year still remain and some of them have been taking a toll on my brain’s will power resulting in extra grey hair. The irony is that they are as small tasks as it takes an hour or a day at most, but I continue procrastinating.  The greyness in my hair increased drastically over the course of last year. It does not help that other than the pending list that I have to get over with for a peace of mind, the constant question I get asked by my colleagues, friends and family every time I interact with them on becoming a parent adds another level of stress with me being in 30’s and the biological clock’s ticking away as years passes by. Now, why is this every body’s business?. At times, I am at wits end and that is making me more creative in my responses.  This becomes unbearable especially, when I have had difficult day. This is exactly the same pressure I felt when I was single.

Looking back, the pressure was always there- the typical societal standards are to go to school – get good grades, crack the entrance exams, get a job, get married, have kids, take care of elders, take care of kids by sacrificing your career, become old and expect that kids will take care of you when you get immobile. Just writing it down made me cringe. At the end of the day, majority of us more or less follow that path, albeit differently, in our own way, with our convenience, additionally doing what we can as situations and Will Power permits. It is that Will Power to do what you want when everyone is against it happens only when you have faith in yourself. Now, who is everyone? You get to define that. If that everyone includes just you – then you are the person to convince to go ahead. It’s funny how many of us use everyone says that, everyone thinks that way and so on, and we use it as a matter of fact. Speaking of which, there was an instance where, when my mother was commenting about something that I had brought, and she kept on using the term “Everyone dislikes that”? Now, I was curious and had to ask who all said that? She just named one person and that person does not have any knowledge in that area to even have an opinion about it. My mother did not know either; she just passed the comment along without giving any thought until I questioned her. This made her think.

It is easier to blame others for our feelings for certain conversations. The fact is that people in general just speak about various things and it is human nature to be curious about everything. I do that too.  It is like “Good Morning”, “How are you doing?”, they mean nothing until we start giving weightage in our head. It nails down to how you associate your feelings with what other’s had to speak with you and over analyzing takes away the joyful spirit in that. It’s all in the mind. It certainly is. Which is of course hard to master, but it’s not impossible.

Are you all looking back as well? How are you feeling about it?

Day 12: Showing up

I have been reading this book by Scott Adams, a Dilbert cartoonist, who emphasized the fact of showing up whether you feel like it or not. The context is more specific to exercising. Of course, he spoke about many aspects of his life and some take-a-ways that may or may not apply to everyone, but it gave me an interesting perspective in certain spheres of life. Early winter time and getting late to bed at times wanted me push aside my daily yoga routine. This is when, I willed to at least dress up, show up at class even though I did not do my best in doing Asanas was one thing I consistently did. In the last month, I can say I did yoga 80% of the total time allocated, which is a great achievement for me.

Although, I could not extend this to other areas of my routines yet, I am planning to expand it slowly. The author Scott Adams emphasized on setting up the system and not goals. What he means by it is, system is a routine and you would most likely to continue. Whereas, goals once achieved, we usually feel satisfied and give up on them. Also, if we fail in the system, we do not feel that bad but when we fail to achieve goals we do get de-motivated. Slight shift in perspective and changing the attitude will go a long way in times of trying to achieve something.  Due to my recently acquired habit of rising early, not only was I able to have a discipline of exercising , eating, sleeping all on time, but also I feel great and happy for achieving just those in my life.

There are many areas that I could just show up even if that is for other’s benefits. Showing up to support them in their endeavors means a lot to them. For instance, I am not a big fan of attending baby or bridal showers unless I am actively participating in organizing the event. You barely get to talk to the host, showing up means to have given a precious gift of time and attention to them, and other material gifts of course.  If the hosts show up late, that is totally different thing, which happens more frequently in my universe.   Does it happen to you?  Baby showers, birthdays and farewells are the most common thing at my work place, I show up, it’s simple, small and we all participate in organizing, decorating, brainstorming ideas and getting gifts. Most importantly it is one of a kind bonding with colleagues. It’s fun afternoon. Short is sweet.

Writing blog every day is like showing up, I think about it and hardly get to write. Writing a blog post itself presents challenge, but writing 500 words is clearly the most difficult task. Don’t you all agree? I have hit writer’s block several times. I cannot begin to tell you – how thoughts do not flow many a times. No wonder, you see delay in my posts. I hope to come back to this place sometime sooner than later. Until then, enjoy the end of year!

 

Day 11 : Willpower

There is only so much of willpower for anyone in any given day. I have taken on so many things professionally that it is creeping into my personal space. In fact, I hardly differentiate between my professional and personal setting.  And that is a problem, I spend my nights and weekends stressing about solving some business problem, and during business hours I think about doing something outside work space that will keep me motivated and look forward with positive energy every day.   But, I would like to draw a line between these two areas and focus on what is important and should get done during the time allocated. There are exceptions, of course.  As long as those exceptions do not become routine, that should balance both lives well.

Blog post a day was one of the activity that I undertook few weeks back. I slacked. No excuse. Although, I have tried to write at times but never went beyond few lines due to some or the other distraction. At times, the topics or the flow just does not strike. That de-motivated to me by some extent. Also, writing is like meditation, you would need a quiet place, with no overweighing items in your head to focus on. Things have been rough lately and I am trying to get better with my time management.

Given, so much going on in my daily life, that to say is not even significant to call it out. Those daily mundane chores, the commute, the challenging work, the TV shows, my re-addition of reading books, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping,  yoga and phone calls are taking away my what-so-ever little willpower that I have.  In addition to those, there are more responsibilities around inviting people, travelling to meet family, friends, pending tasks that need my attention. To sum up, there are way too many one does, which will make you pick one over the other if there is more work. So, when the thought of playing piano occurred or reading a book happened, I had to give up something to accommodate that. How does it work for you?

Where do you get that willpower from? What motivates you to live your life fully? Sure, there are times that I just do not want to do anything. This morning was difficult for me to wake up, I have been watching supernatural shows and I dreamt about paranormal activities leading to not-so-restful sleep. I had to battle within to make it to yoga. I had difficulties in doing regular yoga poses. I over ate yesterday night, and was well de-hydrated all day yesterday due to heavy workload. I guess, all of these got culminated into me wanting to hold on to sustain my willpower. It is not a bed of flowers every day. There are some thorns surfacing once in a while, all we need is to pick them out as much as you can.

One thing that worked for me so far in going to my yoga class every day is that I did not have a goal. I took each day as it came. And that is what I am striving towards in some other areas of life.

One day at a time for the greater good.

P.S: Looking forward to hear from you on what motivates you every day to have the willpower you need to get going?

Day 10: Breakfast routine

Do you have a breakfast routine?  What does it comprise of?

By writing those two sentences above, I just learned the grammatical difference between Do and Does. And when should each be used.  You must have figured it out by now the huge number of grammatical errors in my writings.  Ok, the topic was not about grammar but about breakfast.

I have been averaging to 5 hours of yoga in a week, i.e 5 classes. The classes are missed mainly coz my instructor cancels at least one morning class in a given week and I on the other occasion. I have been having pretty light dinners lately and that will make me very hungry in the mornings. I am looking at simple but healthy choice of food(s) that gives me enough protein, calcium and all important nutrients that are necessary for a balancing meal. Please share if you have any suggestions that are easy to assimilate into my routine.

One of the ideas is to have lentil/oat creeps, soak the lentils of different varieties, grind them up and spread it out on a hot flat pan. Have it with hummus/peanut sauce/tahini or with any steam cooked veggie combinations every day.  Lunch should be simpler that it should be no brainer and I have not settled on some ideas yet. I know that I have been going back and forth on simplifying the menu and never getting around it. I have also noticed that, I am consistently ignoring to include greens in my diet.  Making it a point to include diverse range of options is very challenging. And which is why, I am on lookout for simple, yet nutritious meals to consume.

Someone said, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.  Something of similar sort has been suggested by my yoga instructor in order for me to bend flexibly during yoga session.  But, I love my food and prefer to have really heavy dinner. Since, my love for yoga exceeds love for food at the moment; I am trying my best to be conscious on what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat along with the amount of water I consume on a daily basis.  I have also ingrained into my morning routine to have lemon-honey-warm-water combination first thing as soon as I wake up to help kick start my metabolism.

It feels good to know that, once you kick start one thing, without forcing yourself, you would be doing other things and it all feels very natural and logical. Do you have any such things, that you have started as an experiment and that gradually put you in a path that you once thought was difficult to get there? I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Please share.

Writing this post today made me look into usage of has vs have, that vs which, do vs does and as vs since. I hope to learn, remember and correct myself when the opportunity presents itself in the near future.

I’ll leave you all with a quote on food to ponder upon:

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

Day 9 : Introspection begins

Suddenly, I get this energy surge to fix the things in life that I have been complaining everyday. Most of them are easily do-able and others are bit challenging to accomplish. I decided to tackle the things that I can and check the progress day by day. That got me into a certain routine to do house hold chores, cooking an evening meal and inviting friends or family over was rejuvenating. Yes, almost a day spent on those chores, but it’s been just two weekends and I am hopeful it will only get better with time. Plus, home feels so tidy and puts me in a position to fix other areas. I wonder how that feels if I get done with those pending things and keep up with other upcoming tasks. I could do more.

That surge in energy did not last much longer, but I want to hold onto that thought everyday. The feeling was beautiful and relaxed me to greater extent. My mind is very funny, not sure when and why it does. I am still in the process of understanding it. For some unknown reason, I get these thoughts on if I am wasting my limited time on earth doing things that I am not very fond of? I mulled over the thought of quitting my current day job. Hey, but that’s my lively hood and I get to explore other areas because of that. Now, giving all that up will definitely throw me into financial crisis and challenge me. Nor, do I know what I really like to do. I have no answer, so I continue to find which parts do I really like in my professional world and just focus on expanding that area.  Writing these thoughts here makes me find some clarity in my own thoughts. Does that happen to you?

With yoga practice along with listening to the audible book that I wrote about in my earlier blog post,  to some extent is subtly impacting my thought process.  Not that it always happens positively, today was challenging to do a simple yoga pose. I noticed that, if I feel happy and content before I start yoga, it is easy and time passes by so quickly. But, for the same set of Asanas/poses, if I had any disturbing thoughts, it is just hard to focus on simplest of asana and time goes slower.  I am trying to understand what sets my mood. Paying attention to my thoughts had been interesting so far and hopefully it continues.  How about you? Do you know yourself better?  What steps do you take to introspect your own self?

I’ll leave you with some quotes on thoughts for you:

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  – Socrates

“whatever you think that you will be.
if you think yourself weak,weak you will be;
if you think yourself strong,you will be”
― Swami Vivekananda

P.S: This is part of 500 word challenge, if you skip a day, you pick where you have left and continue. That is exactly what I did.  And yes, there were no edits done.

 

 

Day 8: Waking up early

It is natural that when you sleep early, you would be up early. As simple as it may sound, with so many distractions and stress levels at home and work these days does not make it easy.  I read lot of articles on the benefits of waking up early and starting the day early, followed robin sharma’s blog on 5 am club, none of them got me started.  Wishing to do is one thing, but actually doing is another. In India, especially in a village setting, the entire village wakes up before sun rises, get many things accomplished and end the day soon. It was easy to follow, it was also cultural and it has lot to do with social dependencies.

In the current time frame, I hardly make social contact to get the work done. I order everything online, there are professional services for everything. I spend hours together on the internet without any time or energy left for social interactions. There is no boundary between when the day ends and the next begins. I would sleep late in the night, wake up groggy, and start my day late, swamped with meetings or urgent but not important work makes up for most part of my day. This has been a continuing trend for most part of my life, ever since I started working.

It often happens when I visit India, I’ll come back with jet lag, that one week is so fruitful as I get to start my day early with renowned spirit, get things accomplished, feel great and go to bed early. Those times, are something I truly wish to happen every day. A week or two into that, I am back to pavilion. But, this time around I wanted to continue waking up early, once you get addicted to morning routine, it is hard to break the habit.  I am not there yet. And that is one of the main reason I started yoga in the morning hours, having a plan or goal to work on early in the day, will make you look forward to it.  No amount of preaching will do, only when you experience the bliss of starting your day early is when you get to do it. It is as simple as that. And it is often simple things are hard to achieve. Don’t you think so?

Well, it is very early of morning journey to speak the benefits, but in the last 2 weeks, all I can say is – my weekdays and weekends were productive to some extent. It is getting better by day and I just hope and try very hard to not slip back into my previous routine.

If you are determined to wake up early in the morning, but find it hard to do so, here are few useful tips that helped me. It took me a while to get there and the work is still in progress.

  1. Going to bed early does not come that easy for a late night person.
  2. Start in 15 minute increments, go to bed 15 minutes early, wake up 15 mins early and continue improving day by day in 15 minute increments. It does not take much toll on you and it is very realistic until you start feeling natural.
  3. Most importantly, you need to have a morning routine to get you going and feel inspired to continue. Like going to gym, taking a walk or anything that excites you to get started. Yoga excites me, and so as writing on something (not always, but I am enjoying it so far)
  4. Stick to some routines and that makes your transition easier.

Please add if you have any additional tips that helped you and who knows that might help me and also others?  Are you a morning person? If so, how does that feel?

P.S: This is part of 500 word challenge, if you skip a day, you pick where you have left and continue. That is exactly what I did.  And yes, there were no edits done.

Day 7: This moment

I have been listening to Practicing Mindfulness, an introductory course to meditation on audible. It has been there ever since I got added on to the audible few years’ back, this particular topic never got my attention until very recent.  It does not end without saying that how serious was I in getting into yoga, purchased the books, researched few yoga institutes in India for teacher training course.  That thought gradually faded when I was told that I need to have a regular practice of yoga asanas for at least 6 months. I joined yoga class, but I was extremely intermittent, maybe that’s not the right term to use, I would go to 3 classes per year at the most. Anyhow, that never progressed any further.

I digressed too much; coming back to the audible book that I am currently listening began after few days into my yoga practice. The topic of meditation is not alien to me.  As a child, we were told to meditate, pray and sit still for longer hours in front of god during special occasions, and yes – there weren’t many distractions back then either. As the author says, we never usually stay in the present moment, our thoughts vacillate back and forth from past to future. Paying attention to present is the most difficult task. As he makes such statements, instantly my mind wanders to evaluate itself.  So, when I come back to listening, I missed out on so much and had to rewind the cursor back to the position where I lost it. He also says that, sitting with your thoughts is the most difficult thing to do. It brings varied thoughts ranging from great to worse, thoughts like anger, frustrations, grudges, resentments, goodness, serenity, happiness, pending tasks, past, future, things to do and many more that makes you want to react immediately and if you do, which you normally would leave you restless.  To avoid such thoughts, we would put the TV on, or keep ourselves busy with something or the other but does not entertain the thought of spending time along to sit back and watch our thoughts and not act on them instantaneously. That is the hard part and that is why author says it is not as exotic as the media projects itself to be.

The author also adds that, our mind is a muscle that we need to work on. For instance, if one wants to bitch about something all the time, your mind wants to do that all the time. That is why they say, the more you practice, the better you get it. Apparently, the same thing happens with our brain muscle too. Growing up, we were told to have only good thoughts all the time, without any reasoning or knowing how that helps us to stay healthy. Happy thoughts generate positive vibes and organically it surfaces to your face and radiates through.  Now, the question is how ? ..and that is why it is considered as a challenge? Living in the moment is certainly not as easy as it sounds.

How about you? What your thoughts on mediation, do you practice it? If so, how do you feel about it? Has it helped you in any areas of your life?

P.S: This is part of 500 word challenge, if you skip a day, you pick where you have left and continue. That is exactly what I did.  And yes, there were no edits done.

Day 6: Time off from screen?

I do not really know how time slips by when I sit in front of any electronic device watching videos. Minutes slip into hours , then into days, weeks and years go by. Watching the kind of shows that do, does not even improve my knowledge in anyway. Is that good? not good for health, eyes or even for brain. Like any other addiction, this is mine. Any one out there in the same league as me?

I have been trying to be intentional about watching TV, but I am just so into it that I keep postponing the thought almost indefinitely. Ever since, I started this yoga, or this 500 word challenge, not long back ago, I want to add “No Screen time” to my challenge list. Every challenge that one takes up requires immense will power and I certainly do not want to overwhelm it to an extent that I give up on everything. Looking forward to watch some TV show towards the end of the day is my little pleasure after a long day’s work. Not only that, if I were to stay home for a weekend, I would watch back to back movies on Youtube, Netflix or Amazon. I feel terrible by end of  the day for not finishing the planned tasks, or any important work that has been pending for quite a while. That incomplete work adds to my stress. The cycle repeats and the only thing I see visible is my white hair increasing rapidly.

I really want to add “Screen off” to my existing list of things, but I almost gave up writing everyday here, and gave up yoga for 3 days straight. As much as thought I have been productive, writing 500 words is time consuming and that it occupies my mind until I get this done. But, I can start in small doses instead of going all out at once. I really want to see what changes it brings into my life. Yoga and blogging are adding some dimension to my otherwise aimless life. These two activities discipline me and one that challenges my physical abilities and the other my mental abilities to some extent leading to better time management. Well, do I have a choice there? May be I’ll some day become yogi with all the serenity and looking at every situation more objectively than emotionally. Who know’s what is in the store? May be with the time I save from “Watching TV” will take me to some where interesting.

Did any one out here challenged yourself with “No Screen time”? I can only imagine how much I can accomplish if I could cut down on my screen time even by 1/4th. Now, the question is how do i motivate myself? and where do I begin with? As usual, it looks like a pattern in me to look for motivation in quotes and also represent my current state of mind – i should just collect them at one place.

“Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction”

“You can have whatever you are willing to struggle for”

P.S: This is part of 500 word challenge, if you skip a day, you pick where you left and continue. That is exactly what I did.  And yes, there were no edits done.

 

Day 5: Transformation

There are days where you just have nothing to speak or write about. The flow just does not happen. This is when I look for other sources of inspiration. On my first day of blogging for 500 day challenge,  I was suggested to use WordPress daily prompt to get ideas by thoughts36. The first thought that came to my mind, when thoughts36 suggested to write on “Transformation”  is mathematics, signals and systems and mostly Laplace Transformations. I would not go into those math details around how they are instrumental in various advancements in technology and so forth. Besides, I really do not know much about them in practical context. I have to turn the pages back to re-read to write about it here. And that is not my intention here.

Instead, we can speak of real transformation in general. The dictionary states the meaning of transformation as “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”. On the other hand, I would like to think that transformation is gradual. Sequence of things over a period of time will lead to a different phenomena. Time is variable and is relative. You might have noticed with yourself, when you look back in time, what you were like then to what you are now?  Don’t you notice differences? For instance, the way you speak or dress or think or do things, as you gain experiences , if you have any set backs or a open minded person with interest in improving in on certain things would kick this process of transformation. You may not notice unless you are conscious about it, but others will definitely, especially if you do not meet them often.

One such instance where I have not met this friend in real long time, so her perception of me stands still from that time and so as mine. So, there were some conflicts on what each other’s perception is and how we handled our differences came as a surprise to both of us. We forget, that there has been a time gap and we have had different experiences which we had not shared with each other in a long while. They come up here and there and you show up your angle as the situation demands and that is not usually what the other’s expects. This is a transformation that has changed you as a person. Here is where, either you choose to accept the difference of opinions and respect each other and continue the friendship, or if that makes you lose your peace of mind, it is probably best to not continue that friendship. It was definitely new to learn and catch up with good old friends. Oh and as you grow older, you tend to be strongly opinionated and stubborn. No wonder, you would make very few close friends as life advances. Don’t you agree?

Or there other kind of transformations, that an experience in life triggers you to take some extreme steps. What ever may be the path, life is full of experiences, transformations and more..

Do you have any stories of transformations that changed your life for good, if so, in what way?  What is the trigger? I would love to hear them.

P.S: It is part of 500 words challenge, one of the rule is to not edit and of course, I followed the rules and wrote what ever came to my mind today.