I did the monthly reflections post last year for a couple of months and abandoned it after. Let’s see how far this year takes me.
January has been a slow and steady month.This is the time of the year I normally tend to push myself to build new habits. But this year, I am just going with the flow without any grand goals or lofty ambitions. Just making sure to put in small consistent steps every day. This month I focused on infusing some discipline into my eating habits and imbibing 15 to 20 mins workout. It is not a lot but it has helped me get some of my stamina back. I also worked on one of my very annoying habits – I often leave my handbag unzipped (yikes!) and forget where I leave my keys (I never lose them but always misplace them as a result spend a lot of time searching). I can’t say I have conquered the clumsiness (I doubt I ever will) but have certainly been more mindful.
For workout, I wanted to share the youtube video series called Jessica Smith TV. It works well given the weather outside. There are many styles to choose from setting you free from monotony. They are for different chunks of time ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins, so lack of time cannot be used as an excuse. There are different levels to choose from. And the person who does it, keeps reiterating that something is better than nothing, which is kind of a great slogan when it comes to workout because you don’t have to do a lot, just a little something everyday. Some days that pushes you to do more and on other days, atleast you know you did a little something.
How quickly one month has gone by, isn’t it? Where are you with your new year goals?
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?
I get to do one of the coolest things right in the middle of the work week, in the middle of work day – yoga! My company conducts a yoga session every Wednesday. I so look forward to it and I am very protective of this time.
“There is earth beneath you, breath within you, and you have good intentions. So many things should have gone right for you to be right here, right now. There are places to go. There is work to do. The most important work begins with you. Take the time. Take care of you,” the yoga instructor reminds us as we stretch and warm up. “Believe in the power of your strength, and the natural ability of your body to find balance,” she continues. I hang on to every word she utters and commit it to memory.
I love these reminders.. To stretch, to pause, to reflect, and to connect my breath with my body. Immensely thankful for this mid-week break that refreshes and rejuvenates me like no other.
Enjoyed answering your questions Cee.
What household chore do you absolutely hate doing? Cleaning anything that spills or breaks. Specifically when glass container shatters all over the floor. No matter how thoroughly you clean, there is always a piece staring right back at you.
At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Over the weekend as I arranged our closets listening to Oliver Sacks speak.
How many times have you moved in the last ten years? Zero. We moved to our current home 10 years back and have planted ourselves here since them.
What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. RadioLab podcast had an episode where they have captured Oliver Sacks think aloud, brought goosebumps as I got a get a peek into how great thinkers think. To hear his assistant talk about his passion for writing made me want to write passionately and from my heart. I felt so grateful to live at a time and age where access to such gems is just a finger swipe away.
Thank you Cee for these thought provoking questions. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so? I would like to think that I would choose to have a clear conscience instead of writhing in guilt from cheating. I would rather fail and cut my losses than qualify for something that I am not ready for. But hey, hypothetical problems are easier to solve on paper than when they strike you in reality. So who knows? I just hope I have the courage to hear the little voice in my head and do the right thing.
What things in nature do you find most beautiful? Sunrise, sunset, fall colors, foggy mornings, flowers in full bloom, spider webs with due drops, sunny skies, verdant leaves, lush green fields, sun rays filtering through trees, rainbows, nests, sea shells, snow capped mountains, brooks and streams, water falls, and more!
Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to…. people watch, be a passerby and soak in the world around me.
What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? I appreciated my home and my family after traveling on business in the first half of the week last week. I found joy in the most mundane of tasks – loading and unloading dishwasher, after a couple of days of not having access to my kitchen. I appreciated feeding simple home cooked dhal rice for my children after having them on a diet of processed and packaged food. As much as I detest a trip to the beauty parlor, I appreciated the outcome – clean eyebrows and hair colored with henna. I was inspired by the quotes in Hari’s classroom. Wonder inspired and awed me!
Yes, I am very much alive and kicking. The lack of updates has been because I have been drowning in a sea of commitments. The few times I came up to the surface to catch my breath, I couldn’t make myself put pen to paper. I felt so out of touch. I felt like what I had to say was inconsequential. It felt like there was nothing left to say. Truth be told, life has been anything but normal these past few months. We have been working very hard as a family since this summer with barely any downtime. First, it was my dance production, then it has been renovation at home. I have also been volunteering like never before. The downside to all these activities is that there has been very little time for anything at all – to rest, to relax or to reflect. I do hope to make time and reclaim my life back. Slowly but surely and steadily!
With all the banging, drilling and thumping in the house due to construction activities, the day seemed busier than it actually was. It was a noisy day, literally and figuratively.
Eats – went ok. Same oats and berries for breakfast and quinoa salad for lunch. Had roasted poha-nuts-raisin for snack. I missed my evening tea but hanging in there. Dinner was dosai with avocado filling, and beans and sambar on the side. The workshop calls for gluten free menu, so no wheat based products. Dessert was mango and dried figs.
Exercise – 20 mins of jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – didn’t keep count but I think I hit the 8 cups mark.
Today’s focus in the workshop was sleep. How well do you sleep? Is getting to bed a challenge for you? You all know that I need my 8 hours of beauty sleep. If I don’t get it, I end up in a vicious cycle of crankiness, high caffeine intake, general lack of discipline, and sleep debt. I don’t get the 8 hours of sleep on most days because either my commitments are demanding or the day has been so intensive that I need to unwind with some Netflix binging. While I cannot always control the former, I can manage the latter. I think I should practice hitting the sack before 10:00 every night.
Things that I offer gratitude for today.
- I had three work calls today and I made the bad decision to work from home. Thankfully, the construction related noise was not as loud when I had to speak during the call.
- My thanks to the wonderful wonderful world of podcasts. How would I manage all the dishwashing and the cleaning without the entertainment? In particular, I am thankful to Gretchen and Liz for their weekly Happier podcast, their podcast truly makes me happy. It’s like bantering with your girlfriends. It’s light but not fluffy.
- Last but not the least, I am thankful for the Nutriage workshop. I have made some incremental lifestyle changes as result of this workshop over the years. And in the short-term, it gives me the focus and discipline I need to get back on track when I go astray.