Posted by & filed under Kindness.

Giving

 

This past birthday I had written a post reflecting on what was showing up in my life at the time. It was hard, vulnerable, joyful and gratifying all at the same time to be that honest with myself, find the right words and then put it out for the world to read, react and respond. What stuck most with me since that post is the condition of human suffering – there have been current events that hit the media and got the whole world to unite and there are countless others that never make the headlines and yet are worthy of our time, attention & dollars. After being a parent one of my most painful experiences is watching other children suffer and not be able to do much about it. Tears trickle down, sometimes I write a check but the problems are enormous, complex and challenging for any one of us to solve on our own. I also cry because I feel selfish in that I am spending much of my day focusing on myself and my family, my child, my meals, etc. – its primarily about me and that makes me incredibly sad. It’s not the first time I have felt this way and I have experimented in many ways to give back more in the world but I have failed at doing anything at scale yet I continue to try and do my best to start from a place of self – compassion.

This year I am experimenting with something different. My husband and I are committing to raising 10K for the Miracle Foundation in Austin that manage orphanages in India. We will be donating 3.3K, our employers will be matching that amount bringing up the total to 6.6K and we will be running various campaigns and inviting our friends, family, coworkers and this wonderful blog community to join us in making a small contribution.

Why Miracle Foundation?

I have had the privilege of being involved with this organization for almost the last decade. A few years back I had spent a week at their orphanages in India and what inspired me most was the potential in these children and their desire to dream. Some of these kids were born out of rape, some were found on the banks of a river, some were sent to this home by their parents as they didn’t have enough money to feed their children but one thing was for sure – these children were well cared for at this home, there was a strong sense of community and their past didn’t deter them from dreaming up a promising future. I still vividly remember an 8 year old boy named Sumit came up to me when I was there and said in Hindi – Didi, dekhna, ek din main bhi engineer banoonga aur plane mein baith ke America aaongo which meant – Elder sister, there will be a day when I too will be an engineer, get on a plane and come to the US!

Our contributions can help these children achieve their dreams. Your dollars will go into providing the basic amenities for these children in ensuring a solid foundation that will open up more doors for them.

Here is an incredible Ted Talk by the founder of the Miracle Foundation and I invite you all to watch this!

How can you give?

My sincere gratitude for your participation in this project and this will truly make a difference in the lives of these children. You can make a contribution here and all of your donations will be tax deductible. I will be frequently providing updates on my blog as well as the fundraising page. If you’d like to give your time and help volunteer for some of the fundraising events I’ll be putting together, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d be honored to have your help!

“Any amount will help! For example, $25 will feed a child for a whole month. That’s 3 meals and 2 snacks per day of healthy, delicious and desperately needed food for a whole month. This is life-changing. Thank you for being generous towards these children as you consider what you can give. Together we can make a BIG difference”

 

I am also hosting a huge brunch fundraiser on March 26th at a beautiful park in San Mateo. I’ll be cooking and bringing home made food and would love to  have you join us. Bay area peeps, shoot me a note if you are interested and I’d be happy to add you to the invite.

 

Posted by & filed under Callings, Creativity, Everyday Lessons, Imperfections.

 

 

Creative Living Quote

 

I have seen three types of creative work in my life –

  • Creation for joy – This creator creates her work for herself. It doesn’t matter how many people read her book, buy her art, listen to her music or download her app. She creates solely for the joy, curiosity and love of creation. She does it because it matters to her. She creates because she can’t not create. She may have a full time job and her art maybe her weekend project or her source of income. It doesn’t matter when she creates or how much time she gives to her art but what matters is that she spends time on her calling for at least a few hours every month. She does it with consistency, without judgment, with love for herself and her work.
  • Creation for impact – This creator creates for the joy of creating but also hopes to be of service to others. She wants to make a difference in the world with her art. It doesn’t matter what exactly the impact is but she wants her art to be of value beyond her own self. For this artist, the art could be a source of income or not. This artist strikes the balance between what her heart wants to create and what can make a difference in the lives of her audience.
  • Creation for a career – This creator creates for the joy but also hopes to make a career out of her creations. She works very hard to make her calling a career a calling and has finally found fruition in this aspiration. Success to her means being able to earn a full time living wage creating the work she was meant to do.

I deeply admire all three types of creators. I am humbled by their love for their callings and curiosities and their efforts in making time for their work whether or not it their vocation. However, in our culture, we revere and greatly celebrate creator # 3. We are somehow believe that if our creation isn’t paying the bills it is less worthy and what makes me most sad about this is that we stop trying, we stop feeding our curiosities and we kill our callings by getting more busy. It may be true that your hobby or project may never earn a dollar and that you have to keep a day job and I’d love to remind you (and myself too!!) that it is not only okay, it is incredibly beautiful. Also, for so many creators who are currently able to pay their bills with their art, you have to remember they started with a scrappy, imperfect version of their work. They started with joy, did more of the work, improved on their art, found people who’d pay for their work before it became a vocation.

 

Here’s what I have learnt along the way

  • Don’t compare your first page of a book to someone else’s finished book. (Thanks Jeena Cho for that reminder!!). You haven’t seen their first page and all the pages that were killed to create the book you are holding. Start somewhere!
  • It doesn’t matter what the creation is. If you are creating something for one person, its worthy of love. If it can help someone else, it is worthy of love. If it is created with love but no one else benefits from it, it is worthy of love.
  • Notice your relationship with sharing your work. I am not referring to social media blasts but how the ego interferes with your sharing your joy with a close friend. How your inner critic may tell you that no one will appreciate your pictures so you deprive so many others of that beautiful sunset on the beach. Also, notice how you believe that you are suddenly more important when 100 or 1000 people like that picture.
  • Stay consistent with showing up. It is not whether your colors are perfect. What matters is you show up with paint on your canvas and create. The cadence doesn’t matter. It maybe once a day, it maybe once a week or once every 2 weeks but show up.
  • Love yourself when you don’t feel called to create. We are all born to create something – whether it’s a loaf of bread or an origami paper boat. There will be days when the transactions of life take over. There will be moments when your hands will feel stiff and words will not flow. That is okay and part of the creative journey. Some days your art will not look good, remember to show up again

 

Journaling Questions

  • Is there something that you want to make? What is coming in the way? What are the stories that you are telling yourself?
  • What can you do to create time in your life? Does it mean waking up early one morning a week? Does it mean cooking extra and freezing? Does it mean saying no to that 5th birthday party this coming weekend? Does it mean working a fewer hours for a few months and taking a small pay cut?
  • What can you do to create support in your life? Do you need to love yourself and remind that you are worthy of this creation? Does it mean joining a group so you find like minded people?

With love and in support of your creations!

Share what you want to create and what comes in the way… You will be surprised that you are not alone!!

Posted by & filed under Writing.

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I have been blogging somewhat regularly for a year. I always wanted to write ever since I was a teenager. I had big dreams of writing a book at 13 that I mercilessly killed but thankfully those dreams are back on the horizon greatly due to the joy, connection and purpose that I get from my digital home, this blog. When I started writing, I didn’t know what it would mean for me. I had this deep voice in me that wanted to write and I knew I couldn’t say no to it even though it was likely one of the busiest times in my life with a full time job in tech, an infant who co-slept with us and didn’t have regular sleep schedules and I didn’t get a full night’s sleep on most nights and grad school. And yet, writing is what got me home and helped me connect to myself. Seeing the world and experiencing it through my words helped me grow in ways I didn’t quite imagine when I took this leap to share my stories with the world.

Looking back

As I look back on this past year of writing, here is what I have learnt about myself, writing and the world…

  • Writing is healing, joyful, scary, fulfilling, vulnerable all at the same time. On same days, it feels easy and words and ideas come so easily and I loose a sense of time and on other days my writing feels dry, lifeless and cold. What’s important is that I write – even when its not perfect and not my best work that I keep showing up. Often times my writing isn’t great when I am overly tired, exhausted or depleted or I am focusing too much on how something is going to land with my audience.
  • It’s much harder to write about the things I struggle with and yet I am also not comfortable sharing about the things that I can do well. I hope to write more about the former in the future (see below). As for the latter, I am not sure if that’s because I don’t want to brag and seek attention or something else.
  • The best and the worst thing about a blog that isn’t famous or read by several thousand people is that you don’t know what people think about it. I wish I did so I could write more about what people like and also get better at writing. The best thing is that I can often write about what I want and the way I want and not have to worry about what people like.
  • I have strengthened my relationships with so many people in ways I didn’t imagine. I have received “me too” emails and people sharing how they understand or know me better because of my words. I have met some incredibly beautiful people and the kind words always make me feel incredibly grateful. I often wish I could meet face to face with all my blog subscribers.
  • Writing has given me a container, a safe space when my mind can go crazy. With everything I see and experience, I often have a layer of words in my heart and that makes me feel cozy, kind of like having a glass of hot chocolate and a warm blanket on a cold rainy night (like today!)
  • My first drafts are messy, lack structure and are a data dump of my thoughts and that’s okay. I can be an editor later and I am glad Microsoft word has a backspace button!
  • I never realized this when I started, but this blog has been an incredible online journal for myself. Reading back my own posts has given me a way to live back on the simple, ordinary moments of my own life in ways I have not known in the past and that’s been a powerful motivator to write more.
  • My hour of writing is often times the most sacred, quiet and focused time in my day. The introvert in me loves this time alone and yes, I wish I could give myself this gift more often.
  • I read more as a result of writing, carry my journal everywhere and sticky notes are my new best friend. Sometimes, I will write in parking lots, red lights (yup I do that with my pen and paper), on the train, at lunch on Friday with food beside me…
  • I have learnt to look at the word marketing with a new lens. For me marketing my blog means finding avenues to introduce the world to my home and inviting them to a conversation that could be of value. Ensuring they are never felt forced to stay yet reassured that they are loved & appreciated for being a part of this community. Finally, writing in a way that feeds my soul yet serves my readers in the form of content that can support and inspire them in living more mindfully in ways that are different, unique and different to each of us.
  • Saying yes to writing means saying no to a lot of things. Today it means saying no to doing dishes or folding laundry or organizing my house or more importantly reading and signing to my son (which is something I struggle more with than a clean house)…
  • This blog has reaffirmed by calling to create work that feeds my desire to teach, inspire and allow others to live more fulfilling, authentic and creative lives and eventually create a social enterprise that seems to be knocking at my door for the last many years. I promise, it will come…

Looking ahead

As I look ahead in this year, here’s what I hope to do

  • I like writing more memoir style articles vs. “how tos” and I hope to share more of my life’s journey and what I experience, learn and struggle with this year. I also want to capture more of life’s ordinary moments that make it so extraordinary and this blog will be one place for more of that. I hope to be more courageous by being more vulnerable and writing from my heart. I hope to write about stories that move me and my own struggles, my own ego and the places that scare me. Those posts and stories are always the hardest to write and more importantly hardest to share but I hope to do more of that in service of my core values of being authentic and hopefully giving you all permission to be more authentic.
  • I hope to continue to bring to you more interviews and stories of people who inspire me on my journey. These take more effort, coordination, and I want to ensure I bring people who are willing to be raw, real and honest with their paths in life.
  • I also hope to continue writing outside of my blog in service of how I defined marketing above. It’s scary, rewarding and a very enriching experience to send your writing to editors, hear a yes, hear a no and come back to the writing board and start afresh and not let the ego interfere with the sheer joy of reaching a wider audience and the sadness of not being the one selected. It’s a valuable life lesson in itself.

 

Much gratitude to each of you for being a part of my life, this blog and my writing journey. Knowing that I have someone on the other side, reading my words makes my journey less lonely.

 

Please let me know if there are things that you want me to write more of in the year to come!

Also, if you are curious about developing a writing practice, here is a lovely post by Brynn Harrington and another one from Jeena Cho

Much love!

Neha

 

Posted by & filed under Imperfections, Vulnerability, Work.

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I have always had an interesting relationship with vulnerability. Starting out my career in a very type A, ambitious culture I had taught myself that the only way to show up at work was without emotion. I needed to have all the answers all the time, there was no place for imperfection and that my only purpose in life needed to be my clients. I struggled with this world view as my heart truly believed that another way of living, even thriving and having a career was possible. I wanted to show up with my own beliefs and be surrounded by real people with authentic lives. My heart yearned for relationships and friendships where we could be honest about our struggles and what’s not working and for many years in my 20s I struggled hard to find it.

Fast forward to my life today and I feel my world is completely different. My teams at work value me as a human being and I have friendships where I can speak from my heart. More importantly, I have come to believe that vulnerability is one of the core fabrics that make up my life. The more I can open my heart, share my triumphs and my struggles, the more genuine my relationships are with myself and with the people around me. And yes, I have also learnt to have better boundaries on how vulnerable I can and should be in different situations. I have learnt that more often than not the risks are worth it when it comes to living a rich, full life though sometimes sharing my story has brought more pain than calm.

Here is how vulnerability has shown up in my life –

  • Getting screened for breast cancer thrice, once during my pregnancy and finding the courage to listen to the test results (Thankfully the results were always negative)
  • Hiking solo in areas without a cell phone coverage
  • Giving birth, with several incredible people I was meeting for the first time in my life. Letting them see parts of myself literally I never thought I’d do – physically, emotionally, spiritually. I had several times told my husband I wanted a C section because I was struggling with having the hospital staff help get this baby out of my body
  • Telling one of my closest friends that I was missing her support in the early days of my blog writing. Not knowing how she’d take my feedback even after years of a rich friendship felt emotionally risky. I am glad I asked for what I needed! Thanks dear friend for always being there.
  • Owning up several times to myself and to others that I struggled hard, very hard to find what I wanted to be when I grow up and not giving up to find the answer…
  • Telling my husband that it’s my ego that is creating trouble at various times of conflict
  • Letting my son play with all kinds of real food and making our kitchen REALLY messy and wondering if I am doing the right thing when I don’t know any other parent giving their toddler that kind of freedom
  • Trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage
  • Getting my yoga certification
  • Working with a therapist when I was struggling. Saying no to her when I realized it wasn’t the right fit for me
  • Calling up my mom in the midst of my pregnancy with big tears, lots of them feeling incredibly scarred of the change in my life. Being okay with still crying when I feel overwhelmed and calling my mom, calling a dear friend and telling her that I am not okay and I need a hug.
  • Telling the whole world I had a miscarriage. Telling the whole world I struggled with postpartum anxiety.
  • Starting this blog, not knowing if I’d have anything meaningful to say, not knowing if anyone would care to read it, not knowing what people would think about me when they would read my blog

These experiences took courage. Even as I type them back some after many months and years, I feel a knot in my stomach, I can see my breath going faster as fear shows up. It isn’t easy to live my truth and then share my truth. When I look back at this transition, one of the key people who has played a role in this shift in my thinking is Brene Brown. Her TED talks here (over 23M views) and here have been truly life-changing if I can give myself permission to say so. Listening to her talk and learning more about her work gave me the freedom to access my own vulnerability and more importantly to find the courage to speak my truth when fear takes over (which it always does!!). Her books have truly inspired me on my path and I am eagerly looking forward to reading her latest book, Rising Strong.

Thank you Brene for being such a beautiful gift in my life. I am a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and employee because of the work you do!

I am writing this post primarily to share Brene Brown’s new online course Living Brave Semester  that starts on 1/11 where she will be providing an opportunity to explore what it means to fully show up in our lives – to be brave, lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life. I just signed up for this class and thought of sharing with all of you as well. You can use the code “COURAGE” to get a 20% discount in the class. This isn’t an affiliate link which means I DON’T get compensated in any way if you sign up. This is truly a gift of love that I hope to share with you.

 

Posted by & filed under Everyday Lessons, Mindfulness.

quote-a-good-life-happens-when-you-stop-and-are-grateful-for-the-ordinary-moments-that-so-brene-brown-78-77-53

 

This is perhaps my first new years eve where I don’t have big lofty goals for the year ahead. No drastic (intentional) changes that I am planning to make, no bold achievements that I want to commit myself to. I sat with this feeling for over a month trying to explore why this was the case and what is my heart truly desiring for in the new year. What do I hope to create for myself and how do I want to show up in the world?

 

What I most truly want for myself is peace and love. I hope to spend most of my days with awareness and not feel like I am running around to get through my day. While I have made significant progress with this over the last few years, I want this to be my intention for the year – to notice the ordinary moments, to refuel and inspire myself through the day and to bring more energy and joy in the ordinary every day moments that make my life so beautiful. Making time for a full time job, school and family doesn’t leave large chunks of downtime yet I know I have minutes throughout my day to pause and pay attention, to notice the sky, the warm sensations of soup on my tongue, the simple “I love you” texts to my husband for no reason, to share a meal with a neighbor and play in the park with my son at 6 pm on a weekday. I won’t be able to exercise for an hour every day but I can find a few minutes a few times a day to connect with and nourish my body. I hope to look more inward, connect better with myself, listen to my own mind and see what she has in store for me.   I have been craving for quiet time with paints and canvas and I know I can take out a few minutes a week with a toddler running around in the background. It’s about the intentions, the small actions, the moments of paying attention, the connection with my own mind and body that translate into peace for me in this new year.

 

The other strong feeling that is showing up in my life is to give and practice kindness in support of the millions of those who don’t have access to life’s basic amenities. I struggle significantly trying to process poverty, rape, hunger, lack of education rights and can often get overwhelmed understanding why I have organic food on my table most nights and the luxury to sleep on a cozy bed with a down comforter and a 5 year old child cannot get a bowl of rice and beans and a simple sweater on a cold winter night. I also feel sad that I am not a part of the solution and that most of my work supports economic opportunity for a different demographic and that I as a privileged human being am doing almost nothing to empower the individuals who need the most. I want to change this for myself as this pain has been getting bigger and bigger as my own bucket seems to be getting more & fuller. I have been dreaming up a fundraiser to support children at an orphanage and will be sharing details with all of you in the coming weeks. Even though this will be an incredibly small drop in the ocean, I want to start somewhere in a way that is more impactful than I have in the past.

 

My life feels abundant and rich in the chaos of an ordinary modern life. I hope I continue to pay attention to these beautiful moments of joy, the unpleasant and difficult sensations of pain and confusion, the days when life feels incredibly overwhelming and I am exhausted and have no answers to the myriad of questions in my head. I hope to practice even more gratitude and find meaning in the ordinary & simple ways of moving through each day.

 

What does your heart truly desire for in the New Year? Where do you most need to nurture and nourish yourself? How do you hope to show up in this new year?

 

 

Posted by & filed under Callings, Everyday Lessons, Vulnerability, Writing.

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This is my first poem on this blog. As a young child I wrote a lot of poetry, a lot! And yes, somewhere along the way I got lost and taught myself to not write poetry until I learnt to listen to my creative voice. I had written this a few years back and this stayed in my folder on a word doc until a few minutes back while I was cleaning my folders.

 

I feel that some of the buds inside me have blossomed and the journey has been beautiful with its joys, tears, struggles and anxieties. Here’s my love for you and hope each of you blossom at the time and place that is right for you. .

 

Desire to Blossom

 

Somewhere deep inside

There is a flower bud, trying hard to blossom

To express itself and share its fragrance,

To inspire and heal

To reach its fullness and vigor

 

Yet there is struggle, anxiety & uncertainty

The bud isn’t sure if the time is right

Whether it should blossom today or wait for the next spring

To keep growing slowly and be full grown by spring

Or simply blossom at its full pace today

Find another garden or make peace with the one it has

 

That’s when the bud needs love, acceptance & trust

And that it can find its own way. Until then…

Feed it, water it, and give it the sunshine it needs

Allow it to explore and reflect until it finds it right home

Nurture it, nourish it and love it for its uncertainty

One day it will blossom, One day it sure will blossom.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Everyday Lessons, Happiness, Imperfections, Mindfulness, Parenting.

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I turned 32 yesterday. I received the wonderful gift to celebrate it in ways that matter with people who matter – I started my day with lots of giggles, cuddles with my little monkey. I realize I can never have enough and that as much parenting a toddler exhausts me it also fills me up like nothing else. There was time for exercise, quiet time with my husband where we made a little progress on our 36 questions project, a wonderful yoga nidra session, a nap and an evening with home cooked food and loved ones. And yes, phone calls, messages, gifts and thoughts from near and dear ones and a few celebrations a few days in advance and a few yet to happen! My heart is full and gratitude is my word of the day.

I love birthdays and I love cutting cakes and blowing candles! It brings out the child in me. I look forward to my own, my son’s and husband’s months in advance and always take the day off from work. I love celebrating loved one’s birthdays and I hope this never changes.

Birthdays are also a time for solitude and silent reflection. As I have this lovely canvas to paint on, here’s what’s showing up for me at this time in my life.

  • 32 is recognizing that my time with my son and husband is my most precious gift and that I enjoy it and find peace in ways I could have never imagined before I was a mom. Clichéd but I had to say it.
  • It is loving my husband way more than I did when I first fell in love. I hope I say this every year on my birthday
  • It is gratitude for healthy, accepting and incredibly loving parents and the rich relationship I share with them
  • It is love for my siblings, more love than when I was 15, 20 or 25
  • It is love for my cousins, my extended family and my in laws. More love than I thought I had in me.
  • It is recognizing that yes, I love my French fries and I can indulge every once in a while but my green smoothies are a much more loyal friend
  • It is feeling really content and secure in my friendships and knowing that I don’t have one “best friend” that I always dreamt of since I was a young girl but that I have several really close friends with whom I can truly be myself. Friends I can be vulnerable with and know that I am loved for being human – with my flaws, fears and imperfections
  • It is acknowledging that my strong sense of curiosity for living in the bay area got me here but noticing this beautiful voice that is inviting me to explore some place else and call it home – Maybe Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, Seattle, Portland. I hope I listen more closely to that voice and what it has to say
  • It is recognizing that an 8 hour uninterrupted night of sleep is a luxury and one that will be scarce for the years to come but despite this I can find peace and contentment and more practically function in ways I didn’t know I could
  • My fear of cancer still continues to be there in the background and I have learnt to not resist and push it but remind myself that if its meant to happen, I’ll sail through. This fear has been there through my teens…
  • With this fear comes the deep pain for those I see suffer and die through cancer. It leaves questions I don’t have answers for and I still haven’t figured out why a 2 year old child loses his mother to cancer
  • Add to this my anger and pain for rape. Words can’t do justice to this so I am not even going to try. I cry, my cheeks are wet and my helplessness makes me cry even more
  • I recognize it took me 8 years to find a little more clarity on what I’ll do when I grow up. Its also recognizing that this will morph, change and that I may get lost again and it is okay
  • It is trying to truly accept and love myself for being the extremely sensitive person that I am. It’s a work in progress but I no longer beat myself up when my tears trickle down so easily
  • It is finding tremendous satisfaction, joy and peace in writing, in expressing myself, my ideas and what I have learnt through my words. When it makes a difference in someone else’s life, even better but I hope I write even when no one is reading
  • It is knowing (for now) that I will have a portfolio career and that it is okay, rather it is beautiful
  • It is experiencing the joy of reading, of books at my bedside, in my car, on my couch and in my backpack. I rarely leave home without a book. I am still amazed that somehow time comes into my life with everything else in my life
  • It is learning a little more about my own ego, my fears and how I can come in my own way to lead a life that matters
  • It is recognizing that doing work that is meaningful is incredibly important to me and when its not, I struggle tremendously. Yet work is not everything in my life and it takes a lot of effort to find ways for all the pieces to fit in together.
  • It is noticing that my love for travel is not at the forefront as it did a few years back. I am realizing that there are a lot of other experiences that give me just as much joy at least at this stage in my life. Perhaps, once I am done with plane rides with a stroller, I may change my mind…
  • My biggest struggle right now is knowing that I am not contributing as much as I’d like to in solving the myriad problems in the world and my life is a little too focused on me

Deep gratitude to Lindsey Mead for her post This is 38 and Dina Relles for her post This is 35 for inspiring me to write this.

Posted by & filed under Everyday Lessons, Imperfections, Mindfulness, Vulnerability.

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We live in a world where tears are often synonymous with weakness. It is often called out as a feminine trait often in a derogatory way. When men shed tears, they have it even worse. Tears in the workplace are called unprofessional and can be labeled emotional and unproductive. Sure, there are times when tears and crying in certain settings can cause more harm them good but …

 

… let’s pause for a moment… What if this wasn’t true all the time? What if our tears existed to tell us something even deeper?

 

I’d like to offer a different perspective that our tears aren’t a sign of weakness but rather a means to express our capacity to empathize with our own or some one else’s suffering. They can be a channel to express what it means to be a human. They can point us to what it is that we truly care about, our deep truths, fears and dreams. Take that in one more time – Our tears can direct us to what truly matters …

 

And crying in public can also be a sign of courage, rather deep courage that comes with being vulnerable and authentic and giving our inner truths to manifest fully. It can also bring people together and inspire others to connect with their truth.

 

My personal most powerful encounter with tears was in my business school Effective Management, Communication & Action classroom. We always start this class with each student engaging in an intentional check in. Our class in Dec’12 was a little different; it was soon after the tragic incident in Newtown, CT. My male professor stepped into the circle and said that he needed to grieve, he was in pain for all the children who were dead and that he really wanted to hug his children since he hadn’t seen them since the accident. He then broke into tears, lots of them – powerful, kind, intense and raw.

 

There was silence in the room and soon after there were more tears in the room, we all joined one another in mourning for this loss and praying for the families who were gone. Yes, we were all adults in business school and we were crying, tears falling down our cheeks…

 

And then the professor shared his voice after holding a space for us to feel our pain for a few minutes – “ We have grieved and shed our tears. Now let’s wipe them and do our part to try and make a positive difference in the world. We have to move on…“

 

My heart was heavy but I was inspired by the power of the tears in the room and what our professor had just modeled for us. He gave us permission to be human in a business school setting and to bring a systemic view of looking at the world. We had a productive class albeit with some sadness but we reached our goals for the day.He showed us that being human and being productive were not mutually exclusive, rather ways in which we can truly embody and expand our own capacity to be our whole selves.

 

What’s your point of view? Have your tears been a source of strength, connection, impact or community?  Come join the conversation…

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Everyday Lessons, Kindness.

oscar-wilde-smallest-act-of-kindness

July 4th is a good friend’s wedding anniversary and this past year she had a 6-month-old little cutie! As most new parents can perhaps relate to, she had no plans of doing anything special, as her babysitter was busy. I instantly offered to watch her baby and was incredibly touched by her trust and more importantly overjoyed myself to see the joy in her text messages that she is likely going to take me up on my offer. As I reached her house at 8:30 pm, I was excited to see her all dressed up, the nice silk shirt, the simple and graceful make up and that red lipstick!

 

Luckily she lives a block away, but unfortunately, my little one didn’t want to sleep early so I took him with me as we both weren’t ready to sleep without each other:-)  Vivaan was incredibly excited to explore and check out a new bathroom, a new fridge, new books that were significantly more interesting and almonds that tasted different that what he eats at home!! Ah toddlers and their unpredictable brains:-)

 

The little baby didn’t wake up but kept turning and tossing every few minutes but my little one refused to sleep until dad came to pick him up. He thought he was going on a field trip and happily said bye and gave me a flying kiss! My friend came back and once again a part of my heart felt full and content to see both of them happy. She thanked me whole-heartedly; I left with a big smile.

 

I came home and a part of me felt incredibly nourished and soft. I sat with my thoughts and eventually had to pen them down. Giving, connecting, receiving, sharing and above all loving wholeheartedly feels good. It’s a gift to have people in my life whose kids I can watch, for their trust in me. It’s a blessing to have a husband who values and encourages kindness even if it means our own schedules may be slightly rearranged. It’s a treat to live in a community where I know my neighbors and I can share my real, raw and vulnerable self. I am grateful to have the luxury of time to build meaningful relationships and receive love.

 

As I aspire to build my career, acquire new skills and think about my 401k accounts, I hope I continue to remember what truly matters and make time for love. I hope our world transforms that we celebrate love and community more than the sizes of our houses and the titles on our resume. I hope I continue to have friends whose kids I can watch, whose cribs I can rock and whose diapers I can change. I hope to be able to have the capacity and courage to love, give and share!

 

This coming Friday, a dear cousin has offered to watch Vivaan and her girls are overjoyed to have a “baby” to play with. My heart swells with gratitude, love, abundance and the power of kindness is right here.

 

Take a moment and pause and reflect on when someone did something meaningful for you. Then also think about the last time you did something thoughtful for someone. What emotions does this bring up for you? If this desires and emotions are meaningful to you, how can you create more of these in your life?

Posted by & filed under Callings, Parenting, Writing.

I had always wanted to write. I had started writing my first book at 13. It was a memoir of a teenage girl (aka me) about my adventures at boarding school. It was raw, vulnerable, honest and funny until it was not. I somehow convinced myself that I shouldn’t pursue this love of mine. After all, I was good at math and science and that is what I “should” do and writing will somehow happen in my free time. I wrote journals, edited my college magazine and dreamt of having my own blog but then again my inner critic took over and I reminded myself that my grammar wasn’t perfect, that I didn’t have enough time or my ideas weren’t original enough and the blog wasn’t born…… Until my baby was born and I was up through the night nursing and trying to make sense of my world and my love of writing, service, community, yoga, mindfulness, coaching would totally keep knocking at my door. Even in this incredibly sleep deprived state, in the middle of the night, I’d scribble in my journal or type down a few words on my phone. I didn’t have a perfect vision or a roadmap or a checklist but I knew I had to listen to this voice of mine that would just not stop. I had to give birth to something that would let me express myself and build a platform that would connect people and build community and my blog was born.

As any new mom will attest, the first year is intense and I work full time and am also going to grad school so I never thought I’d actually be able to feed this love of mine but after 21 posts on my blog and 4 more as a guest blogger, I couldn’t be more grateful to have started my writing practice. While time is a scarce resource, taking out a few hours a month for my writing has given me a soulful container to share my experiences, more importantly an ability to share what I have learnt from those around me and pay it forward. I have learnt that when we take baby steps in the manifestation of our purpose, when we spend time in practicing kindness, our own heart finds more love, more joy and more contentment and this process fuels giving.

Much gratitude to all the wonderful moms in the world who model that we can pursue meaningful paths as a parent even with all the drool on our shirts, the unfolded laundry, the bedtime struggles and the round belly. My writing is a peek into my mind for my growing son. This work is even more important to me as a parent as I am trying to live what I hope to teach him – to take risks, to learn new skills, to give in the world and build meaningful connections. It is a legacy I hope to leave behind for him – my words, the reason behind my words and the impact I hope to create to serve others.

What is that childhood dream of yours that wants to manifest in the world but your inner critic is suppressing it? How can you spend 30 minutes next week to create something that matters to you?