Experiences, Introspection, Me

The price of procrastination

We leave out recycling waste in a bin that has been counting its last few days for the past several years. Every Monday, I wince, look at the bin with disdain and embarrassment and promise myself to have it replaced at the town public works department by the following week. And nothing would have changed. Replacing the bin is a fairly straightforward process. It costs nothing. And yet, I kept procrastinating. 

Enough is enough, I told myself and headed to the center with the recycling bin this afternoon. All it took was 22 mins – 10 mins to go, 10 mins to come, 2 mins to deposit and get two brand new bins in exchange. The time it took to get the job done was a minuscule fraction of the mental space it had occupied over the years. 

A classic case of self-inflicted misery.

Advertisements
Standard
Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Introspection, Uncategorized

Musings

  • I have been off from work over the past two weeks. I have been checking social media but not as frequently. I have not watched anything on Netflix. I expected not to miss work but not missing social media or watching T.V. is a nice surprise.
  • All four of us have been hanging out together for the past week or so doing nothing in particular. I am going to miss the lazy mornings, deadline-free, commitment-free, chauffeuring-free days. Not to mention the brats.
  • I am only exaggerating a little when I say, if you were to stand outside our house for some time right now, you will be a human popsicle. It is minus four degree Fahrenheit tonight. The low temperatures have been hovering at that range for the past one week and is expected to remain so for the next one week. On the plus side, it’s going to feel warm and toasty when we hit freezing point. It’s all relative!
  • New year does give a nice opportunity to reconnect with folks that I normally don’t keep in touch with under the guise of being busy. Spending the last day of the previous year and the first year of the new year catching up with friends and family is something I so look forward to.
Standard
Detox, Experiences, Experiments, Family, Food, Gratitude, Inspiration, Intentions, Introspection, Kids, Life, Me, Us

Word of the Year

How did I do? Is it worth continuing with the word of the year? Is it a meaningful exercise?

I did ok with Mindfulness  although I forgot  it was THE word a few times. Setting intentions in the beginning of the year did unintentionally influence my everyday actions. I am able to sense tension, tightness and panic when things don’t go my way. I don’t become zen or calm about the situation right away. But I have learnt that the place to start is relaxing my jaws and facial muscles. Paying attention to that tactical action, settles me a bit even when there is restlessness raging within. I talk myself into getting some alone time and engage in some productive work so I am not being disruptive to the ones around me. It works a few times even if not always. I have also learnt to drift back to sleeping when I wake up in the morning. This is worth a mention because it is part of my effort to not to be a slave to my To Do or routine.

Mindfulness like Discipline and Detox (my Word for the prior years) is a lifelong practice. So this year was just the beginning. I did not move mountains or boil the ocean but I have made incremental progress as a person. So I see value in pursuing this practice.

For this year, I am choosing the word “Us”.  Hari has five to six years with us before he takes full responsibility for himself. There are so many interesting things to do with him. There are so many things that he needs guidance on. I want to be fully present for him in this critical phase of growing up. Ram is still young and he needs me differently. I want to do all the things that I enjoy doing with him – reading, cooking, playing, coloring and what not. And with Da, I will be a little nicer, kinder and compassionate instead of using him as my punching bag. As rudimentary all these aspects sound to you or may come naturally to many of the moms that I know of, they are hard for me. I tend to oversee these finer aspects as there are so many things I want to dip my tips in. 

While the “Us” does not preclude my parents, siblings and families, I am doing pretty ok on that front, which is why I am narrowing the focus to the immediate concentric circle around me. 

This does not mean I will abandon pursuits outside home. Far from it, I want to do my bit, so they are not going away. But I will be deliberate about what I take on and make sure that I balance between what gives me intrinsic and extrinsic joys. I missed out on reading, writing, cooking experiments, and connecting with friends this year and I hope to pick up the slackness there.  I will strive to be more consistent with eating clean and healthy and working out.

These are the intentions I am setting for the year. What are yours?

Standard
Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Introspection, Learnings, Memories, Us, Wishes

2017 – the year that was

There is pin drop silence in the house. Strike that, I can hear Da snoring his heart away. I can also hear some footsteps headed towards the bathroom, a sign that one child is up for the day. My tummy weighs like a ton of bricks from all the food indulgence last night. It was a cosy gathering. We met, we ate, we laughed and we dispersed with a full stomach and a light heart.

I have a couple of hours before the intensity of the day sets in. A time that I am carving out to reflect on the year that is coming to a close. As I look back on the year that has gone by, these are things that are at the top of my mind.

My paternal grandma, Andu patti, passed away in April. She had a really difficult end of life, with dementia wreaking havoc on her and the ones caring for her. Longevity means very little when it is not paired with quality of life. How our life comes to an end and when it comes to an end are not in our control; we can do all the right things and yet have an undesirable end. So taking proper care of our physical and mental health when it is in our hands seems not only responsible but also sensible.

I pushed myself to give back to the local community. I provided tactical support to a friend who stood for school committee, and played a small role in making our voices heard on a school related issue. I helped organize workshops in the local library and continue to edit the school newsletters. It was gratifying but I also realized, that they are very transactional in nature. Meaning, once it’s done, it’s done. This is an epiphany because it will help me choose where I want to spend my time and energy going forward.

I poured my heart and soul on my dance productions this year. I pushed the limits of what I can do and it was another humbling experience. There was wonder in knowing that I am capable of doing things that was challenging at the outset and there was also acceptance in knowing I come with my own limitations. Talent is something that we are born with, and we have no say in how talented we are. But striving towards our full potential is within our control; it’s not an easy path but one worth trudging on.

We renovated our house this year. We moved into this house a decade back and have worked our lifestyle around what was given to us, which worked well. The renovation gave us a chance to think about our needs and wants and how we want to customize the house to our personal preferences. For the most part, the project was enjoyable and I am proud of us for having taken the discomfort and inconveniences in stride. This project also gave me a newfound appreciation for all the details that go into the making of a house.

It feels like the outside world is filled with pain, suffering and destruction. My very liberal neighborhood was in the news for hate crime, there have been several break ins, and a life was gone too soon. This is within the short circumference of my neighborhood. Beyond that, if at all anything, the magnitude of the events happening are confusing, nerve wracking, and overwhelming. Yet, I am trying hard to not get hopeless. If we give up hope and faith, what else can we hold on to? We need to stay informed, be aware and push ourselves to do what little we can. If not anything else, be kind. I like to believe that kindness goes a long way in counter balancing the negativity around us even if we are not able to directly impact the events.  

I wish you a very happy 2018.  I wish you the freedom and courage to be who you want to be, relationships and friendships that matter, deliberation in thought and action, unshakable faith in your effort and values, compassion towards the self and others, grace and wisdom to handle the unknowns, bountiful little moments and happy surprises, unconditional love and acceptance, uncluttered mind, full presence and focused work, and a strong body and sound intellect. I wish you the best that life has to offer. In 2018 and always!

Standard
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.

 

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