Slow steps are what I’ve been taking these past few weeks.
You may have noticed that I’ve been absent here. Not because I don’t love this blog. How could I not?
I’ve been busy, spreading my wings a bit and trying out something new in the ‘real’ world. This requires me to change my schedule and spend less time online with my blogs.
Moving out of home a few times of week (remember how much of a homebody I am?) and meeting and spending time offline has been good for my creativity although that’s not showing here yet. I’ve been a little stuck with my writing. But I’m not pushing it. There is no pressure. I have nothing to prove to anyone including myself.
It’s after ages that I’m sharing lunch with a group of colleagues and the best part of it is that most of them talk only Telugu. While I understand, I can’t speak. I’m enjoying listening to them, watching the interactions, talking to them in Hindi or English and getting to eat and talk about lovely Telangana food! I had forgotten how much I do love listening to and observing people. Learning to balance my introversion with my interest in people and their stories is something I’m working on.
It’s been wonderful to have another experience of a community – a tribe in action with the Write Tribe Festival of Words #5 – and I’m very thankful for this online community. We have a long way to learn and grow, but I’m certain we’ll get there. The best part is that none of us feels threatened by the others – leaving enough of space for us all to grow individually and as a group.
Despite the sometime hectic mornings, I think I’m getting better organized. Miles to go…but slow steps will get me there….
Are you living in the ‘fast’ lane or happy to take slow steps?
Be content to progress in slow steps until you have legs to run and wings with which to fly. – Padre Pio
No face more beautiful? No, I’m not endorsing some beauty contest. No, I’m talking about you, my friend.
Some years ago a close blogging community of which I was a part lost one of its members in a very tragic way. Someone who seemed so vibrant, was so kind and loving took her own life unable to bear her own inner pain. Naturally, it made us all really sad and those of us who were closer to her blamed ourselves a little bit for not reaching out more to her. Those of us who didn’t know her well wondered why we hadn’t taken the trouble to connect with her more, and how we hadn’t guessed she was in pain.
The more I have reflected on this, the more I realize that perhaps even if all of us had reached out to her, it wouldn’t have stopped her from doing what she did. Because from all I gathered, this beautiful young woman didn’t believe in her own loveliness, the beauty of her heart.
Today, as I remember her with sadness, I also want to reach out to you dear reader and my blogging friends with this message: You are Enough. No matter what you are going through at this point in your life, believe this.
I Am Enough
You must take the time and make the effort to find the beauty of YOURSELF. No more, ‘I wish I could be like………’ or ‘If only I had not made bad choices………’ Whatever has happened in the past, whatever is going on at present, believe me when I say that you have the resources within yourself to make it through. Believe in your own beauty, in your own strength, in your own purpose. You have an important role to play in this world – and even if you are not sure of it at this moment, it will be revealed to you in time. Believe.
There’s No Face More Beautiful
You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else You don’t see your own face, your own beauty Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
While I was sleeping, I dreamt I heard a familiar voice. A voice saying ‘Be kind to yourself.’ I had heard it a few times before when I was awake. But this time it sounded different – softer, gentler and kinder. It was the voice of my mirror that spoke to me in a dream. And the dream will stay with me forever.
Be Kind To Yourself
“Dear One, why is that when you look into me, you do so with a feeling of dread? Why is it that you constantly say things like “Look at that blemish” or “You’re looking old” or “Your wrinkles are showing.” Why are you so harsh and mean to yourself? Why can’t you see yourself, the way I see you?
And I can see that it is not just your looks that you fault yourself about. You keep berating yourself for poor choices from the past and mistakes you’ve made. Listen to the language you use when you’re talking to yourself. Look at the way you keep beating yourself up over trivial things. Why do you treat yourself in a way you wouldn’t dare to treat another?
You are worth all your love. Look into me, your mirror, and find the love of your life.
Today I’m celebrating the fact that my post has been featured on BlogHer. Yay, me! 🙂
Why I Bought Myself A Diamond Ring
I’ve never bought myself a piece of jewelry. I’ve been lucky to receive jewelry as gifts, and I inherited some from my mother and my husband’s family. But a couple of month’s ago, I bought myself a diamond ring (or, at least, I attempted to buy one).
I’ve always prided myself on my relationships with family and friends, but we can often go through life fooling ourselves. In recent years, I’ve begun to see how some of these relationships were quite skewed. One of these has been with a certain family member in which I’ve always been the one to compromise. I always give in, and yet, I’m always being made out to be the bad guy.
When I’ve been called upon to fight the other person’s battles, and I’ve done so willingly. But I am also the one who gets thrown under the bus when I disagree with her. I also began to notice that this person has a lack of respect for my time and privacy.
For my #FridayReflections I thought about the words I need to hear. I took all weekend to listen and these are the words I heard : ‘let yourself’. I decided to turn it into my #MondayMusings post.
The Words I Need To Hear
Giving myself permission.
Permission to be
To be me.
Giving me sanction.
Sanction to move forward
To press on.
Giving me encouragment
Encouragement to let go
To move on.
Giving me courage
Courage to grow
To dig deep
Into my feelings.
Letting me share
The dark thoughts
Threaten to overwhelm.
Helping me to
Bring into the light
And all that needs Healing within.
Two simple words
To forgive To be grateful
To be happy
To be healthy.
And be loved.
What do the words ‘let yourself’ mean to you? What are the words you need to hear at this point in your life?
Some quotes with the words ‘let yourself’…..
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.- Rumi
Let yourself be open and life will be easier. – Buddha
Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them. – E M Forester
Let yourself be seen. Love with your whole heart. Practice gratitude. Lean into joy. Believe you are enough. – Brené Brown
I still have to get used to seeing people walking down the road or sitting in their cars seemingly talking loudly to themselves. Of course, I soon realize that they’re on the mobile phones!
People talking loudly to themselves, are usually looked at with suspicion, and we wonder if they’re okay. We might not all talk aloud, but we certainly talk to ourselves all the time. If anyone says that they don’t do that then they are either totally unaware of themselves or liars!
Yes, you’ve heard that from me before and I’m constantly telling myself that. I need to stop saying it and actually do something about. Something like getting off my behind and commiting myself to more exercise. I see some friends I know who have actually done the hard work and rather than just being in awe of them, I need to allow them to inspire me.
I’m not sure whether I want to write a book
Although I’ve worked with a friend on having a book published, I would like to write one in the inspirational category. At least, that used to be my dream. Now I’m not sure I want to do that. The time has come for me to either commit to writing and publishing a book or letting that dream go with no regrets.
I shouldn’t/should have
As someone who is self-aware, it’s hard for me not to regret things I’ve said, or words unspoken, actions or a lack of action on my part. Yes, I have regrets, many of which I’ve learned from. Some of them, I’m still learning from. Regrets can be learning points or can be whips that we use to beat ourselves up. I must stop beating myself up about choices I made almost 20 years ago.
I’ll just check social media for a minute
Ha ha…that’s one huge self-con (if such a word exists, if not I’m calling dibs on it!) . I start writing an article, tell myself I need a break, and think I’ll use social media as a break. As some of you must be well aware, the minute soons becomes five, and before you know it you’ve lost track of what you were doing and start doing something else.
I’ll stop reading at the end of this chapter
Another hoax! I start reading in bed and tell myself I’ll shut down my Kindle at the end of a particular chapter. That chapter soons turns into another and soon I’m at the end of the book, wide awake and looking for the book I should read next!
Do you have things you must stop saying to yourself? What are they?
In a world where botox and plastic surgery are so easily on offer, I sometimes wonder why we can’t just be the way we are. Who tells us that we need all these things to look beautiful? Who tells us that our nose is not ‘perfect’? What is a perfect nose anyway? And does fixing our nose or other parts of our body make us feel happier about ourselves? Perhaps once our nose is ‘perfect’, we might need a matching ‘perfect’ mouth!
Living in India, it’s not uncommon for me to be asked, “How many children do you have?” and when I answer that I have none, I don’t know whether to laugh or yell when people commiserate me. Who says that having children makes every woman’s life perfect?
I remember questions being asked when I was single until my forties. “When will give us some good news?” (a standard idiotic question in India to be interpreted as ‘when are you getting married?’ or ‘when are you having a baby?’). I’d love to respond with, “I can give you good news right now. I’m enjoying my work and am fine being single.” And they’d respond with a smirk which said”As if!” Who says that having a partner makes one’s life complete?
But beyond all these are the times when we allow our notions of perfection to stop us from being happy.
We set goals, create bucket lists and make promises to ourselves. All that is fine. It keeps us dreaming. It keeps us focussed. Sometimes, these very things can keep us from being happy. Why? When we fail at achieving them, or can’t keep up with our goals, we start to beat ourselves up, calling ourselves names, labelling ourselves ‘stupid’, ‘useless’ and ‘losers’.
We cannot be happy until we accept that we are imperfect. It’s as simple as that.
Happiness is a direct result of self-acceptance. Ask me, I know. And what is self-acceptance if not compassion towards oneself.
As Brené Brown says so eloquently “….. living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
I love this story and must share it with you today.
In the perfume shop show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: Do you suffer from freckles?
“What does the sign say?” ask Pippi Longstocking. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did.
“It says, ‘Do you suffer from freckles?'” said Annika.
“Does it indeed?” said Pippi thoughtfully. “Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.”
She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. “No!” she said decidedly.
“What is it you want?” asked the lady.
“No,” said Pippi once more.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” said the lady.
“No, I don’t suffer from freckles,” said Pippi. Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, “But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!”
“I know it,” said Pippi, “but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.”
She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, “But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars.”
(Pippi Goes on Board (Pippi Longstocking) by Astrid Lindgren)
March 20 is celebrated as World Happiness Day. Find out more and download Happiness Resources from the Action For Happiness website. The #1000Speak effort for this month is looking at the connection between happiness and compassion. Check out more posts on the linky.
Let me tell you a story. A true one. And yes, you’re allowed to laugh. But after that, I’ll be glad if you give what I’ve shared a deep thought.
There was once a young girl, open and sensitive, warm hearted and generous, who wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Soon after high school, she had a deep religious experience. This led her to join a group of like-minded Christians who wanted to share their experiences in the hope that others too might have a similar experience.
As part of this group, she volunteered to help out with the arrangements for a programme in which a well-known priest prayed over ill and troubled people. After the service was over, the priest offered to pray over the volunteers. When it was the girl’s turn, she went with an open mind and a sincere heart. The priest prayed. Then he told her that he felt that she was being called to be a nun or to lead a single life dedicated to God’s service. This shook the girl very much. At 18, she knew that she didn’t want that. She wanted to be married and have a family. She was not clear about what work she would do, but she wanted to serve others. When she shared her experience with another ‘holy’ person, the priest’s words were confirmed. A short while later, she briefly met another priest, an uncle of a friend. Although it was a social meeting, her friend’s uncle seemed again to confirm the first ‘prophecy’.
This led to so much confusion in the girl’s mind and heart. She wanted to be faithful. She wanted to do what was ‘right’. But deep within her she could not accept and blindly follow what she was told. Sometimes she felt guilty, at other times she was determined to be true to her own inner voice.
She finished college, went on to work and decided to follow her heart. Strangely, despite her openness to marriage, she did not seem to find Mr Right. Some failed relationships. Heartbreak. Briefly, she wondered if she was being punished for her choice. But better sense prevailed. She knew that the God she believed in did work that way.
When at 41 she met and married Mr Right, she knew that she had been wise to follow her heart. Marriage also brought her gift of writing to the fore and through it she discovered and became more ‘herself’.
Today, she wants others too to discover who they are meant to be and choose to be themselves, no matter what others might say.
How do I know about this about this woman? Because this is my story.
I can identify so deeply with May Sarton’s poem.
Now I Become Myself
Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
‘Hurry, you will be dead before-‘
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.