Posted by & filed under Callings, Work.

Alan Cohen Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few people have asked me lately – Why are you writing this blog? What is your mission & vision with this blog? Some people find it interesting that in addition to a full time job, grad school and a small baby (who is about to turn one!!), I would still dedicate resources to writing and growing this online community when I could be focusing more on what’s already on my plate.

 

And the short answer is – I am deeply called to do this work right now. My inner critic reminded me how busy I am as a new working mom, that every free minute in my day “should” be spent with my baby and that there are enough blogs in the world that my voice isn’t needed (ouch!) and YET, I couldn’t stop myself from writing & sharing with all of you.

 

I have to confess that I don’t have a well-crafted vision or a north star that I am aspiring for. It is in the works and perhaps one day I’ll have more clarity but for now I am absolutely enjoying this journey …

 

However, what I do have clarity on is my now (in formal terms my mission). I hope to share my voice & deliver content via various products & services to inspire a life that encompasses both personal fulfillment & global impact.

 

So what does this really mean?

 Self  Expression + Service

 a) Self Expression

 I had always wanted to write. In fact, I had started writing my first book, (on life at a boarding school) when I was 13. That book isn’t in print anywhere and I wish I had followed my heart and finished the book but somewhere I believed that doing math problems and competing in debate competitions is what good girls do. Ah!

 

Fast-forward to a decade later, I still wanted to write but my inner critic got loud, too too loud. She kept telling me how my grammar wasn’t perfect, how I didn’t have any new ideas and that my time is better spent somewhere else. I listened to her. Sigh…

 

For many years, my left-brain was fueled with numbers and power point in my job(s) but my right brain felt lonely and unloved. I only dreamt of this blog, this community, the impact it could have and I kept telling myself, I’ll do it when X happens, Y happens and the usual drill of listening to your fears.

 

It was truly during my pregnancy when I had this absolutely unstoppable voice that kept telling me – “Neha, you are giving birth to a baby and he will learn more from how you live your life than how you ask him to live his life. GO start your blog. You will never be busier or more exhausted than as a new mom but you have to start somewhere.”

 

I am so glad I listened to that voice and have the wonderful privilege to think about what I have to say, to think about what the world can benefit from hearing and translate them into words.

 

b) Service

 I have always found great joy in helping people and honestly I am no special person in feeling that way. Our brains are biologically wired to care. Pause for a moment and think of the times when you have felt your heart fill up with joy and almost always there will be a component of care, love and giving in it!

 

I am sharing this blog so that more of you can connect with your truth, share your voice and gifts in the world and contribute to the conversations that are not happening. I wanted to share my own thoughts as well as the voice of those who have helped me on my journey, in helping me feel unstuck and go for the life I am truly called to live. I want to build a community of people – those who can inspire others by their own truths.

 

When we feed our true desires, fuel our authentic voices, we make a difference in the world. We care, we give, we love and that is what the world truly needs!

 

Looking Ahead

 In the years ahead, I do hope to get my coaching certification and do more of teaching, writing, speaking & coaching. Not sure if I want this to be my full time work but I hope to create a business that can serve people in accessing their true potential through this platform and build in a component that can also serve children & women in developing countries so that they too can access their true potential and I can stay true to my purpose of self expression and service.

 

For now, I am finding great meaning in the work I am doing today and connecting with each of you via this platform.

 

Thank you to the people for the questions! You inspired me to write this post:-)

 

 

Posted by & filed under Interviews.

This is a project  very close to my heart where I have conversations with people who inspire me on my journey and embody what it means to live a mindful, authentic and meaningful life. I hope their stories and journey inspire you and bring you a tiny bit closer to your own truths, dreams and desires.

 

Myshkin_Ingawale

Myshkin and I went to college together and I have known him as a happy, adventurous, fearless, kind and empathetic person who  is always a joy to be around. He questioned the status quo and didn’t want to do what all of us were aspiring for in college. Fast  forward a decade and he is living true to his values and dreams. It’s been an honor knowing him and watching him follow his  dreams and serve others along the way. What strikes me most about his journey is his courage to truly be himself, take the risks  that many of us would cringe about and most importantly, his humility with all of his absolutely amazing accomplishments (see  below!!)

 

 

1) How does living consciously manifest in your life?

Regardless of our circumstances in life, each of us always has choices. Living consciously implies introspecting before making choices. The most important thing to realize, of course – that even though there might appear to be a “default” option, the choice to pick the default or pick any other option is ours to make – hopefully after a thoughtful consideration of benefits, costs and risks!

 

2) What got you inspired to pursue a career in social entrepreneurship when you could have sought a much more traditional and stable career? 

In today’s world, I think, increasingly, the notion of a ‘traditional and stable career’ is changing and everyone has be comfortable with change, with movement, with – essentially – innovation and entrepreneurship, whether it is within the guise of a corporation or without. I must confess I never even knew the term “social entrepreneur” when I took the decision to (apparently!) become one. I don’t agree with the term ‘social entrepreneur’ itself and believe the term to be more a ‘flavor of the decade’ product our collective social commentary than of anything with basis in ground reality – fundamentally, an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur – but that is a whole other debate! With regards to the logic behind my decision making about my career, this can be accounted for either by a) Temporary insanity or b) Temporary sanity, when I happened to do the introspection suggested in point (1) and unchecked the “default” box in my life 😛

 

3) Tell us more about your wedding and how that was so non conventional and yet so meaningful to what you and your wife stand for?

My wedding was non-typical of Indian weddings. Unlike the traditional “big fat Indian wedding” which I can only describe with not-so-complimentary words like “a big bore”, “a humungous chore” and “a huge snore!”, my wife and I were married with a scribble on a court document followed by what could have passed for a tea-party at our house, with her parents, my parents and a few close relatives dropping by to say hello over the course of the afternoon. I must thank both sets of parents for graciously agreeing to this much pleasanter way to tying the knot!

 

4) What comes in the way of your making intentional, conscious choices and what brings you back on track?

Fear – of all kinds! – of failure, of abandonment, of humiliation, of future regrets, etc – gets in the way of making intentional, conscious choices. Fear grips the brain and colors our thinking with panic, blocks out our true selves. I guess each one of us has to find a mechanism, a “trick” to get back to our true selves at the moments of making choices. My trick: I just “zoom out” mentally. At some level of zoom, panic vanishes, as you soar and see the big picture, the “eagle’s eye view” of your decision, yourself, in the interconnected world of people at large.Super trick hack with nitro boosters: Don’t stop there though! I find that if we zoom out sufficiently, we are nothing more than an assorted group of over- grown monkeys (now with great mobile phones!) who happen to habit this slightly bluish green dot, one amongst a great many similar and dissimilar dots that make up the cosmos. Now, take the decision in front of you…

 

5) As a new dad, what are a few things that you’d like to tell your son about your journey?

I would like to tell him that we are all just incredible lucky to be here on this bluish green dot, and whatever he does, will be OK. So long as he follows 1-4 above, haha!

 

6) What are some new adventures in the pipeline?

I am working to create a platform that allows anyone with an idea to bring it to reality, without taking a huge amount of personal risk. This is an initiative that will use the power of the social web, the power of the crowd, to help and support high impact ideas. More on this soon!

 

7) If you had 30 days that you could spend in any way you’d like, what would you do with them?

33%: Spend time with family. Play!

33%: Spend time on learning new things and putting them to the test. More Play!

33%: Eat, drink, sleep!

…so somewhat similar to my current schedule then 😀

 

8) Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?

One of my favorite one-liners is this one by Groucho Marx: “If you come to a fork in the road …. Take it!”I think it has levels of interpretation beyond the initial humor. It could be interpreted as saying “don’t worry about the definition that is ‘right’ for the first part of the sentence….you are free to make the second part into something a little bit different, a little bit special, by picking the non-default option if you feel like it: And the sentence will be all the more meaningful, thanks to your imagination and courage!”

 

Myshkin_Ingawale

Myshkin co-founded Biosense, an internationally recognized med-tech company designing and building innovative, disruptive healthcare technologies.

In the past, Myshkin has worked at Mckinsey & Company, on client engagements across the Banking, Technology, Pharma and Healthcare sectors. He has been a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was part of the team that conceptualized and built the Copenhagen Wheel, an innovative electric bicycle concept demoed at the United Nations Climate Summit 2009.

He holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal. His PhD research – on the conditions under which quality emerges in open collaborative platforms like Wikipedia – has been published in the international journal Online Information Review (OIR), and at multiple conferences. He is a regular speaker at global conferences such as TED, Global Insight Network, Autodesk University, St. Gallen’s Symposium, and an advisor to the Inter Institutional Inclusive Innovation Center.

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What part of Myshkin’s journey most resonated with you? Let us know in the comment’s below!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Movie_theater

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few months back I saw a movie in the theatre. Yes, with a baby who chose to be absolutely fascinated with big adults on a big screen and the unlimited nursing that he had access to!

 

As I walked out of the theatre, I looked at my husband and said – “ The movie was OK, nothing too special.”

 

I pondered that night. Was the movie just ‘meh’ or did I think it was okay. On the surface, they both appear to be the same statement but after peeling one layer, I realized that these weren’t the same things.

 

When I said that the movie was not too special, I made a sweeping generalization on the movie which was an absolutely narrow way of looking at a piece of art that had thousands of hours of hard work, dedication and love poured into it. The movie wasn’t good or bad, the movie was the movie. Sure, I didn’t like it but that had nothing to do with what the movie was. It was simply my opinion, my feedback and what the movie did for me and I needed to say just that – “ I didn’t like the movie.” Now, if someone absolutely loved the experience and said the movie was fantastic, did the movie suddenly become fantastic? No, once again, the movie was just that, the movie.

 

As I reflected, I realized I am so quick to label the thing instead of recognizing that I am trying to articulate my feelings, my emotions, and my responses. Could I have said – I didn’t like the grilled sandwich vs. the restaurant and food wasn’t good. I didn’t relate to the author vs. the author doesn’t know how to write.

 

It is our opinions, our beliefs, our emotions, our feelings that create impressions of what art, music, design is believed to be and we need to exercise more discernment between the works of art and what that work does for us. When we label pieces of work, we create limitations in our own mind on the possibilities of impact & influence of someone’s work. By acknowledging our own opinions as just that, our opinions, we can create a space for different ideas & views to co-exist and increase our ability to value our differences and the collective richness that adds into our worlds.

 

Do you agree or think differently?

 

What did you think of this post? Note: I am not asking HOW was this post but rather what did this evoke for you:-)

 

Posted by & filed under Callings, Imperfections, Work.

Quotation-Richard-Bach-best-Meetville-Quotes-121654

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 25, single, living in Los Angeles and in many ways having it all (externally).

I was doing what I thought good, hardworking, ambitious women do. They work hard, climb the corporate ladder, earn money, spend it (perhaps on some nice clothes at Anthropologie!!), save money in their 401k account, eat at nice restaurants, donate money, volunteer, run marathons, hang out with friends, serve on a non-profit board, find the right guy, plan a wedding, you get it!!

 

Yet, somewhere deep inside, I still wasn’t feeling complete. I had a lot of questions. Here I was living “ the dream” and yet not really living it. Being a working professional didn’t feel as fulfilling as I thought it would be. I felt disengaged, disheartened, exhausted, stressed, lonely & depleted. I feel a little odd typing these words today as it feels so clichéd having read so many of these stories here and here and here but regardless I’ll still join the club:-)

 

So while coping with my chaos, one morning (interestingly during a scavenger hunt for a team building activity at work) as I was walking down the streets of Santa Monica, I came across this absolutely gorgeous studio called Exhale where I took my first yoga class and I was hooked. I kept coming back again & again. Friday evening meant a Restorative Yoga class!

 

Every class made a difference. I felt a little more relaxed, a little more content, a little more aware, and a little more peaceful. As I saw my own thoughts more clearly, I also experienced more turmoil. In some ways more questions started showing up and sometimes there were no answers.

 

Yet, I loved going back to my mat. I loved the ability to truly stretch my body in ways I had never done before. I loved being able to pause and try to find the truth that existed inside of me and not having to prove or live up to someone else’s expectations. I loved being in a community of like-minded people.

 

Did all my problems disappear? Absolutely not BUT I felt a little more held, a little more supported, a little more secure in navigating life’s challenges.

 

My own practice and the difference it made in my life inspired me to get my certification, to learn more about mindfulness and compassion. I wanted to deepen my own understanding and share with others how amazing our own mind and body is and what a different it can make in healing ourselves!

 

One of the key reasons I am writing this post is to explore further the quote at the beginning of the post. A few years back, I would have never  imagined having the words yoga/meditation teacher in my bio because I am not the most calm or relaxed person and often carry anxiety with me. Somewhere I believed (wrongfully) that teachers have it all figured out and are absolute masters of the outcomes they are trying to create. Facing my own anxiety and learning to practice kindness with myself has given me tremendous strength to be real, human, imperfect and still hold a space where others can access their own wisdom, calm and peace that exists inside of each one of us. I wouldn’t be doing this work had I not been a sensitive, anxious and impatient person myself and seen the benefits of this practice and I am incredibly grateful to what I sometimes call negative traits. Ah, the ego!

 

What do you most need to learn that others can benefit from? What are you called to share in the world?

 

Come join the conversation!

Posted by & filed under Mindfulness.

 

Enlightenment

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days back I was having lunch with a new friend who I met at a retreat and we were discussing her experience at a 6-day silent retreat at Spirit Rock. This was truly a “silent” retreat with 14 hours of meditation everyday!

What a treat:-)

In some ways, you can expect perfect calm and relaxation at a retreat like this. No to do lists, no errands, no work, no email, no cooking, no cleaning. You get it! And yet in some ways, being alone with our own mind, truly paying attention, witnessing what shows up WITHOUT judgment is very hard work, very hard work!! (My friend Jeena Cho has a beautiful post on her experience at a silent retreat that is very heartwarming!)

As I was listening to her honest stories and reflections, she said something that deeply stuck with me –

“I didn’t experience PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT in any way but many several moments of enlightenment; moments of clarity, joy, peace along with moments of chaos, confusion, frustration, resistance, fear.”

Her statement was indeed magical. Many of us secretly aspire to that perfect state of clarity and peace yet the reality is that it almost never exists. It is in the moments of confusion that we get a chance to practice mindfulness, to practice self – compassion and further enhance our ability to see clearly and become a tiny bit more skilled at navigating all of life’s confusions. And when we are in the muck, it is so hard to see its wonderful gifts that we can get so anxious to push it aside and not be in the state of confusion. And yet, the discomfort is what truly helps us get a little closer to the feeling of calm!

In fact, over the years I have realized that when we aspire for that perfect enlightenment, we actually set ourselves up for failure because we forget what it means to be human.

I now aspire for the ability to feel and clearly see the pain, the anger, the confusion, the chaos and witness it without any judgment but have the wisdom to respond skillfully to these emotions. And this is indeed hard because I am constantly trying to be that “strong person” who doesn’t cry. Ah, the ego!

As Thich Nhat Hanh says – “Suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. We find something to eat or turn on the television. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us.”

MudLotus

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I reflected on our conversation even further, I realized this retreat showed us what life really is and we need to find those moments of small enlightenments along with our to do lists, cooking, cleaning, working, emails, etc. that can sometimes seem to overconsume us!

 

 

Posted by & filed under Work.

hd-wallpapers-fall-foliage-wallpaper-autumn-leaves-2560x1600-wallpaper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our world loves labels – I am a LinkedIn employee, an MBA student, a yoga teacher, a blogger  and a lot more. When things go well in one arena, I feel accomplished and the world around me celebrates my success. When I have had professional accomplishments, people have reached out and wanted to learn about my work. I sometimes get asked how I “do it all.” Not to mention, my ego (often) loves this feeling of doing well. Somewhere I am mislead that this defines me, sigh…

 

And then there are the not so pleasant moments with these labels. I have had my fair share of professional risks that haven’t turned out as well. I have made choices that may not have had the best outcomes and I am no longer the popular kid on the block. It can feel lonely, confusing, and insecure and my friend, “self doubt” loves to run the show at those moments. My ego tricks me again to believe that these dark moments define me. Sigh again…

 

Yet, when I pause, sit in silence before bed, go for that long hike in the tall redwoods, I realize that none of this defines who I am. These labels sure are a part of my identity but they don’t define me and there is a BIG difference between the two.

 

These labels are the leaves on the maple tree that change with the seasons and many eventually fall off so that new leaves may emerge. What defines the tree is its foundation, its core, its roots, and its trunk. What defines me, you and each one of us is our ability to love, express our true voices, dream, give unconditionally (which is hard), receive, take risks, experiment, and sometimes fail. It is our ability to love ourselves despite our imperfections and to eventually find meaning in things larger than ourselves.

 

As I step into the New Year, I hope to nourish my foundation and create conditions so that the leaves may thrive and reach their full potential. Yet, also remind myself that the leaves will fall and no matter how much I may like the fall colors or dislike the brown barren tree, nature often has its own plan and I need to create a space, witness the changes and embrace what emerges.

Posted by & filed under Mindfulness.

Green Gulch Farm

A few weeks back I had the wonderful privilege to spend a day at a retreat at the Green Gulch Farm in Marin. This retreat was called Company Time – A Buddhist retreat for people in the business world. The retreat comprised of gentle yoga, meditation, lecture and discussion.

 

Going on a retreat is one of the most nourishing ways to spend my Saturday and this one was no different yet unique and beautiful in its own ways. It was a simple way to pause, practice being aware, be with the discomfort that showed up in many ways and most importantly, tap into my own inner wisdom that always knows what’s best for me.

 

Tending to myself on a retreat always reminds me of that beautiful necklace sitting in my jewelry box gathering dust. Yet, when I simply pay attention, give it some time and rub it with a piece of cloth, the shine comes back – no special sprays or anything, just pure love and presence!

 

There were people from various backgrounds, workplaces and at different stages in their career yet deep inside we were all the same. We were struggling with very similar issues in our workplaces and our working lives and at the core seeking very similar things from our workplaces. The ability to express ourselves authentically, feel recognized and appreciated for our contributions, to be kind to others and be treated with kindness. It is so humbling that when we pause, reflect and share how much we contribute to our own growth and learning AND also give others permission to connect with their true emotions and remind them that they are not alone in their struggles.

 

I learnt once again the power of the small things – quiet time, gentle movement, simple food cooked with fresh ingredients and love, honest soulful conversations embracing life with its joys and imperfections. I realized how abundant I am and how complete my life is despite all the many things that can often feel broken, incomplete and imperfect. Despite all the challenging emotions that I experienced around my career, my sensitivity, my lack of patience, etc., I also experienced deep calm and joy by simply witnessing and accepting myself for whatever showed up and not resisting my emotions.

 

I also terribly missed my baby. I missed nursing him, feeding him yoghurt with red chili powder and chia seeds (that is his favorite meal these days!!), changing his diapers and tickling his belly. I missed how innocently he wipes his messy face on my yoga pants and the long hugs and the dozens of kisses I give him. But this too was part of my practice – paying attention to my emotions, trying not to push or judge them but holding a space to receive whatever was emerging!

Cannot recommend the green gulch retreats enough. Highly recommend this one as well as another retreat for women that is pretty magical!

 

Green Gulch Yurt

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Kindness, Vulnerability.

The media is full of articles of finding your passion, your dream and pursuing it. This advice absolutely has its merits but we don’t hear much about finding meaning in another person’s dream. A pursuit may not be yours but you may be a part of it and watch it grow, struggle & blossom. Something can be close to a loved one’s heart and that transitivity may bring it close to your heart and bring up very similar emotions as if it were yours …

Almost a year ago, my husband and a friend conceived of an idea that just recently launched a few months back. Over this period, I saw him put in many, many hours of work, make sacrifices, experience joy, thrill, excitement, confusion, uncertainty and the whole gamut of emotions of creating something from scratch. I admire him for how beautifully he made it all work along with a full time job while still being an incredibly hands on dad.

Just recently, I was having a moment of reflecting on my purpose in life and was feeling somewhat disconnected from some of my dreams in the short term. And somewhere deep inside a voice spoke up – “Sumit is able to pursue his interests and he is able to put in the effort he needs to. And in that process, I am able to do my part to be with him and THAT is part of my dream. At first it felt strange – this website isn’t my dream. This doesn’t align deeply with what I’d want to create and yet it felt like this was part of my dream.”

As I dug deeper I realized there is immense joy in watching a loved one pursue their path; there is a profound sense of purpose in watching that smile on his face and finding peace in knowing that I could do my part (however small that may be) in supporting him and that is part of MY purpose.

And then with the joy comes the occasional discomfort. There are moments when my ego and judgment totally takes over and I can get mean and make comments as – “Couldn’t you do something better for the world with your time. Why this? or  This isn’t fair that you can spend all this time on your project and I cant!.”

Even typing these words make me uncomfortable. How and why would I say these things to the person I love so dearly. I may not want to work on this idea but I owe my respect to my husband’s work and that this is more than a website – it’s a labor of love, thousands of lines of code, an idea that is hoping to provide better information to people. Its fascinating how my own views of the world can cloud my appreciation for my husband’s work.

My second discomfort is again my own and enhanced by own ego. If I am unable to do something I want to do, it (almost always) has nothing to do with someone else in my life and yet it’s so much easier to blame someone else!!

As I read this post again, I am myself amazed by the human capacity to experience joy, contentment and judgment at the same time and toward the same situation. Wisdom lies in being aware, noticing and making mindful choices. I don’t always succeed but I am trying to speak and act from a place of kindness. It’s a work in progress:-)

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Kindness.

 

We should all be kind, nice and generous. Not much debate around that.

But how about “sharing” your act of kindness with others? Social media makes it incredibly easy to tell the whole world about how nice you are but does that mean you should do it? Should we go about telling our neighbors how we helped a stranger at the park and how good it felt?

I believe the answers are much more complex than a simple yes or no!

I’ll share a story – When I was in grad school in Texas almost 8 years ago, I was doing an informational interview with another student (whom I’ll call Jane as I unfortunately don’t remember her name). Toward the end of our lunch meeting, she told me about her involvement with the Miracle Foundation, a non-profit organization in Austin helping orphans in India. Her journey and experience inspired me to get involved too and since then I have had the privilege to meet the wonderful people running this non- profit, contribute money, volunteer at their orphanages, organize fundraisers, and in that journey empower a few others to join me as well. My involvement with this organization is one of the MOST fulfilling experiences of my life.

Who knows if I would have had this wonderful privilege had I not had that lunch conversation and had Jane not shared about the inspiring work done by the Miracle Foundation and how much she was moved by their work.

Stories are powerful. Stories stick. Stories inspire us to act. The simple act of Jane sharing her story empowered and inspired me to make a difference…

And yet, there are times we share because our ego needs that boost, we want the likes on our FB page or we are seeking approval and need some brownie points for being nice. Unfortunately, I too have fallen into this trap.

I don’t believe there is a straightforward answer to whether we should share or not… and the wisdom lies not just in the what but also in the why, in our intentions and our desire behind sharing and most importantly, the awareness we bring to that action. A few journaling questions to think about –

  • Why are you sharing? What are we hoping to create for yourself?
  • Are you seeking approval, trying to SHOW that you are a kind person?
  • Is there something you are trying to fix about yourself with this story?
  • Do we want to inspire others on a new journey?

While it may seem that there is one right answer, I believe there isn’t one and it all comes back to acting with awareness and in integrity with our values. We all do lots of things to feel better and on some occasions getting a small ego boost by sharing how “nice” we are can have its pros if in that process it can also bring food on the table for someone. We each need to decide for ourselves what is driving us to act.

I also find it tremendously helpful to think about how I feel after sharing. When I act with awareness and say things that align with my values, I feel relaxed in my body and content in my heart. And then there are times when my ego gets in the way and if I pay attention, my body gives me instant feedback and I can notice some tension and stress in me. The answers are clear at that point:-)

However, this is what is most important –

We should give and be nice because that’s the right thing to do and not because it gives us some content to share on our twitter feed!

The sharing can be the icing on the cake but we can all try to find the real joy in the act of giving and being kind and not the other way around.

Posted by & filed under Everyday Lessons, Vulnerability.

My first ultrasound: there was a heartbeat, a little seed of life growing in me, I was in joy and in disbelief; experienced a little anxiety and a lot of gratitude.

My second ultrasound, a week later – intuitively it felt different, the doctor’s expressions didn’t signal a positive sign and yes the heartbeat was goneL. The doctor brought me a few wipes but the tears didn’t fall my eyes. It hadn’t sunk in.

I finally felt the pain when I got home. The baby was as big as a blueberry that week and that’s what I called him (I had an intuition that it was a boy!) and I hugged my husband and cried in pain – “I miss our blueberry.” That night the tears didn’t stop.

I had to allow myself to be mindful and create a space to experience my emotions without any judgment. I realized that by allowing myself to experience my true emotions and NOT suppress them, the next day, I felt much better. Day by day, week by week, my wounds were slowly healing.

Despite the pain, the loss, the numerous doctor’s visits, knowing that I won’t have a 9-month baby in my belly this birthday, today, I feel calm and peaceful and most importantly a little wiser than I was before this experience.

Here’s what I learnt –

Clarity and Purpose

 My tears taught me how much I wanted to be a mother. I had been in a dilemma for many years unsure if giving birth was my path and I learnt how much this felt like my own authentic calling. Yet, I also learnt that I was a complete human being and on my true path even if nature has a different plan for me and I cannot give birth.

 Surrender

I learnt to accept that there are certain events in life over which I have no control and no matter how hard I try, I have to bow done, with grace and humility.

 Ability to Love

 I now love every child, every pregnant woman and every mother even more. I have deep respect and appreciation for what it means to be a parent even as I took one tiny step on that journey.

 Vulnerability

 I learnt the power of speaking and sharing your truth and that it takes courage and strength and not weakness to be vulnerable. By sharing my story, I strengthened my relationship with so many people in my life and reminded myself that I wasn’t alone.

Gratitude

 I learnt to pause and take a moment to feel grateful for all the things that did go right – amazing family, friends, co-workers and professors who loved and supported me in their own unique ways; access to doctors and nurses who did everything they could to take care of me.

 Self Awareness

 I developed an increased awareness of my own emotions and also improved my ability to empathize for all the other women in the world who may have been on this journey, many of whom may not have access to the resources I had in this difficult period.

Finally this experience brought my husband and me even closer. We bond not just in times of joy and happiness but also through our struggles and adversities.

I had written this post a couple of months after I lost our first baby. I am an incredibly blessed mama to our baby boy, Vivaan!

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What have you learnt from your tears and pain? Please join this conversation by sharing your story in the comments below.