This Is Bravery #MondayMusings #DaringGreatly

This Is Bravery #MondayMusings #DaringGreatly

This is Bravery?

There are days
That you don’t want to wake up
Knowing full well what
The day ahead will bring.

Deadlines and chores
You can deal with
Projects and planning
Seem a breeze.

It’s the inner work
That can sap you
Of energy and leave you
Feeling weak and vulnerable.

Facing reality of your past
Admitting that it
Affects your present
More than you’ve realized.

Owning those feelings
Of inadequacy
Facing those demons
That haunt you.

Sleepless nights
Restless thoughts
Self-doubt
Fear and anger.

This is bravery

Yet you press on
Going further inward
Daring to face
Your own vulnerability.

Owning your story
Acknowledging the part
You played in deeply
Hurting your soul.

Speaking of your hurt
And learning to let
The light shine on
Those dark places within.

Authenticity is hard
But then so is
Living a life
Of never daring.
this-is-bravery

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown

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Here’s how it works:

  • Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
  • Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.
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#MondayMusings

Joining Mel Ford’s Microblog Mondays and Mac Glanville’s  linky #mg

#MicroblogMondays

Reflectionsfromme

Thanks to Mac for selecting me as a featured writer for my post last week.

Reflectionsfromme

31-days-of-awesome


Image of dandelion courtesy Shutterstock

Daring To Start Over

Daring To Start Over

In keeping with my attempts to be daring this year, I’m daring to start over with my subscriber list.

Let me explain.

I’ve been blogging since December 2007 – almost 8 years. During this time I’ve attempted in a variety of ways to grow my subscriber list. I’ve tried the Feedburner updates, Aweber and Postmatic (both paid) and MailChimp. While my subscriber list went to about 400 at one time, I realized that the percentage of those actually reading my blog via the e-mail updates was very low.  I’ve looked at the reasons for this and think that these  might include (and I say this without meaning to offend any one):

  • I no longer write posts that appeal to those who signed up.
  • Too many posts.
  • Non-bloggers who signed up, but are too polite to unsubscribe.
  • Bloggers who used to be a part of my circle, but aren’t anymore.
  • Bloggers and others who’ve found more efficient ways to subscribe to my posts – via Feedly, Bloglovin’ etc.

How did I come to this conclusion? Because I’ve been every one of these reader types at some point.

For a few weeks I tried a weekly newsletter, but I must confess that I got lazy about it. Now, I’m recommitting myself to one – but with a difference.

dont-be-the-same-be-better

I’m daring to start over

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to kill the list and start over from 0 subscribers. Yes, I’m daring to start over.

I’m also moving out from only blog post updates. If you’re a subscriber, you should get more than other readers, shouldn’t you? (Thanks for the nudge and the inspiration, Elena of Living With Batman).

Going forward, all subscribers will receive a weekly letter – every Sunday.

If you sign up for this letter you’ll receive a lot more than just blog updates – there’ll be news, views and links, book suggestions, recipes, discounts, challenges and exclusive subscriber giveaways (and takeaways!) – printables, e-books, etc.

You’re welcome to tell me what you would like less of and what you would like included in this letter. I promise you won’t be disappointed! (There’s always the ‘unsubscribe’ button, if you are. I promise I won’t be offended.)

Want to sign up for my weekly letter today? Fill in the form below today. (Once you’ve subscribed look out for a confirmation email from ‘Tiny Letter’.)

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Challenging Myself  #septemberchallenge

Challenging Myself #septemberchallenge

September is here, officially signalling the last quarter of 2015. Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Is that why I find time going so fast for the past few years? Or perhaps, it’s just one more thing that happens to you in midlife?

I’m challenging myself this September. An extension of the promise I made to myself at the start of the year to dare greatly. Emotionally, I know I’ve succeeded in daring greatly this year. There are other aspects of my life that I still need to work on – my health and my writing and blogging.

Last month, I dared to do some blood work that I have been avoiding for a while now. Surprisingly, despite my best efforts to be unhealthy, the results were good!! I got lucky – but I don’t want to push my luck any more. This month, I hope to walk at least five times a week and make better choices with food and snacks.

My Morning Page practice has suffered in the last few months. I write intermittently. It is as if I am afraid to get in touch with certain parts of me that I know this practice will bring to the fore. This month I will dare to show up every day and write those three pages.

“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.”
― Brené Brown

willingness-to-show-up

Last month, I attempted to go back to blogging basics. To focus on writing, answering comments and commenting on a lot of other blogs. What a joy! I wondered, why I had moved away from it.

I was happy to turn down a couple of sponsored posts that I felt called me to compromise on my writing. I will continue doing sponsored posts, but will not allow the sponsor to dictate to me, as they attempted to do. I have decided to be very careful about the companies I link to. One client want a post that required me to recommend their mutual fund services. When the Indian market crashed the week after I turned down their post, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I  am repledging myself to be vulnerable and authentic in my blogging. Just yesterday, I came across this post that spoke very loudly to me.

I’ve always liked the concept behind blogging. The opportunity to share ideas with people in a free online space, and to build community and relationship with my readers up close.

But what I love about blogging – and what I and many others have forgotten at times – is it gives us the opportunity to be brutally honest and authentic with our readers. At it’s best, it should be a space we can develop and share ideas honestly, even with their sharp edges. A place to explore and refine ideas.

This is how blogging began. And despite all the platform building voices we hear nowadays, the best blogs are ones where this still happens. ~ James Prescott

My attempt to stick to a blogging challenge last month, didn’t happen, so I decided to create the September Blogging Challenge here.

We start today with simple guidelines:

  1. Commit to writing 5 posts a week.
  2. Add you link to the linky on my post for the day.
  3. Comment on my post and 2 other posts linked before yours. If you are the first person to link, then visit the previous day’s post and comment on the last 2 blogs linked there.
  4. Do share the posts you’ve visited on social media using the hashtag #septemberchallenge.
  5. Reach out to me if you need any assistance.
  6. Use the button below (optional) in your posts to indicate your participation.

As promised, I have set up a page with Blog Hops and Writings prompts. I’ve also set up your blogs – those that I could find feed urls for – to autotweet your posts every day.

If you’re blogging for 30 days, then do consider these three challenges too:

  1. Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
  2. BlogHer’s September NaBloPoMo.
  3. The 2015 #blogtemperchallenge. Thanks for bringing it to my notice, Sanch Vee.

Most of all, enjoy writing, connecting and sharing!

Everyday Gyaan

Daring To Be Vulnerable

Daring To Be Vulnerable

Brené Brown tells us that the root of the word courage is ‘cor’, which is the Latin word for ‘heart’. In its earliest form, ‘courage’ meant “To speak one’s by mind by telling all one’s heart.”

In today’s context, it seems almost an extraordinary thing to trust another with our true feelings. Revealing our inner self to another makes us vulnerable. What will the other think of me? Will s/he laugh at my feelings? Will s/he brush them aside as if they don’t matter? Will s/he tell me I’m foolish to feel this way? These are just some of the questions that stop us from allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with another.

In the last month or so, I’ve been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and malaise. José keeps asking me why I am not writing my Morning Pages or doing my creative journalling. I really have no answer. I’ve been telling him that I just feel low and can’t seem to find an explanation for this. I know the feelings will pass, so I’m not unduly worried about them.

What I’m celebrating is the fact that I’m daring greatly to be vulnerable – vulnerable enough to share my feelings with José and know that he has a safe pair of hands to catch me.

daring to be vulnerable

Yes, I’m daring to be vulnerable.

Believe me, for someone like me, who was a master of the cover up, this is a huge step.  For the most part of my life, I went about as if everything in my world was perfect. And people were happy to believe that. If I ever said that I wasn’t feeling okay, it would make others uncomfortable. How could Little Miss Sunshine who hid behind that fabulous smile ever be not okay?

But I was far from okay. And too scared to talk about it to others. This was, in part, because the root of my unhappiness was not (or so I thought) my story to tell.  So I kept things completely to myself and hid my feelings behind a smile. The only emotion I allowed myself was anger – that too only at home.

I was that friend who was always around to listen and understand. I soaked in the pain of others. I compared my feelings of pain with those of others, and it always seemed that their pain was more than mine. My problems seemed insignificant, or so I taught myself to believe.

I longed to be understood and to be loved by that one special person. As a result, I invested a lot of myself in a series of ‘relationships’ in which I tried too hard to love in return for being loved. I now realize that quite apart from the fact that these guys were a bunch of frogs, the fact that I was always the emotionally strong one didn’t make for a good match.

It was when I realized that I had first to learn to love myself, that things began to change. Ever so slowly.

It has taken a lot of inner work and the love and understanding of a husband who saw me for who I am much before I saw myself, to be where I am today. Now I dare to be vulnerable, just as I dare to be strong. In fact, from owning my vulnerability came a lot of inner courage and resolve. I now dare to speak from my heart, even at the risk of being unpopular.

There have been times in the past few years, that I’ve dared to be vulnerable with people I thought were friends, only to have them turn this around to their advantage. But that’s part of the journey.

I’m not done yet. There are several areas of my life that need to be spoken of and dealt with – wrong choices I still carry guilt for, and hurt feelings I have to come to terms with. Perhaps these past few days have been indicators of that – a call to grow, to dare, to be even more vulnerable and most of all to be more authentic.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

On the eve of my 50th birthday, I celebrate my ability to be ‘cor’ageous. I promise myself that I will work on letting the light in to those feelings that I’m too afraid to share and pledge to continue speaking from my heart!

Daring To Be Creative Again

Daring To Be Creative Again

I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot these past few months. And perhaps that’s one of the reasons, I chose Creativity and Inspiration for the theme of the Write Tribe Festival of Words #4. Today’s prompt is about fear being a block to our creativity. In my post there, I’ve shared about  not commiting to a great idea for the fear of failure, etc.

Thinking about my own creative pursuits, it  just came to me that training has been one of the most creative things I’ve done for so many years of my life. I began in small ways when I was just out of college – working with other young people. I’ve done some technical training when I worked at ANZ too, because my boss thought I had potential to train.

Then I got into it in right earnest with Divya Disha, now a huge NGO, then a group of motivated young people who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. We trained children, youth, teachers, nurses. We designed courses. We loved creating exercises and arguing over things as we brainstormed. We read. We learned from each other. We gave each other feedback. We suddenly pitched in when someone went blank. I still giggle over the time we were given really short notice to train a group of young nurses. We planned some part of the programme on our way to the venue. Then while one of us led the group in an exercise and asked them to close their eyes, the other two of us, planned the rest of the programme! The nurses loved it. No one was any the wiser!

It seemed natural that I should drift into full time training then. And I enjoyed all the opportunities I got with HSBC. I think I was one of the few lucky ones to get to design a language course. I absolutely loved creating it and learned so much in the process.

This lead to me setting up a small training company first with one partner and then with another. When I quit to move to Mumbai, the company was still in its fledgling stage, although we had created and trained quite a few courses. I’m happy to report that my business partner has made Metamorphosis a success.

Over the last few years, I’ve got used to being a stay-at-home woman. I love writing and blogging. But I know I want to venture out more.

there is nothing more vulnerable than creativity

I’m daring to train – daring to be creative again

At the start of this year, I set an intention to dare greatly. When I meant dare – I meant that I want to learn more, grow more and venture into more creative pursuits, while be authentic and simple.

If there’s one thing I know about the Universe, it is how it takes our intentions seriously! It presented me with an opportunity to learn via the mindfulness workshop I attended. I discovered a totally different aspect to my creativity – intuitive painting. Something I enjoy. And now the Universe is presenting me my old love once again.

Yes, I’m venturing back into training after a gap of over 8 years. Am I nervous? You bet. But I’m putting aside my fears and daring greatly because I know that just past the fear is joy of doing something I love.

Let me share with you details of the programme I’m doing:

Contemplative Writing Workshop
Do you hear that loud voice in your head saying “You are not creative” ? If you do, then it’s time for you to tell it to shut up! Our Contemplative Writing workshop will get you started with this and provide you tools to start writing freely and authentically.

Who Is It For?
Participants from the age group of 16 upwards Writers, bloggers, non-writers – the workshop is open to anyone looking to become more aware, creative and mindful.

Expected outcomes
Participants get a feel for how they can open up to their own creativity and use writing to become more mindful of happenings within and around them.

The Workshop
– will give you tools to work through creative blocks
– begin the process of silencing your inner critic
– will help you learn to go within your “selves” for inspiration
– will teach you how to find inspiration in the world around
– will empower you to commit to a regular practice of mindful writing

Go here for more details.

Spread the word. Wish me luck!

Daring To Be Simple

Daring To Be Simple

Simplicity is a concept I’ve always been fascinated with although I didn’t understand it correctly. I thought it had to do with choosing to live a life devoid of comfort.

I’m beginning to understand that simplicity is living a life that is uncomplicated by a need to have, do and achieve more and more. Living a simple life is living a stress-free life.

I love these words and for me they define what simplicity truly is.

Just say no. To people, places, things that don’t fill your heart with joy. ~Louise Morganti Kaelin

I’m Daring To Be Simple

I’ve signed up for KindSpring’s 21 Day Simple Living Challenge. Although the challenge started on the 8th, I was travelling and couldn’t get into it. I started with the challenge today.

Here’s a sample of the kind of ideas that KindSpring suggests. I find every one of them meaningful.

Day 1: Declutter Your Home. Give Away At Least One Thing You Don’t Need
Day 2: Make Time To Unplug. Reduce Screen Time Today
Day 3: Spend Ten Minutes In Silence
Day 4: Clear Out Your Inbox / Mailbox
Day 5: Do Something That You’ve Been Putting Off
Day 6: Reflect On Three Things That Bring Meaning To Your Life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what living a simple life would entail for me and I figured out a few things already:

1. Focusing on my health. Ill health complicates life and I must do all I can to stay healthy. Better health, less tension.

2. Staying grateful. When I focus with gratitude on all that I have in my life, I can’t really yearn for more, can I? More gratitude, less greed!

3. Having an abundance mentality. Knowing that the Universe is generous and that I must be generous too.  I am confident I will be taken care of and that all is well. More abundance, less stress.

4. Investing in healthy relationships. Rather than trying to be nice and popular, I will focus on people who add meaning and joy to my life. More love, less pretence. More joy, less drama.

I’m glad that I’m making these choices. I can already begin to feel a difference in my outlook in a short space of time. I will keep you updated on how the Challenge makes a difference too.

simplicity takes courage

I’m daring to be simple. Are you doing the same?