Happy 2021

Whew, what a year 2020 has been!!!

Finally it’s on its way out teaching us some really harsh but necessary lessons.

The most important one being that we all have infinite reserves of inner strength that can see us through challenging times.

Let me begin by saying a prayer for the millions lives lost this year. May you be at peace wherever you are.

A huge gratitude to God and all of God’s helpers with their selfless service and who made life breathable for many of us- So grateful to be alive.

Having said that I know what I would like my 2021 to be like. For one, I don’t want to plan anything in the coming year. I just want to be able to live each day of my life fully, without fear, with lots of gratitude and in the knowledge that whatever is meant for me will make its way towards me and I want to welcome that with open arms, open heart and an open mind.

Wishing you all a wonderful & happy 2021. May you Live and Give Lovingly.

Good health, Peace and Prosperity wished to all of you

Madhavi ❤

What’s your IKIGAI?

Diagram of Japanese ikigai concept

Things have been extremely difficult for all of us for the past few months. No one would have ever anticipated this pandemic that has gripped our lives.

We have all some time or the other heard stories of war, partition, epidemics and holocaust from our parents/grandparents. And now as we grope to come to terms with this situation I am sure this story of our own struggle and survival will be shared with our own grandchildren.

However , as we continue trying to find some semblance into our ‘not so normal’ life and coming to terms with our new reality , there’s no better time than now to refocus our energies, and really plan out our hopes and goals for the future.

While most of the world’s population is struggling with unemployment and loss of life of their loved ones, we are still trying to find the truth of our own reality and are looking out for a better way to fully embrace everything life has in store for us.

Enter ikigai, the age-old Japanese ideology. A combination of the Japanese words “iki” which translates to “life,” and “gai”, which is used to describe value or worth, ikigai is all about finding joy in life through purpose.

In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.

The origin of the word ikigai goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). Clinical psychologist and avid expert of the ikigai evolution, Akihiro Hasegawa released a research paper in 2001 where he wrote that the word “gai” comes from the word “kai” which translates to “shell” in Japanese.

During the Heian period, shells were extremely valuable, so the association of value is still inherently seen in this word. It can also be seen in similar Japanese words like hatarakigai, which means the value of work, or yarigai ~ga aru , meaning “it’s worth doing it.”

“Gai” is the key to finding your purpose, or value in life. Basically it’s all about overlapping four main qualities: what you are good at, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and of course, what you love.

Many sociologists, scientists, and journalists have researched and hypothesized the usefulness and truth behind this particular phenomenon, and they’ve come to a number of very interesting conclusions. One particular theory is that ikigai can make you live longer and with more purpose and direction.

What’s your ikigai?

Each one of us has certain habits that shape our day. Our routines of daily activity form what’s most important as you begin each day to what’s not.

It could be doing some form of exercise early morning before doing anything else or praying as you wake , followed by getting all the normal things one does sets the pace for the routine as the day advances.

I start mine with yoga followed by my hot steaming cuppa chai and reading the newspaper.

And then I get down to my blogging, or any other writing, for about an hour or so. That way I have dedicated time to my health and one of the activities that give ikigai to my life- which is writing. This gives me a sense of having accomplished in doing something I am passionate about. I then get to organize the day and all the other random things.

You have to understand one thing- ikigai is not always about financial endeavors. Having a hobby that you can dedicate your time to, raising a family, or being able to work and make steps towards diving deep into that passion project you’ve always fantasized about, are all ikigai.

If you’re feeling lost or unsure about what your ikigai is, there are a number of ways to refocus your mind and purpose.

It doesn’t matter whether “you are a teaching, the mother of a newborn child or a Michelin-starred chef’ – if you can find pleasure and satisfaction in what you do and you’re good at it, congratulations you have found your ikigai.”

Basically all you need is to “gain awareness of the current status of your life.”

Don’t fret if you haven’t found yours yet. Just go with the flow of life. Research has uncovered that just like music taste, fashion and, opinions, a person’s ikigai can change and morph with age. And it’s never too late to start doing anything at any age in life and then enjoying it .

Now, when the world order is changing, it’s time to refocus on yourself, your passions and embrace the larger picture that is life.

]f you can find pleasure and satisfaction in what you do and you’re good at it, congratulations you have found your ikigai.

Madhavi

 

Know Yourself

original-knowing-yourself

But the question here is how? How do I know who is the real me?

Finding oneself may be searching for the purpose of your life to say it in a broader sense. But actually, it is finding and knowing yourself through the innumerable priceless moments you experience daily. Life is not some kind of a board game, which you have to play it in one go from start to finish.

Life has many ‘rasas’. (Rasa is a Sanskrit word and has many translations in English, the main ones being: essence, juice, nectar, taste, or sap.)

Rasa is in everything, or I should say… everything has Rasa. Though some things have a higher vibrational essence, others have lower. Rasa is the invisible substance that gives life meaning.

Quoting Aristotle, who said ‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” 

To truly know yourself is the most important skill you can ever possess. When you know who you are, you will instinctively know what you need to do, instead of looking for permission from others.

And the best way to find this is to be still. Meditate. Look within. Just be with your own some lonesome. It is a perfect time to be one with yourself and evaluating yourself. That’s when you are truly truthful about you and every other facet of your life.

Many people don’t know themselves because any sort of silence scares them; it’s too uncomfortable to be alone with every flaw staring back at them. But being quiet and discovering your true self is so highly addictive.

Find what you are good at (and not good at).This might be the most difficult step in the process of finding who you are, but it’s a necessary one. Give yourself ample time of trial and error to find what you’re good at, and don’t give up before you’ve had more than enough attempts.

Quit only when your efforts aren’t giving back in return. What is ample time? Only you can decide that. But when you quit correctly, it isn’t giving up, it’s making room for something better. When your actions do nothing but drain you—rather than produce more passion and increase your drive to do more—that’s a good sign it is time to focus elsewhere.

This will also lead you realizing where your true passion lies. Pay attention

And if you think asking a friend or a family member what they have to say about you could help, go ahead and do that. Of course, their opinion isn’t going to be perfect, but their feedback will probably indicate a few areas you may want to at least take a second look at.

A large aspect of knowing yourself can be found in your relationships. Almost as much as you need to know yourself, other people also need to know who you are. People need you—the real you.

Because when you understand who you are meant to be, your purpose will finally become bigger than your fears.

And remember to stop chasing people. If they block you or cut off contact with you or ignore you, let them go. The ones who enjoy your energy and what you bring to the table will naturally gravitate towards you. Stop trying to ‘prove your worth’ and cling on to relationships just because they made you happy once. Let them off and cherish those who want you and want to be with you by their own free will and not because you want them to be.

Finding what you really want from your life is going to be a tough call. You will have to let go of a lot of things that you held close to your heart.

Pay close attention to those moments that leave you truly satisfied and happy? That’s the voice of your soul calling.

You may have heard the phrase – “do not settle.” Understand this. We are all meant for great things and eventually we all come together to form a great world.

Nothing stops us but our limited thoughts.

Nothing helps us grow like our imagination.

Do not let your fears kill your dreams or potential.

Challenge your fears and make them disappear.

Your greatest strength has always been You .

And remember to-

‘Love yourself the way you wish to be loved by others’.

-M

Wrinkles

me

Let no one deprive me of the wrinkles of my forehead.

Or the bags under my eyes.

It is the memory of the days,

Of how much I worried and cried.

Oh those tiny lines near my lips,

Show how much I laughed and how much I kissed.

The smile on my mouth,

Hides the words I didn’t say.

And the pain in my eyes,

Shadow the hurt that lies there.

These lines and these scars are mine.

And they make me beautiful.

They tell stories of,

All the hurt and the pain,

Of all the love and the gain,

Of all my victories and defeats,

And most of all,

These wrinkles …well they show you,

They show you the real me.

 

Red Lipstick

red lipstick

Red Lipstick of little hope –  A good write up by  Twinkle Khanna

My grandmother is 77. She has perfectly coloured hair with not a root in sight, her nails artfully manicured and her clothes always immaculate. I tease her about her interest in all these superficial things and she exclaims that I, in my dal-stained jeans, have always been a total disgrace to the family. Every Friday, she goes for her prayers in the prettiest cotton saris with a string of pearls around her neck.

What is so extraordinary about her story, you may wonder?

She is a woman who has seen three out of her four children die before her very eyes.
Sometimes I think the tiny joy she gets from her little indulgences is what keeps her going and distracts her from the anguish she must have gone through seeing what she has.

My childhood friends – two lovely sisters – lost their mother a few years ago. When I went for the prayer meeting, I was slightly taken aback to see them wearing a lot of makeup. I would have judged them as very shallow if I had not been close to their family and knew how much they had loved their mother and how devastated they were at her demise. Maybe this was their way of getting through this terrible day, maybe they needed a mask to keep everything together, maybe their mom who I had never seen without a large bright bindi on her forehead, would be the only one who understood

My friend recently separated from her husband. She now lives alone with her young daughter, goes to the gym every single day and is looking like a million bucks. Her wardrobe has changed dramatically from kurtas to pretty dresses. Every once in a while, we catch up for coffee and each time I see her, she seems to look leaner, fitter and happier.

I go to visit a family friend in the hospital. She has been dealing with cancer for a while now and though she is lucky to have tremendous family support, only she knows what it is like to deal with fear and pain on a daily basis. She is sitting in her hospital bed in her pajamas, with a turban jauntily perched on her head. And on her lips, she is wearing the brightest, happiest red lipstick. When I ask her about it, she says that whenever she feels low and run down, she puts on her lipstick and it just cheers her up tremendously.

A pretty dress, a new haircut, a string of pearls are all trivial material things that should not matter because they have nothing to do with our inner self, but we forget that our physical form is strongly connected to our identity. It is how we interact with the world around us.

When my family friend puts on her red lipstick, she is telling the world that she still has HOPE.

There is no one of us who doesn’t experience problems in life…Never allow them to drag you down….Sometimes, the only thing you have left is HOPE.

Hope that every tomorrow of yours is more special than yesterday..

On that note …Put on the Red Lipstick. Adjust the crown on your head and Face the world!!

Madhavi    Related image

 

 

 

PC:Shutterstock

Put on your Oxygen Mask FIRST!

oxygen

PC:Anspach Media

If you have ever flown on an airplane, you will be well aware of this.

Prior to departure the flight attendants always give out the same instructions.

They show passengers how to fasten their seat belts, they point out the nearest emergency exits and then they explain to you what will happen in case there is a dip in oxygen pressure inside the cabin.

They tell you that the masks will automatically drop down. And then they ask you to put on your mask on first before helping others.

Only when your mask is put on firmly, should you assist others. Whether they are your children, the love of your life, or your neighbour.

You put on your mask FIRST.

Because otherwise, you will run out of air too.

Yet in life we always take a different approach.

We put others and their needs first

We say yes to things we don’t want to do, to avoid disappointing a friend, we take up jobs we don’t want to do just to keep our parents proud and happy, we spend money on useless things just to impress people we don’t even like.

We forget to put on our own mask first

So what is the secret to positive energy?

It’s very simple. Be very clear about your selfishness

When you are working out at the gym, the instructor often tells you to lift, rest and recover. You have to follow life’s instructions in much the same way.

You have to take care of yourself every single day otherwise You won’t have the energy to take care of others.

metaphor

Spreading happiness can only come from the initial place of happiness. Selflessness can only come from selfishness.

It may sound mean, but ironically being selfish is the only kind thing you can do, if you want to help others.

There is a difference between being self centered and being “selfish” in the traditional sense of the word. The word “selfish” almost always has a negative connotation (like caring only about you while disregarding others) but it’s time to re-brand the word in order to highlight how healthy and productive selfishness can be.

The “good” side of selfishness is that you take care of yourself enough to be in top form for doing whatever you want to spend energy on — taking care of your kids, excelling at your job, and maintaining great relationships.

In fact, even staying alive requires a certain amount of “selfishness.” You have to eat. You have to sleep. You have to rest. These are examples of a necessary and healthy selfishness. So why shouldn’t you ditch the guilt and feel good about putting yourself first?

Remember to investing in yourself as much as you invest in others.

The happier, healthier, and more self-fulfilled you are, the more you’ll have to give to people who matter most to you. You’ll have more time for the things you love. When you make a specific effort to put yourself first on your list of priorities, you necessarily live a more mindful life. You learn to be your own advocate. So “fill your own cup first”.

Like being on that airplane, focus on putting on your mask first.

Say no to that pointless meeting and enjoy your lunch break.

Say no to that college major and focus on studying what you really enjoy.

Make your passion your job, and not the other way around.

Take a break, listen to the sound of your mind and your body, to avoid burning out.

And when you have figured that out you will bring happiness not only to yourself but to everyone around you.

 

Be happy!

Madhavi 

 

 

A time to Introspect.

 

2018-new-year-background-with-clock-vector-18560433

It’s almost the end of 2018.

There were so many things I wanted to do this year.

So many dreams were waiting to be fulfilled. And I haven’t even started doing some of them yet. The idea is still stuck in the corner my head for the past few months. But then reality took over and I haven’t been able to actually write them down in black and white and manifesting them. Nonetheless I haven’t forgotten about them.

There are people I have been wanting to meet. It’s been too long and I haven’t seen them. They have taken up too much space in my thoughts but I haven’t been able to see them in the flesh. The pain does get unbearable at times, and the void seems even bigger. The plans were made but like it always is the case-Life happened. The plans are lying on the back burner waiting and bidding its time.

Some of the promises I made to myself at the beginning of the year were fulfilled while some are waiting in the wings with bated breath, staring back at me with pain and sorrow in their eyes.

As I am getting older, I have realised that the feeling of being contented with life is evading me. There are so many things I want to learn. There are so many doors that have to be unlocked. There are so many beautiful places in the world I still have to travel to and experience. There are so many moments in the day that I want to be alive to. I know I am getting even more impatient and greedy to accomplish some of ‘what I really want and close to my heart’ dreams before I kick the bucket.

And as 2018 is coming to an end, I hope I don’t lug the baggage of my previous years with me and stop stressing over the what ifs that I cannot change.

I hope I walk into the New Year with my eyes and my heart open to see the marvellous things around me and see God’s hand in everything.

I hope to forgive myself and the people who have caused me pain and give both of us a clean slate to start over.

I hope to be more thankful for inhaling every new day with a healthy mind, body and spirit.

I hope to be really close to my friends, and to also find new people who infuse me with their positivity and zest for life. People, who will love me and respect me, people who mean it when they say they care.

I hope to look at the sun and let all the shadows fall behind me.

And I hope to convert my two steps forward, two steps backward stance of my life into a groovy dance move.

And finally as 2018 comes to an end, I hope I am blessed enough by God’s grace to press the restart button and begin life afresh.

After all – IT’S MY LIFE!!!

Happiness is ….some “Comfort Food”

cf1

Eating is one of the primal sensual pleasures in life. Tucking into steaming hot biryani or a delicious bowl of ice cream can be a real joy and something that makes life really seem worthwhile.

 

Happiness and food are really highly connected, from the pleasure of cooking and eating, to the changes in brain chemistry that food can bring about. We have always eaten for distraction or consolation or just to enhance our sense of well- being.

But after bingeing on the delicacies during any festivity, there are some days the body or rather the soul yearns for “comfort food”. The Oxford English dictionary included a definition of comfort food sometime in 1997, but the idea of feeding ones emotion is far older.

Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to food associated with the security of childhood, like grandma’s home cooked meal or mom’s favourite stew or just a simple bowl of  hot chicken broth.

Imagine this -It’s a chilly, rainy winter day and you’re soaked through to the marrow. You had an awfully horrendous day at work, and hey! Look you just noticed a few wrinkles near your eyes. And to make matters worse you got dumped, you got dumped, you got dumped…

What do you do now? Stuff your face, of course.

While the causes of misery might differ, one thing’s for sure — when life turns sour, most of us go for something sweet, or savoury, or plain, no nonsense comforting homemade food. A dish that has restorative properties, has sentimental appeal, and is insanely delicious. Ideally they are soups, stews, mac n cheese, pizzas, pancakes ,egg dishes, French fries, stir fried noodles or fudgey brownies etc. just to name a few.

There seems to be a consistent connection between negative emotions and unhealthy foods. For example, chocolate which has a strong effect on mood, generally increasing pleasant feelings and reducing tension.

We also tend to associate certain foods with members of our family, social gatherings, and people taking care of us. So when we feel lonely we crave for these foods to give us comfort and security.

Loneliness, depression, and guilt or even success, were all found to be key drivers of comfort eating. Foods like ice cream, pasta or mashed potatoes, release energy very quickly into the bloodstream and elevate moods.

Honestly, it’s a bit unbelievable how my diet and emotional well-being are so closely tied. While its different with each culture and people, for me a bowl of hot ramen or a dish made from leftover rice stir fried with some veges and spices aka as Khichdi served along with some fried papadums is my ultimate go to comfort food.

 

What is yours? Leave a comment below and let me know!

The Joy of Giving

 

Image result for joy of giving

 

“Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep”.

We encounter so many moments, when we start realizing the true meaning of life and its impact on others.  One such moment comes with the “joy of giving”.

Helping someone out who is less fortunate than you should be one of the basic human traits. Giving may not always be about money or wealth. Generosity is just one of the aspects of giving. It’s a lot more to do with kindness, helpfulness, unselfishness, sacrifice, service, love etc.

We all know how great it feels to receive gifts. However, the joy of getting is short-lived. Our lives are made richer when we share, and that great inner joy comes from helping others to better their lives. When we do good to others, we receive great happiness.

Giving takes you out of yourself and allows you to expand beyond material limitations. Mother Teresa is a famous example. She found fulfilment in giving of herself to others. She helped change many a life from distress and fear to calmness and serenity.

In our lives we have received so much from other people—parents, friends, teachers, relatives, strangers etc. but we never forget that many a times help arrived from those quarters from where you had least expected.

It has been my experience that when you’re motivated on giving to others you’re less likely to become consumed by your own worries and challenges. Giving provides an occasion to look beyond our own world and see the bigger picture.

Giving is one of the best investments you can make towards achieving genuine happiness. When you give to another unselfishly, the vibrational energy emitting from your subconscious is at its strongest. If you find yourself feeling unhappy, try making someone else happy and see what happens. If you’re feeling empty and unfulfilled, try doing some meaningful and worthwhile work and see how you feel.

When we give, we reap the joy of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears of joy and gratitude for life.

The Joy of Giving week is celebrated from 2nd October till 8th October. It is also known as Daan Utsav in India – a festival of philanthropy, where people , Corporates, NGO’s and various other sectors, engage in CSR through “acts of giving”, either with money, time or resources.

Wishing you much love in the “Joy of Giving Week”

Image result for giving