Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zoom on Zen #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons



Zen is not peeling potatoes and thinking about zen. 
Zen is just peeling potatoes.
- Zen Saying


Just like Yoga I came in touch with Zen quite late in life, but ever since it has opened up so much beauty and abundance for me, its almost like having a new soul and a new set of eyes to look at the world and the people around you.

So what is ZEN? Listed below are ten simple things that are Zen:


However I am a firm believer that each person needs to find his/her own Zen. The activity or non-activity, the practice, the thought, the feeling that connects you more intricately to yourself and everyone around you.

As they say in Zen " No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place."

We have to accept our place and our time and be at peace with it. The world is greater than us, the cosmos even greater, so while acknowledging our powers we must accept our smallness in it all humbly.

So bring in Zen into your life and see the difference.



Friday, April 29, 2016

YES TO YOGA #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons



Yoga is not 
bending your spine right
its looking inside
and gaining insight.

I got introduced to Yoga quite late in life, today the whole world raves and rants about it. Even the West which has always looked down upon all thing eastern as regressive has also taken to Yoga as a very positive and enriching practice.

Yoga if understood correctly is not about managing your breath, or weight or waistline it is a lifestyle choice of understanding your body and your universe better.




In today's fast paced living the importance of a healthy mind and healthy attitude towards life is even more important. As they say :

You must meditate for twenty minutes, if you are busy make that one hour.

This can be held true for Yoga also, it could just be deep breathing, stretching your muscles or intricate yoga poses, Yoga will do you a lot of good.

Lot of my great ideas and good thoughts come to me during my Yoga practice. So go ahead do YOGA !!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

eXpand Your eXistence #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons



only some of us live
others mere breathe and exist
so do not resist
expand your existence
and persist.

Is existing mere breathing in and out?
Is it living as per the set norms for your class, gender, race?
What defines us- our strengths or our limitations?

These are some of the existence related questions that we must ask ourselves repeatedly?
are we merely existing or expanding it to its extremes?




Often our comfort zones become so dear to us that we refuse to go beyond them .Our fear of the unknown overpowers our instinct to try newer and better living practices.

So go ahead and expand your existence !

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wisdom from the Worldwide Web #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

Imagine Aristotle speaking Internet !
 

There is a web around us
they say it is worldwide
you can close your eyes
and try to forget it
but no place where you can hide.
 
 
Internet has become an all pervasive force in the last decade in our lives all over the world. Whether it is social media, or just business we depend so much on what the web provides us with. So we cannot escape it in our daily lives but we must have the wisdom to use it wisely.
 
As we all know everything on the net whether its identities or information it may not be all correct and verifiable so there can be a hundred loopholes to fall into if we do not navigate through it intelligently and safely.
 
Although it is also a fact that the internet has become a great power in pur hands and enables us in multiple ways in life, and relationships.
 
 
 
Internet just like every other tool of civilisation brings with it a treasure house of wisdom and garbage, it is up to us to chose and pick the right things and the right amount of it.
 
So use all the Wisdom from the Web without falling prey to its addiction and blind belief.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

VENERATE VULNERABILITY #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons


To lay bare your body
and soul
is the ultimate goal
of overcoming fear
and 
finding courage and strength
in your vulnerability

In all cultures and society strength of the body and the mind is respected and rightly so and so we are told to be strong always and we grow up believing that that is the only way. But artists and creative people, explorers and inventors have proven again and again that leaving yourself vulnerable to criticism,failure and defeat is also  a different kind of strength.

The courage to be vulnerable is seeing your drawbacks and faults eye to eye and not being afraid of them.



So the next time you find yourself vulnerable or witness vulnerability don't be scared, find your courage in it and your strength, hiding away from your fears is not the way, accepting them as essential parts of who you are.

Being vulnerable or witnessing vulnerability are both Life lessons, welcome them with open arms.

Monday, April 25, 2016

UNLEARNING #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons


we learn the good and the bad
without discretion
and don't pay heed
to trash what we don't need
this art is - unlearning


Ever since we are born our five senses absorb information as learning from around us, tat is our strength and our weakness too because we sometimes learn the cliche's and the prejudices too, without using our own judgement.

Without knowing we keep strengthening these prejudices all our life and never pause to reflect that our learning could be wrong.




Unlearning means looking at received knowledge from a fresh angle, looking at cliches with new eyes and thus finding our own new meanings.

So go unlearn, remember a cup full will not receive anything more.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

TIME TO TRAVEL #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons


travel to grow
only the dead must stay
at one place
and stop to flow


Travelling is not just the act of going from once place to another, it is valuable journeying through places and through life. travel can expand our horizons like no books or luxuries of a comfortable home can.

While being grounded and having a home is important, nourishing a wanderlust that keeps urging you to travel regularly keeps you alive, younger and courageous.



We spend so much money, time and resources on unhealthy food, unhealthy lifestyle and luxury forgetting that the little discomforts of travelling come with immense exciting experience and learning.

Travel doesn't need much money, start small journeys, in and around the place you live and then experience the joy of travel. Find time to travel from your busy life and you might start living it up again.

Friday, April 22, 2016

SIMPLIFY #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons



Why complicate
when you can simplify
why get caught up
when you can
freely fly

Simplify is not just a mathematical method of problem solving but a valuable life skill and life lesson too.

We all live a layered life where every thing from messages, relationships and people are complicated, mixed, confused.

We also have started valuing sophistication more than it duly deserves, and forgetting the little joys of simple life.

The coming in of smart screens in our lives has further complicated even simple conversations and everyday exchanges, how we see the world, how we perceive others and get perceived.




The emphasis has to shift from adding layers to removing layers and seeing your real self, going back to nature, going back to more wholesome and simple lifestyles, going back to simpler straightforward relationships and conversations.

Simplify and fly !!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Runaway from the Rat Race #AtozChallenge #LifeLessons

 
 
 
Yes it is a race
a ratty-rata-rat race
in which you lose yourself
and lose a face
so give it up and live it up
as you may
and feel the grace
 
 


 If you haven't realised as yet we have all become rats in the rat race and we are hell-bent on making the next generation whether its our kids, younger siblings or juniors professionally into rats too, such is the maniac power of being in the race.

The smarter ones pause and see the beauty of life around them, spend time with loved ones, follow their passions, omit obsessions and let it go.



We must always strive to better our own previous performances and achievements and that must be the only race. Making someone else's success a standard for yourself will make you vulnerable and weak and you may actually do yourself a huge disfavour by getting burned out .

Stop racing in the rat race. runaway from it as fast as you can.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quietude #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
In a noisy world
the closest place of peace
is a quietude
inside.
 
There is so much noise in the modern world, there are people who will keep the gadgets running, the music playing just because they dread silence, they fear listening to the quiet voice from inside. But often that's our true calling.
 
 
 
 


While human beings have the unique gift of speech and have mastered the skill of conversations, quietude has its own worth, because that is when you listen to yourself, to conversations form the past, to nature around you and that enriches your soul's vocabulary. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Practice what you Preach #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
 
practice what you preach
learn before you teach
travel before you reach
and life will be easy.


Go to any social media site, just open any Whatsapp group, interaction nowadays is about preaching. Every one posing around as an expert, every post, every update, every meme, every conversation some how ending up in -  you must, you shouldn't

We are constantly preaching others about do's and don'ts without ever introspecting.

So the wisest thing to do is either preach what you practice or practice what you preach and shun hypocrisy in behaviour and in words.
 

Monday, April 18, 2016

OMIT OBSESSION #AtoZCHALLENGE #LifeLessons

Being Obsessed
is almost like being possessed
by a demon that grows
beyond your control
and before you know
it holds your strings
and you dance helplessly
as it sings.
 
Whether is the OCD of constantly peeking into our smartphones to look for the latest update or something much ore serious we are all living in an increasingly obsessive world, where we keep repeating one kind of thoughts and actions and getting frustrated about no newness.
 
 
Just trying keeping those screens away for one day or just a few hours, no calamity shall befall the world, it will run the way it does and at the end of it you may find yourself calmer and less rushed. 


 
 
While being passionate about a creative art or something productive makes us more devoted and focussed , being obsessed is just the opposite, it keeps us hyper, distracted and ready to snap.
 
So introspect, what is your obsession?
Start with omitting the smaller ones, like checking your phone, touching up your make-up, hovering over your child every few minutes and then move on to omitting bigger obsessions like your spouse's phone, your child's friends, unnecessary negative gossiping and overt criticising.
 
feel the change.
 
 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

NEVER SAY NEVER #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
Never say Never
yes nothing is forever
but till you are alive
possibilities thrive
and who knows when
it may happen again.
 
 
Last year for N in A-Z Challenge I had written NEVER AGAIN, in reference to the permanent loss of a loved one to death. This year I am pondering on lessons from life and hence I say never say never.
 
Life is all about second chances, till we are dead we never know what could be waiting for us right around the next bend. So while we don't say never we keep pen ourselves to possibilities and new learning.

 
 

 
 
The only final conclusive thing in life is death, till then life is full of potential to change, alter and grow.
Open yourself and your life to its various possibilities and see how you feel refreshed and re-energised.

Friday, April 15, 2016

MEDITATE MEANINGFULLY #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
Its not holding your breath still
or being still
its holding your mind and soul
at the centre
the radius of your soul can expand
as you gain control
and edit your
thought-process

  to be calm and to train
your mind to understand.
 
 

There must be something special about meditation that all religions, multiple spiritual practices, exercises and masters talk about its importance to channelize your energy. But mere physical meditation in any way would not alter anything about your life, it has to be deeper and real.

For that it has to be personalised, some find peace looking at a distant object or a Mandala, some find it with closed eyes, some may chant loudly, others may just want lot of quiet around them.

Find out what works best for you and then the EDITING shall begin.



 
 
 
Meditation for me is a life skill I want to encourage my child also to take up. In the fast paced world it is one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to find connect with ourselves, to look inwards in all this looking outwards.
 
Try to take this brief voyage every day into your inner landscape and you will know what I mean when I say MEDITATE MEANINGFULLY.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

LET IT GO #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
 
Ever since I started reading more about Zen and Buddhism one of the lessons that stuck to my soul was- LET IT GO. Buddha says you only lose what you cling to. Everything in this world is like sand, the more you clench your palm around it, the faster you start losing it.
Letting go is the art of accepting and submitting to the flow of life.



 
 
 
Sometimes we are so stuck at a success or a failure and that becomes like a rock tied to a drowning person, pulling us down with it to death. Letting go is not letting anything become that rock and not becoming that rock too.
 
Coincidentally in my A to Z challenge 2015 also I wrote L for Letting go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Karma #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
Karma is a boomerang
it comes back with a bang
the bad you do
shall with you remain
the good you do
will form a chain.
 



Too often we have heard a common phrase - Karma is a B#$&*. According to me it is the worse definition of what Karma really is and why this ancient Hindu and Buddhist concept has found appeal all over the world across cultures.

A Wikipedia simple definition of Karma states that it action, work or deed it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

However I believe instead of stretching it to next life we must understand Karma as a short term cycle of cause and effect too. Here are a few examples:

      • Negative emotions like hatred, jealousy anger lead to mental unrest which in turn leads to more negative emotions.
      • If you don't water a plant , it will die, if you water a weed it will thrive.
      • Say a bad word cause hurt, say a good word, heal a hurt heart.

 
Karma can be fear based or love based, believing in punishment for the bad will not do you any good, but believing in the multiplying power of good will make you a good person for sure.
 
So treat Karma as an everyday project, a brief opportunity to spread some goodness and have faith that some day a shade or a fruit of this tree you water may comfort you or a loved one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

JUNK JUDGEMENTALISM #AtoZChallenge #LifeLesson


 
Remember when you point a finger
three are pointing at you

all of us just human
Sometimes I am wrong
sometimes you
 
 
A superpower social media access has given us is to observe other people, their lives and their opinions and pass judgements on them. We do this often in real life too, without knowing the other person's reasons or struggles to behave or react in a certain way we are quick to be judgemental and put a label on them.

A little compassion, a little sense of our own fallibility makes us not only less judgemental but more humane towards ourselves too, sadly we often judge ourselves too and often most harshly.


The world needs multiplicity and the acceptance of that, the world needs us to push each other forward not pull each other down and this can be true of sects, societies, nations and people. So the next time you are about to sit on judgement on someone just imagine yourself in their shoes, just don't be quick to label them and categorise them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

IN SYNC EXISTENCE #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons


 


 
 
The key to me
Is within
The eye to the world
Is in me
 
So being in sync
With myself
Is the most sure
Way to be
Truly me.

 

 

We are conditioned to look for synchronisation in everything whether it is symmetry of the paintings on our walls or our colour or style coordinated costumes and furnishings, and yet we fail to synchronise the most important aspect of our  existence, our inner self.

We are always either looking to the past r the future and missing the present moment, we avoid our conflicts and our issues and try to fill in the voids by material possessions.

 
How many of us dare to listen to our inner voice and be in sync with ourselves?

 

So the first step towards inner peace is finding our own wavelength, only then can we match it with the world around us and other people. The key to understanding the mystery each of us are lies within.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

HARNESS YOUR HURT #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
like all other inevitables
hurt will come along
but don't forget
to grab the lessons it brings
and the chance to evolve
 
one shade of life
will be so monochrome
so let hurt also
knock you down
and leave you grown.
 

Kintusuki is a Japanese art of repairing cracked vessels by filling in gold in the cracks that makes them much stronger than before. We must all treat ourselves like these cracked vessels and we must let our hurts and hardships reinforce our character and inner strength.
 
It is so human to be scared of hurt, to try to avoid pain as much as we can, but we all know hurt and pain is as much part of human life as happiness and love. Often we get drowned in the pain, the loss, we wallow in self-pity and keep asking why me repeatedly.
 
 


So next time when you are going through a hurt or a pain, do not forget to retain its lessons and its learning, it might open new insights into yourself and the world around us.

Friday, April 8, 2016

GIVE UP GENDER STEREOTYPES #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons




If boys will be boys
and girls will be girls
they will remain trapped
in gadgets and twirls
 
 
be a person first
don't put on a gender screen
without a gender prejudice
see others as
you wish to be seen.
 


I live in India and one of the most bitter battles I have fought here and continue to fight is about gender stereotyping. Being an only child and a girl in early 80s in small time India was very challenging both for me and my parents.

Sadly now being a parent to a single girl child by choice I do not see much change, our dwindling gender ratio has only made it a hugely unsafe and unequal society for girls.

The moment you are born you are tried to be labelled and typecast according to your gender, every time you act or behave beyond those clichés , you face resistance and ridicule.

One of the most detrimental factors in our self-image and identity is our gender. Sadly it also starts acting as a prism through which we see everyone around us.




The moment we see the person beyond their gender and remove the label-man/woman/transgender/others we see the real person, we connect at mental, emotional and intellectual level. This goes a long way in humanising ourselves and others and not seeing them as clichéd, gendered identities.

Go ahead once see beyond gender, find the souls.
 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

FREEDOM FROM FEAR #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
fear can freeze you
and take away
your strength too
 
 
but the only way
is out
so clench that fist
with your fear
play knockout
 
to be able to be free
is the way to be.
 
I was born and brought up in a hill town, visited relatives in plains only during summer vacations, so my first living in with house lizards happened much later in life. There was something about them, the way would suddenly soring from some dark corner , move fast along the walls or throw their tongues out, I was very sacred of them.
 
My fear of lizards grew so much that I would freeze when I saw one on the opposite wall and until there was ample proof that it has left the room I would not enter there again.
 
Life changed when I became a parent, when the little one was two I realised I was passing on my fear for lizards to her and that was so not done.
 
So I decided to achieve freedom for that fear for her.
 
I was hopeful that she would not inherit my fears, as every human being has plenty of their own to conquer and overcome.
 
I started by watching TV shows about them, in the beginning even that was difficult but eventually I learned so much about them, gradually I stopped being startled or frozen when I saw one on the opposite wall.
 
Now when I see one I am ok. The little one did not grow with a fear of house lizards.
 
 

 
Another fear was facing the death of my parents, today a year of processing the grief of losing my father I have overcome two of these fears in my life and I am much more at peace with life.
 
SO go ahead face that fear, believe me freedom from fear is a worthy life lesson.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

EMBRACE YOUR ECCENTRICITY #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
Eccentricity is not just
a principle in mathematics
its a lesson we must learn
for life's pragmatics
 
that silly idea, that sixth sense
may drive you into
your destiny
so go ahead
embrace your eccentricity

If you have ever seen a herd of sheep, the one black (literally) sheep would often walk away from the trodden path and be the object of wrath of the shepherd , but it is this eccentric sheep that also gets the greenest shoots away from the common path.

We love living like herds because there is safety in following the norms , so all the away from the norm ideas that occur to us are nipped in the bud and our fears never allow us to follow our eccentricity.

Imagine what a different world this would be if Einstein, Newton , or more lately Zuckerberg  had not followed their eccentricity.


While rules and regulations, following the standard norms is important for our sanity ,once in a while we must give in to our eccentricity, trust our instinct and be free of the restraints the world puts on us and often we put on ourselves more strictly.

Just a small eccentricity like not taking your usual morning walk route or trying an exotic cuisine can open so many new windows of experience for you. So go ahead spread your arms and embrace your eccentricity.
 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

DO-IT-YOURSELF #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

.
 
If I let you take my load
and walk my journey
on my road
the lesson will be yours
not mine
the glory well-earned by you
not me
so while you have my back
let me take the slack
and be life-worthy !
 
In most of colonised countries the notion of self-service or do it yourself is comparatively new and there is still lot of emphasis put on how many people assist you.
 
Our family structures and social system also does not encourage independence but thrives on parents wanting to keep their children more so boys dependent if not financially at least emotionally.
 
One of the most profound lessons I have received as a single child and a girl from my father is DO-IT-YOURSELF, whether it is something as ordinary as managing my finances, bank operations, travel or larger decision making in life ,he always insisted that he would guide me but I will have to fight my own battles.
 
 
The advantages of slogging it out first hand is first hand lessons from people, experiences and life. Whether it is odd jobs around the house, fixing appliances or issues of greater importance like relationship issues or major investment decisions if you decide to be hands on , you will fail, fall sometimes but you will learn to rise on your own every time and that is very empowering.

While its nice to have a support system, mentors, people who care go ahead fight your own battles heads on, you will realise DIY is not a craft skill but a worthy life skill.
 

Monday, April 4, 2016

CHERISH CHALLENGE & CHANGE #AtoZChallenges #LifeLessons


 
 
 
a smooth course
can never expand your limits
 
only challenges down the flow
and few changes bold
can shape and define
your richness
of experience
 
so dive in
into a challenge
each one of it
brings with it
a treasure of learning.
 

It is human to crave for regularity for commonness , for set routines and no changes. We all try to find the easier way like the fabled two roads diverging in the wood, but it is only down the challenging course and in the face of change we grow in spirit and in experience.

It is only in stormy weather and rough waters that our endurance and perseverance gets tested, it is only in the face of a challenge or a change that we experience a transformation that makes us stronger and most often wiser. An evident example is this #AZCHALLENGE which thousands of bloggers can testify adds an edge to their blogging skill and experience.



Monotony is safe, but still its monotony. In life as in literature , a well rounded character can only be achieved by going through the ups and downs and letting them shape you. So the next time you are in the face of a challenging change , submit yourself to it. Cherish the learning it brings along and be thankful that you were the chosen one for this learning.

Remember the toad in the well, his world never expanded beyond it, he never knew what an ocean is.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

BE A BEGINNER #AtoZChallenge #LifeLessons

 
 
a beginning is free
of the burden of experience
 
it is an open window
that lets possibilities
flow through it freely
 
no scepticism
no irony
a clean slate
a potential destiny
 
Do you remember your first day at school, or college, or work? Can you muster half of the excitement and thrill now that you felt in that first moment of a new beginning?
 
If birds could write journals and animals could create memoirs , I am sure even for them the first flight, the first hunt, the first leap would be memorable and spectacular.
 
Over the years we drown ourselves in experience, we wear the know-it-all hat and let go of the possibilities of fresh perspectives that a beginner has, our success makes us stop learning anything new and gradually we become a stubborn deadwood.
 
 
 
 
Look at the world from a child's perspective and you may find joy again in the changing colours of the sky or just a queue of ants pushing grains of rice home.
 
Be a beginner doesn't mean let go of your experience and fall in the same dungeons again, it only means imagine your being as a collection of treasure boxes, be ready to open and fill one small new box everyday.
 
The master class life and the big wide world will always have something at which you can be a beginner and experience its joy in your soul.

BE A BEGINNER !

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!