Experiences, Inspiration, Introspection, Little Moments, Ram Leela

Do it anyway!

The kids lined up to board the school bus like they always do. Ram got in and had a conversation with the driver, which was unusual for him. Just as I was wondering what it could be about, the little chat we had that morning hit me.

Ram had misplaced his mittens a week back. He was nonchalant about looking for it. Over the course of the week, we had a number of conversations around the curious case of missing mittens. “I don’t need an extra pair of gloves amma. I have another pair.” “I don’t want to look for it mommy.” I explained to him that we all lose stuff. It happens. It means we need to get better at taking care of our things and it starts by searching for what we lost. So check in the Lost and Found box at school, check in the Lost and Found box in the bus, I had advised.

He checked at school. No luck. When I asked him about checking in the bus, he confessed, “I am feeling shy to ask the driver amma. I don’t want to ask amma. I am ok with just one pair of mittens.” I told him it made sense, I too feel shy about talking to people sometimes. I then tried to reframe the situation for him. “Think of it as something that you need to do to find your mittens instead of thinking of it as having to talk to the driver.”  I was not sure if he understood, but he nodded and asked me to remind him to ask at the bus stop.

Needless to say, I had forgotten all about it. But he had remembered. He had mustered all his courage to go up to the driver and talk about his missing mittens. It was not easy but he did it anyway. And guess what? The mittens were sitting snugly in the Lost and Found box! Quickly grabbing them, he waved at me, his heart puffing with pride and his eyes shining with confidence.

*************************

Ram joined Boy Scouts this year. The much dreaded popcorn sales was upon on us sooner than we thought. As part of that effort, Boy Scouts are expected to dress in their uniforms, explain their mission, and sell popcorn to random passersby.

One fine hot Fall afternoon, Ram went with his dad to sell popcorn. I went for a brief few minutes to see the child in action. For the first few times, it was hard for me to watch him get rejected. How could someone reject a little child’s plea for buying popcorn? Soon the mommy bias faded and good sense prevailed. Not everyone likes popcorn. Not everyone believes in Boy Scouts. Not everyone has money to indulge a child that’s not theirs.  And rejections build character, it’s good for him in the long run. As I was building these stories in my head,  Ram and his scout buddy did not let rejections deter them from going to the next person. They did what they had to do. Ram took the rejections in stride, in spite of the inhibitions he was feeling within. It was not easy, but he did it anyway.

************************

These two images are etched in my memory. They remind me of how the child pushed himself beyond his comfort zone and did what it took,  not without inhibitions but in spite of his inhibitions. They inspire me to reach out when the easier thing would be to hold myself back.

 

Advertisements
Standard
Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Introspection, Uncategorized

Fullness of life

Today was a day filled with activities and commitments. Thank God for fullness of life, it leaves you with less bandwidth to brood and ruminate over things that could have been.

A big thank you to Da for holding down the fort as I went skipping and hoping from one activity to the other.

The day started with an extra hour, thanks to daylight savings roll back. I did the single thing that would enhance the quality of my day manifold – an extra hour of beauty sleep!

Thank you to Da, Hari and Ram for believing in me and for being my cheering squad. I was part of a panel discussion this afternoon at the local library. I was a bit anxious as this was my first time and I was not quite sure what to expect. The boys rooted for me and cast their vote of confidence in me. Da brainstormed ideas with me and nudged me (much needed for yours truly) to dress appropriately for the occasion. Exactly the kind of moral support and reality check I needed. So grateful for this bunch!

The best part of indulging in different pursuits is the people that I get to meet and know. Grateful that my path crosses with passionate, smart and nice folks. My life is richer just by virtue of knowing them.

Have a good week. What are you grateful for today?

 

Standard
Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Us

Fitness Diary – Day 11 and Day 12

Day 11

I was half asleep yesterday before I realized that I had forgotten the journal entry for the day. It was too late to turnaround and make amends.

Eats – so so. Dark chocolate is my vice. Thank God for this workshop because yesterday would have been one of those days I would have indulged in gluttony but good sense prevailed and the damage was minimized. 

Workout – 17 mins jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – so so.  

Gratitude – thankful that I did not go overboard with the eating, thankful that I was able to take the day off to catch up on some household projects, thankful that I had a partially productive day.

Focus in the workshop was exercise – aerobics, anaerobics and flexibility. It is recommended that aerobics be done for not more than 3 days per week. High Intensity Interval Training, a form of anaerobic exercise is the most efficient way to lose excess fat. Personally, I tend to focus only on aerobic exercise. I have weights at home, time to dust them out. I also want to spend one day recovering by doing  yoga, perhaps surya namskar.

Day 12

Today was spent reflecting on random things. I was getting a little frustrated about a certain paperwork that was taking longer than I had hoped for. But I am proud of myself for not letting the frustration get the better of me, I kept chugging along.

Eats – so so. Besan chila for breakfast, ragi dosai for lunch, tacos and veggie rice bowl for dinner. So so because of the raisin toast and the extra dark chocolates that I had.

Workout – 17 mins of running. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – bad, did not even attempt. Sleep – so so.

Gratitude – 1. Thankful that I kept reframing and refocusing today and channeled my frustration to productive work. 2. Thankful that although the odds were not in my favor, I managed to pay my monthly visit to the parlor. 3. Thankful for the healing power of space and time – sickness, disappointments, frustrations, squabbles – we have a tendency to hasten the healing in an attempt to make ourselves better sooner than later. But healing takes space and time. Space to experience the unpleasantness and the time to put the suffering in perspective.  

Today’s focus was on eating seasonal and local foods. Eat what’s in season, and eat what’s local. This makes a lot of sense to me.  Here’s a useful link – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28

Standard
Detox, Experiences, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Inspiration, Introspection, Kids, Little Moments, Sunday School

Fitness Diary – Day 7

Eats – bad.  I had a planned lapse (meaning the lapse was not due to temptation or craving but it was something I had budgeted for) so I don’t feel bad about it. What I do feel bad about is the four pieces of dark chocolate I had. Dark chocolate is allowed in the workshop but only one piece. I definitely need to work on my portions, will specifically focus on it this week. Otherwise the regular meals were ok. Raagi dosai with sambar for breakfast, pongal sambar for lunch, dinner sambar rice. Aarachu vitta sambar is a rare treat in our house, so when I make it I don’t miss an opportunity to devour it.  

Workout – 17 mins of jogging with the first born. It was so hard to pull myself out of the house. I had to keep reminding myself that the future me would regret if I let the workout slip by. And I am so glad I pushed myself. It was an absolute treat to get out early in the morning with the fresh cool air caressing my face. Hari thought so too!

Meditation – 9 mins. I did not do any nostril breathing. 

Hydration – so so. I think I nearly made it but did not pay particular attention to it.

Sleep – bad, slept only for six hours. I see the repeat of the story tomorrow. I don’t like that but unfortunately that’s the reality now. 

A day filled with gratitude.

  • Just when I woke up this morning, Ram who was sleeping right next to me, kissed and put his arms around me with such warmth that it melted my heart and rendered it into a pot of mush.  Ironically, what the love bug told me next left me feeling like the most apathatic and horrible mom in the whole wide world – “I am so excited amma. I wonder how much money the Tooth Fairy has left for me. I am tempted to look under my pillow.”  Oh no, how could I? Last night a certain someone had signaled to certain someone else to take care of it and that someone else conveniently forgot it the very next moment it was told to her. Aiyoo.!! After chiding myself and catastrophizing the whole situation in my head,  I woke up my knight in shining armour, who was snoring blissfully, and muttered to the clueless soul in broken hindi “mein dhanth keliyo jho rakna hai, woh bhool gayee”  (as you may have guessed, the child does not know hindi but it did not matter because he was mentally lost in counting his treasury… if I get $1, I will have $32 pocket money, if I get $5, I will have…) The knight in shining armour woke up laughing heartily, went out of the room under the guise of having to use the restroom.. Long story short, five minutes later, the child’s eye lit up as he pulled out a crumpled $5 note. I heaved a sigh of relief and made the best cup of tea to my knight in shining armour who saved the day for this forgetful mommy. Thank you, thank you and thank you.
  • Hari slept undisturbed the whole night last night. The child has had fragmented sleep for the past several weeks due to allergies. We think the trigger is construction related dust. Poor child, poor child, wakes up two to three times with a congested nose, and terrible sneezes. So every night he catches good sleep, I offer my gratitude from the bottom of my heart. 
  • Sunday school started today. Yesterday, I was overwhelmed with how thinly I have stretched myself and was convinced that I should think twice before committing next year. It’s too much preparation and too much time commitment. But this morning when I went to school, my heart was full with gratitude. This the place where I get my ix of India every week. Where I get to sing Vande Mataram and Hum Honge Khamiyaap loudly and proudly. Where as much as my kids want to make fun of the accent, in a strange sense feel like they belong. It was such a treat to see kids from last year come up to me and catch up. I am assisting Hari’s class in the first hour, I had taught some kids in this class five years back, my very first batch and there was a certain ease and friendliness in the air. I was also thrilled to see my new kids this year, can’t wait to see where they will take me on this journey this year.
Standard
Detox, Food, Health and fitness, Introspection, Work life balance

Fitness Diary – Day 5

Intensive work calls, sick child at home, and kids’ dentist appointment – that was my day today.

I had my aha moment this morning when I realized that all this week I have slept well. A nice deep slumber for 8 hours. I have not had this kind of consistency in sleep pattern in a really long time. I thought it was attributable to the stress associated with the business of adulting (cooking, cleaning, nagging,… etc.). That might still be part of the reason but I think the true culprit is my caffeine intake. For whatever reason, I just assumed that my body is immune to caffeine. That an increased intake would not affect me as much. Apparently not. The amount of sleep I get seems to be indirectly proportional to my caffeine intake. Lesson learnt..!

Today’s focus was on nostril breathing three times per day. That is, close one nostril with the thumb, breathe in slowly. Close the other nostril with the pointer and breath out slowly. I did it twice when I was getting stressed out at work. I have to practice more to see if it works or not for me. The way I look at it, atleast it is better than escaping from the situation by surfing, whatsapping, facebooking etc.

Eats – ok. Baked potato for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch, a long list of snack (green tea, corn on the cob, nuts and raisin, apple), and dinner was split pea soup and grain based bread with home made basil pesto spread. Grapes and fig for dessert.

Hydration – did ok I think. Sleep – 9 hours of fragmented sleep. I liked the one hour of no screen time prior to bedtime. Jogging – 17 mins. 

What I am thankful for today?

  • TGIF. Amen to that!
  • I am thankful that intensive work calls are not the norm in my work life.
  • I am thankful that I could afford the luxury of keeping the sick child at home without having to take the day off. I am thankful that the sick child did not hinder my productivity at work.
Standard
Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection

Fitness Diary – Day 4

Oh boy, leading a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. I tell you, it’s  a full time job! No wonder, I keep falling off the wagon so very often. Nonetheless, it is a goal worth striving for. Baby steps, consistent efforts, incremental results. I tell myself, one day I will get there.  Even if I don’t, it’s worth trying and failing.

Today’s focus in the workshop is avoiding screen time for an hour prior to bedtime. This is very hard for me because that’s the time I spend catching up on pending work stuff, personal emails, writing blog posts, and watching T.V.  I don’t think I can do it on a daily basis. On the flip side, I see value in that idea. I am in front of the laptop for the most part of the day.  I keep wishing that I read more and spent more time with the kids, which is currently non-existent. May be this is an opportunity to see those wishes come to life – may be I can avoid screen time for half an hour before bedtime for 3 to 4 days during the week?  

Eats – not too happy, my portions were not good. Breakfast – chia seeds with fruits and nuts, lunch – good old quinoa salad, snack – poha with a mug of rasam, dinner – vegetable adai.

Exercise – 20 mins jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Mind still wandering but came back to the present more often too. The sounds around me anchor me in the NOW than the breath. Hydration – again, didn’t count but I have a feeling I met the quota.

Things I am grateful for.

  • My cleaner. As I have written here before, I am fond of her. I am thankful that she cleans my house every fortnight. She does a better job than I would in half the time I would take. One big reason I am able to do volunteering activities is because I get to outsource the cleaning.  I also get the satisfaction of having made a small difference to someone’s monthly earnings.
  • Thank God for dosais and adais. For some the repetition may be boring, but for me it’s a life savior. Eating healthy, tasty, fresh, home cooked, gluten free, wholesome meal that can be made without too much planning as long as you have the batter ready. And how many variations one can make with them! Thankful for South Indian cuisine that makes gluten free diet possible for me.
  • My thanks to Da for taking care of dinner and giving Ram his bath tonight. I had to take care of pending work mails during dinner time to be able to  honor the one hour no screen time stipulation. All I had to do was ask him..!

Hope you are all well in your neck of the woods.

Standard
Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Wishes

Fitness Diary – Day 2

After faltering, falling flat on my face, rising up only to fall flat faster and harder in August, I have taken up the two-week nutrition workshop. God bless the nutritionist for coming up with these seasonal workshops! As part of the workshop, we are are suppose to maintain a daily journal, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, and express gratitude for three things every day.  I jotted yesterday’s thoughts on google plus. But switching to my blog starting today. 

Today’s focus in the workshop was hydration. For my weight, I am suppose to drink 8 cups of water. I don’t think I had 8 cups but definitely drank more than what I normally would. My eats were ok – oats with fruits for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch, banana for snack, and adai with sambar (poor combination, I know! But truth be told my adai is more like dosai than adai ) for dinner. The banana snack did not cut it out, I need to have something more substantial. I had sugar and caffeine withdrawals late evening. A couple of dry figs made a difference. Meditated for 9 mins – the mind was all over the place but it was peaceful just to sit in one place. I jogged for 20 mins today.

Three things I am grateful for today.

  • I had a productive day at work. Thankful that I could maneuver around a crisis situation at work and could knock of some critical To Dos.
  • Today, my childhood friend’s son turned 15 years old. I can’t believe 15 years have gone by just like that. I feel fortunate that I have been part of this child’s growing up and I am mighty proud of the fine lad that he is blossoming into…!
  • The 87 degrees outside – loved that I could could go out wearing my old salwar without having to worry about a pullover or sneakers.
Standard