How chanting mantras can benefit our mind and body

How chanting mantras can benefit our mind and body

“Singing or chanting are very beautiful and beneficial ways of channeling emotional energy.” ~Swami Rama

On one of my recent trips up north, I decided to spend an evening in Rishikesh specially to attend the Ganga Aarti (a ritual of worship by the river Ganga) at Parmarth Niketan. I had heard a lot about it and the last time we were there, we had missed it due to an extended session of river rafting. This time I made sure I was there well before it started. The sun was yet to set and the sky was still lit with orange hues. The priests had just finished arranging the aartis. The crowd was gradually stepping in and finding their place on the steps by the river bank. And then it began.

The air was soon filled with the soothing sounds of live chanting and soulful music. The vibration of the mantras was pulsating. The focus had subconsciously shifted towards positivity. I was amazed to see a group of young boys with special places facing the river to perform the aarti. The atmosphere was pious and pristine. With more people joining in the aarti, the divine energy of the group kept rising. Age, country and language had no barriers as there were Indians and foreigners together enjoying the rhythmic reverberations. I could feel the goosebumps of this positive spiritual energy that surrounded us by the river Ganga. ‘Maa Ganga.. Ganga Maa…’. ‘Maha Mrityunjaya mantra..’ and other resonating mantras seemed to raise the aura of all present. So profound was the awareness of the moment. Yet so intense was the consciousness to be easily lost in a trance!

“By chanting, we strip away our outer appearances, our smaller selves, to let the light of our true nature shine forth.” ~Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

This whole experience got me thinking of how mantras and prayers have always been an integral part of our tradition. We were introduced to mantras in our childhood when it was so easy to rote learn without questioning what they meant. Chanting of mantras is an ancient practise of Vedic origin but transcends all languages and religions. Be it in Jainism, Buddhism, Islamic or Hebrew, prayers and mantras are used to invoke the Divine entities. Long before science could support it, mantras were instrumental in healing practices. So also mantras were used to initiate a relaxed state of mind before going into meditation. They have a frequency that helps us align with our higher consciousness. Mantras act as a vehicle for our awareness to move inward. A means to the path of enlightenment.

It is scientifically proven that music and sounds have a positive effect on our body and mind. Here are the benefits of chanting mantras:

  • Calms our mind
  • Stimulates the brain cortex
  • Reduces the heart rate
  • Improves blood pressure
  • Charges the nervous system
  • Synchronizes the right and left brain hemispheres
  • Awakens our creative processes
  • Removes energy blocks and energises our chakras
  • Increases our level of concentration and focus

There are groups of ladies I’m aware of that use mantra chanting for eradicating troubles in other lives. Of helping people they don’t even know of by the sheer power of group chanting and praying. ‘Om’ chanting is a regular feature in yoga and meditation practices. There are many chanting classes burgeoning world- wide. And it doesn’t matter if they do not get the pronunciation right of the Sanskrit mantras. The benefits of meeting together and chanting, feeling the group energy rise and connecting with our inner self far outweigh the challenges of language or diction.

That memorable evening by the Ganges will be etched in my memory for a really long time. It has reinforced my belief and faith in chanting mantras. It is a practice I want to consistently reiterate with my children. I hope more and more people embrace this powerful practice in their daily lives.


When an angel came home and into our lives

When an angel came home and into our lives

“Your beloved pets are earth angels, and when they cross the rainbow bridge, their loving presence stays loyally by your side.” ~Doreen Virtue

Today happens to be the birthday of a special someone. This blog post is dedicated to him!

Flashback to two years ago…

My daughters and I were in a perennial debate of sorts over owning a pet dog. We had several discussions on the pros and cons of having a puppy at home.

  • Who would take the huge responsibility of caring for a little animal at home?
  • Are we ready for a commitment of another 10-12 years of an average dog life span?
  • Would a pet fit into our lifestyle?
  • What would happen during vacations when we are not at home?
  • How will they manage their studies along with taking care of the pet?
  • Are we going to be okay with the mess a puppy can create?
  • Should we adopt or buy?
  • Is everyone at home okay about this?

Many such questions and more faced me…and my daughters had all the answers ready. After looking at their earnest desire and enthusiasm and weighing the positives, we concluded to go for it. In all good faith, I decided to take the plunge of being a pet parent.

Then the choice of the right breed was important. Not too big, not the very shedding kind, not an aggressive breed, etc. We arrived at an amicable choice – Shih Tzu would be just the right fit.

Since chances of finding Shih Tzus for adoption were rare, we decided to buy a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder. The breeder sent us pictures based on which we selected our baby. Out we went to a pet store nearby to get all the accessories ready to welcome him home. While talking to the pet storeowner, we proudly showed him the photo of our chosen pup’s mother. He immediately pointed out that this photo was of that of their own Shih Tzu – a prize dog! We felt cheated and instantly canceled our booking with that breeder. And booked one with this pet store owner.

The day arrived when we had to bring him home. There was excitement in my daughters’ eyes, there was a bit of anticipation in mine as I was bringing in another baby home. A baby I had not much idea how to bring up. We had agreed – it was going to be a joint responsibility between the three of us. I was going to be dependent on my dependents to raise him.


That was the name chosen for our little bundle of joy. How tiny was he when we first held him – almost the size of our hand. For most of the time, he slept. But while awake, Simba was full of energy running from one end of the house to the other. He kept following whoever was in his visibility. And hated to be confined in his playpen. Just like a little baby demands, so did we have to be on a constant vigil cleaning up his pee and poop.

How Simba liked being snuggled under my mother’s sari and find comfort in the warmth. We had to be watchful of him not coming under our feet, as he was so tiny and swift in his movements. Everyone took to him beautifully, again just like we do towards babies. It’s amazing how quickly a pet can become the center of activity and attention at home. But just as quickly, things changed in a matter of a few days when he contracted a deadly virus. Unfortunately, he was too little to fight it and much to our despair, couldn’t survive. But today I do not want to talk about that pain of losing him.

Instead today, when Simba would have turned two years old, I only want to celebrate the precious time he spent with us. Our family cherishes those days filled with joyful, playful, fun loving moments. The glee in his eyes when we would return home. The sprint in his feet when it was time for meals. Just having him constantly yearn for my attention made me feel so wanted. Our paths were meant to cross for the short life span he was here. In those few days, he had exemplified the true meaning of unconditional love. We had chosen him but in reality, perhaps he had chosen us as his family to facilitate an extremely peaceful liberation of his soul in this life. It truly felt like an angel came into our lives, blessed us and left for heavenly abode. He may have crossed over the rainbow bridge, but he continues to live with us in spirit!

Simba – we miss you and love you. Always will.


What the children of divorce must definitely be told

What the children of divorce must definitely be told

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” ~ Jennifer Weiner

Through this blog, I have had the privilege to connect with some interesting souls who bring along their own unique life stories. Some of them have connected with me in the open, while some secretly through personal contact. Amongst these many associations, there is one life story that has touched me hard. One soul who has been distraught with her parents divorce when she was a child. She has been nursing strong feelings of hatred and bitterness for the longest of time. ‘If only I was a better child, this wouldn’t have happened. My father would have then loved me and not left us’, she had expressed in one of her conversations with me. She blames herself for their divorce and for all the hatred that her father has for her.

This made me think that how parents handle their divorce is so much more important than the impact of the actual event on the little minds. Divorce is an extremely sensitive topic.Children must be handled with utmost care and they must be aware of certain facts. How critical it is for the children in divorce to receive the right messages at the right time. What you say, how, where and when you say it are all important factors to keep in mind. From my personal experience, and from what I have read and learnt over the years, I believe this is what must be conveyed to the children:

Divorce is imminent – ‘Mom and Dad are not going to live together anymore. We tried hard to stay in the relationship but it’s just not working out. We have been unable to work out our adult problems. We feel it is healthier to separate and go our ways rather than live with constant conflict under one roof.’

Your parents will always remain your parents – ‘Mom and Dad will always remain your Mom and Dad. Divorce happens between the two parents and not between parents and their children. It is the end of the marriage but not the end of our relationship with you.’

It’s not your fault – ‘You are not to be blamed. Nothing that you have done or not done has caused this to happen. Nor can you prevent this painful event from happening. You are not responsible in any way for this divorce.’

You will always be loved – Unless there’s a situation in which one parent abandons the child/children, children need to know they will always be loved, that the parents will always be there for them. As long as this remains true, they need to know that even the parent who is no longer living with them, will be there for them. They will always be cared for and all their needs will be met.

Changes will occur in our family life – ‘Our family maybe called broken but we will still be a family in many ways.’ Here, it is extremely important to explain to the children the mutually agreed upon visitation schedule. How often the non-resident parent will see the kids and where – all details have to be explained well. It is equally important to specify what will not change – the sibling, the home, maybe the school, other relatives, their belongings, etc.

It is not the end of your world – ‘Having divorced parents can be extremely painful and challenging. I/We recognise your feelings. You have a right to be angry and hurt. But be assured, it is definitely not the end of your world. There’s a lot more that life has to offer. Even though this event may seem insurmountable now, you will soon discover ways to get past your pain and angst. You will come out strong and successful, you can surely thrive!’

“I strongly believe children can thrive through divorce. Children need parents who love them. Children need to know they are safe. Children need stability and sometimes that’s much easier to achieve outside a marriage than in a broken one.” ~Lisa Hayes

The best of kids have divorced parents – Children often wonder why their parents are divorced and not the parents of their friends. It is very easy to feel victimised. It is natural for them to think they must be bad kids, hence this is happening to them. But children need to know that divorce can happen to the best of kids. This has nothing to do with their behaviour or shortcomings whatsoever. They are wonderful children. And will continue to be so.

Ideally, both parents should break this news together. But every situation of separation is different and even if one parent has to break the news, so be it. Be careful of the place where these things are being discussed, as there is likely to be emotional breakdowns. And again, the messages have to be reiterated in an age appropriate language.

When children of divorce look back, they realize that the moment of hearing ‘the news’ changed their lives forever. This makes it vital for the parent/parents to handle it well and set the tone for an emotionally strong future.

Also read: How children see their family

Awakening the inner Goddess within us

Awakening the inner Goddess within us

“She will rise, with the spine of steel, and a roar like thunder, she will rise.” ~Nicole Lyons

It is that time of the year in India when the Hindu festival of Navratri is being celebrated with great pomp and fanfare. Navratri, which means nine nights, is considered to be the sacred period during which nine different forms of the Goddess are worshipped. From a spiritual perspective, it is also considered to be the time for introspection and taking the inward journey with your source. So during this sacrosanct time, when I heard about a workshop that helps you connect with the Goddess within, I was curious to know more. And when I learnt that different meditations related to the Goddesses were a part of this workshop, I simply had to do it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

‘Living the Goddess Principle’ was a one-day workshop facilitated by ‘Joy for Life’, an energy space created through the empowered deLIGHT of two beautiful souls – Ellaeenah and Jogita. ‘Joy For Life’ is based on the cosmic premise that joy and abundance is the divine right for all. Bach Flower Remedies, Ho’oponopono, Crystals, Meditation, Angels, Sacred Geometry, Chakric energisation and more find their happy place here.

How does one express the intangible benefits of attending a spiritual workshop? Here’s my account of a humbling experience in connecting with the Goddess within –

The Divine Feminine Principle

The workshop began with a wonderful explanation on the duality in the forces of the universe and the significance of maintaining the balance between them. For every masculine there is a feminine energy, each of us having masculine and feminine energies within us in different proportions. These divine energies are not independent of each other but are essentially the twin faces of the Divine Consciousness. Even though they appear to be opposite, in reality they complement each other.

The divine feminine principle is the creative force that sets the direction of evolution, whereas the divine masculine principle is the executive force that follows through on that direction. However over the years, with the advent of science and technology, the intuitive divine feminine energy has been suppressed by the egoistic divine masculine energy. In order to reclaim the balance in our universe, it is essential for both these energies to perfectly blend within us, so that a shift in consciousness takes place in the outer world as well.

After a blissful meditation to bring to life the inner Shakti Goddess energy, we moved on to understanding and living the Goddess Principle.

Being the Goddesses

The Goddess Principle is the Cosmic Force of Universal Consciousness. It is by our own embodying through thoughts, words and actions that we bring alive this dormant energy. When we begin to express the qualities of different Goddesses is when we align with their frequencies and consequentially, their gifts naturally come to us. This was reiterated during the day with the help of beautiful meditations on the different Goddesses. The underlying thought was to help us realise that they reside in each of us.

Lakshmi is the goddess of prosperity and the universal symbol of abundance in all areas of life – wealth, relationships, knowledge, health, beauty, etc. She represents attainment of goals through knowledge and discernment. Sitting on a lotus symbolizes that even with dirt around us, we can retain our purity. Being Lakshmi means living the qualities this divine energy represents. Imbalance in any area of life is Lakshmi imbalance. To attract Lakshmi, we must be Lakshmi.

Saraswati is the goddess associated with education, music and language. She is a symbol of creative expression imparting us with the gifts of wisdom. The chanting of ‘Om’ and the cosmic sounds are associated with this goddess. To connect with her energies is to unite with our deeper spiritual truths.

Durga in Sanskrit means the ‘fortress’, the unassailable and the invincible. She is the symbol of our inner strength and conviction. She serves as a reminder that within each of us lie an unbeatable goddess force that helps us defeat our inner demons. To connect with her energies is to connect with the power of the divine Shakti and become self-reliant.

An interesting component of this workshop was an introduction to the Bach flower remedies. To explain this wonderful holistic science of healing would surely require another blog post.

Celebrating who we are

The most important essence of the workshop for me to go home with was to celebrate who I am. My strengths, weaknesses, my fears, anxieties, aspirations, all that makes me the way I am. To be myself and to live my truth – that’s above everything else. It is vital for me to take responsibility for my reality so that I can muster the courage to bring about the changes I desire. I want to give myself the gift of self-assertion over self-denial. For only then will I acknowledge the Goddess within me, and only then will I rise with her power!

Meet the Facilitators:

Ellaeenah Niloufer Jadefire is an Energy Intuit, Spiritual Counsellor & Mentor, and Life Coach for Personal Empowerment who focuses on Inner Child Work with body-mind-spirit synthesis. As a health facilitator, she practises and teaches many healing techniques like Crystals, Bach Flower Therapy, Sacred Geometry, Angel Cards, Energy Rebalancing to name a few.

Read all about her work and services on

Access her meditations and channellings on her YouTube Channel

Jogita Jagwani has been on a journey of wellness for many years and she believes that wellness is not just an absence of illness, it is everything that makes the person happy, healthy and whole. As a health facilitator, Jogita practices various techniques like Bach Flower Therapy, Reiki, Nutrition Guidance, Energy Healing, Ho’oponopono, Chanting and Tarot Card Readings. She is a skilled social worker, having dedicated 20 years of work to V Care Foundation, a cancer care organisation in Mumbai.

You can reach her via email on:

#BookReview: Scion Of Ikshvaku by Amish

#BookReview: Scion Of Ikshvaku by Amish

Indian mythology for me is reminiscent of all that I have read in the Amar Chitra Katha comics. The two Indian epics I know well are due to the good old television serials – Ramanand Sagar’s ‘Ramayana’ and B.R.Chopra’s magnum opus ‘Mahabharata’. Then after decades came Indian author Amish Tripathi and his Shiva trilogy – ‘The immortals of Meluha’, ‘The secret of the Nagas’ and ‘The oath of the Vayuputras’. This series had me engrossed and catapulted me into a similar world of fantasy. The history and geography of my country never seemed so appealing as a student back in school days. So when he was out with his first book of the Ram Chandra series, I wanted to relive the magic of mythology that he had wonderfully introduced.

The ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ had a few surprise elements in store for me. I wasn’t prepared to read a slightly different version from my (limited) knowledge of the epic. Hence, some bits of the storyline was a revelation – the long held resentment of the King against his son, Manthara being a rich, shrewd businesswoman, ‘Nirbhaya’ like twist in the plot and Sita meeting Rama before her ‘Swayamvar’.

What stood out for me was the way in which the author reveals the emotions that make his characters come alive. Ram’s subdued pain that he has learnt to internalize is well written. So also the essence of his character comes out strongly in his adherence to his ‘dharma’ and law. The seething undercurrents between the queens in winning their husband’s attention were easily overlooked behind their costumes and jewellery on TV. The love and loyalty between the brothers evokes a sense of pride. The highlight for me was the introduction of Sita – a strong, feisty woman in all righteousness of an honoured princess. So much tougher from the timid, docile wife image that was showcased earlier. Even the Vishnu incarnate finds instant respect for her. Her beautiful and resilient form which is illustrated in book 2 ‘Sita –Warrior of Mithila’, makes you want to pick the book for the cover!

What I thought didn’t work in book 1 was the modern day slang-like language at some places, which just didn’t fit into the times this story is set. The pace and storyline does slack in patches. It doesn’t leave you in as much wonder as the Shiva trilogy did. Yet the author succeeds in weaving the different threads of the script together, well enough to set the stage for the upcoming sequels.

My rating: 3/5.



I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa and Blogchatter this September.



Insights from an empowering event for women

Insights from an empowering event for women

“I never dreamt of success. I worked for it.” ~Estee Lauder

Over the last many months, I have made it a conscious effort to attend several events related to professional growth and networking, in particular, women focused. Just two weeks back, I attended an exciting event for women entrepreneurs by Zone Startups India at the iconic building of the Bombay Stock Exchange. The event saw the launch of their accelerator program called ‘Empower’ for women entrepreneurs in India.

There is so much to gain from such gatherings that are abuzz with talent and experience galore. Lots of encouragement, knowledge, contacts, advice and many other intangible goodies to go home with. What matters is how much of it you absorb there, lingers with you long after the event. And I find the one way to ensure that the inspiration stays on and prompts action is to put down in writing the highlights of all the learning.

So here goes my take-away from half of the event I attended:

Our work reflects our state of mind The keynote by Ameera Shah, Managing Director of Metropolis Healthcare, was a heartfelt honest account of her entrepreneurial journey. Of how her self-belief was put to test in her struggling days. And when she was balanced in her mind, her company found balance too. The work we do is often the mirror image of our heart and mind.

Women have it harder than men Women entrepreneurs take time to earn respect and credibility. Often they are questioned about their commitment levels, which is not the case with their male colleagues. They have to go that extra mile to prove themselves and their capabilities.

Rural and urban women – There is no stopping women in pursuit of their dreams and goals, whether they come from rural areas or metro cities. As one of the panelists remarked that rural women are not as interested in advice or seminars like urban women take the effort to. They only want to know ways to earn and be self-reliant. Financial independence is an enormous driving force for all.

Communities help us grow – To be a part of a community or communities that you can relate to has many benefits. Communities are a great networking platform. They help widen our perspective to work and life as a whole. Attending their invigorating programs foster our professional and personal growth. Moreover, the sense of belonging is a huge source of moral support for women at all stages in life.

Support for women With the onset of the start-up phenomenon, the women now have numerous support platforms to launch their careers or companies. Government initiatives toward better funding schemes, enhanced network connectivity, innovation policies, etc. has encouraged many women-led ventures in India. Mentoring is a huge game changer too.

Women, its time to give wings to your dreams. Go for it!


Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship 



Teenage suicides over the Blue Whale challenge

Teenage suicides over the Blue Whale challenge

“Silence is sometimes the most powerful scream!” ~Anonymous

Last few weeks, we have been reading of some shocking incidents of teen suicides due to the strong emergence of the online game called the ‘Blue Whale challenge’. Teenagers who seem depressed and lonely are falling easy prey to this fast-growing, horrifyingly dangerous challenge. It has taken the parenting and schooling fraternity in India and globally, completely by surprise. By the time they realize the gravity of the situation, it’s too late for them to intervene and help their children stay away from it.

What is the Blue Whale challenge?

The Blue Whale Challenge is an online game known to have originated in Russia. It targets teenagers through a social networking site by identifying certain hash tags and search words used by the innocent kids. Once they sign up, they are assigned an anonymous curator who gives a daring task for every day, spread over 50 days. These tasks range from waking up in the middle of the night to watch scary movies, sending photos of self-harm with a knife or a needle, not speaking with anyone all day, speaking to the other participants (known as whales), to climbing a crane or ledge, all in the process of inflicting pain upon themselves.

If the teenager is reluctant or wants to back out of the challenge, the curator threatens by saying that all their information lies with them or harm will be inflicted on their loved ones. The teen even has to post photos of some tasks on their social platforms as proof and use dedicated hash tags. Then on the very last day, the teenager is asked to jump from the top of a building and commit suicide. The curator derives pleasure by completely brainwashing the victim into taking his or her own life.

 Why do teenagers fall prey

Most of the teenagers have their share of problems and insecurities. It has its physiological relation with their hormones and is a healthy part of growing up. But in some cases, the intensity of emotions and feelings in a teenager is far beyond what is considered to be normal. A deep sense of failure in all aspects of their life, a profound feeling of being ignored and of very poor self-esteem leads some teenagers into depression. They become so vulnerable that they tend to seek validation from an external environment. The online media serves as the perfect outlet for them to vent their feelings of despair and helplessness.

Finding like-minded people to associate with fills them with hope even if it means latching on to self-destructive traits. Their need to belong to a group and seek approval is simply so strong, they are willing to do just about anything. The virtual world allows them freedom of actions and thought unlike the restrictions present in their real world. No wonder then, such a challenge that incites excitement at every stage fills them with a false sense of purpose. As they complete each tasks assigned, they gain a sense of achievement. It fills them with instant, magical success, something they have been craving for long.

Signs to watch out for

How frustratingly helpless a feeling it must be for parents to see their children take their own lives! Did they not see any warning signs in their teenagers’ behaviour? Were they so disconnected from their children to know what’s going on in their minds? Or were they too busy to look out for the activities their teenagers were busy pursuing?

While we may not be able to decipher completely the complex minds of our young adults, we can surely watch out for some alarming signs:

  • Spending way too much time online, on phones or laptops, and on social media
  • Staying aloof from family members at home
  • Cut marks on their body
  • Secrecy about who they are chatting with or what they are doing online
  • Seemingly outraged or upset after using the internet
  • Unwilling to go out socially or interact with friends
  • Too excited or too withdrawn
  • Reluctant to talk about anything

Too much media coverage on the Blue Whale Challenge has raised concern as well as panic amongst parents and schools alike. But the focus needs to shift from this hype over the suicidal game to addressing the root cause of the problem – teenage depression.

Also watch: What is the Blue Whale Challenge



The number of numbers in the blogging world

The number of numbers in the blogging world

In April 2017, I took part in my first #AtoZChallenge of blogging. A blogathon of sorts with 26 posts a month going up on the blog in an alphabetical order, one every day barring the weekends. It turned out to be a terrific experience for me. It was the first time I could see an increase in the number of visitors on my blog. I realized the value of regular blogging and the significance of numbers in the blogging world. Number of posts, number of visitors, number of likes, number of comments, number of followers… and then one number that I discovered to be of paramount importance: the Alexa rank of my blog!

Now, I had heard of Alexa before when my siblings spoke of how it was an integral part of their homes with the Amazon Echo. “Alexa, play this song of Ed Sheeran”, “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?”, “Alexa, what’s the time in Washington D.C. right now?” seemed to be an ongoing din in their homes. That’s when it struck me that there was indeed an Alexa  that was ruling over the visibility and popularity of my blog in the big wide web world. As soon as I heard of it, I quickly looked up this all-important number of my website. To tell you the truth, I was aghast.

9, 408,444!

Ouch! Never in my life have I ranked so low in any of my endeavours (ironically, higher the number, lower the ranking in this case).

How painful to know that all my writing is not reaching out to enough readers online. It’s time to make a conscious effort and take the initiative to pump up the numbers in all my blogging efforts. And there comes Blogchatter, the savior for us newbie bloggers, with it’s #MyFriendAlexa campaign. So here I have jumped on to this bandwagon right away – the season Two of My Friend Alexa this September. An interesting period for bloggers to write, read, share, comment and interact. Post September, I am anticipating seeing a better number in all numbers for this blog. And more importantly, I am eager to connect with a lot many who would value what I have to offer here.

I truly hope you are one of them and will stay connected.

[I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa and Blogchatter this September]


Also read:

Reflections on my first #AtoZChallenge 2017

Why is Alexa rank important?



Why is it so important to forgive?

Why is it so important to forgive?

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place because it frees you.” ~Tyler Perry

Our eight-day annual Jain festival ‘Paryushan Parva’ just concluded. The essence of this holy period is to emphasise on our spiritual growth by means of fasting, prayers, soul-searching, self-study or svadhyaya and meditation. We abstain from eating all roots and green vegetables during this time in order to increase our spiritual vibrations. On the last day after our main prayers called ‘Samvatsari Pratikraman’, we seek each other’s forgiveness by saying ‘Micchami Dukadam’. It means that ‘If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.  We say this to everyone we know, irrespective of age or class or religion.

As children and later as teenagers, this practice has been maintained as a family and religious ritual. But the significance of forgiving took a huge leap for me in my personal experience of dealing with a broken heart. Forgiving those who had wronged me seemed like a herculean task, one that I was not willing to look at for a very long time. Not until I realized that by holding on to resentments and grudges, I was clearly doing more harm to my own physical and emotional being.

Over the years, in my healing process, the practice of forgiveness has been challenging. Yet in all that I understand of it, I recognized it imperative to forgive in order to heal well. And here’s what I have learnt and continue learning with experience-

Forgiving is healing – Healing from any pain or trauma in life has a lot to do with letting go of the past, the grudges, resentments, hurt and all the negativity in our lives. The act of forgiveness initiates the healing process.

Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.  ~Nelson Mandela

Forgiving is empowering – Mahatma Gandhi said that forgiveness is an attribute of the strong, that the weak can never forgive. Learning to forgive whole-heartedly is truly an empowering feeling, only making us stronger.

 Forgiveness is a gift to us – When we hold on to the pain of the past or harbor thoughts of revenge, we indirectly harm ourselves. But when we forgive others, we are not doing them a favor; on the contrary we are doing it much more for ourselves.  

Forgiveness brings peace – When we decide to forgive, we are making a conscious choice of focusing our energies on bringing into our lives a sense of peace and positivity. It is akin to removing the dead cells from our body and draining our wasted energies, making us feel lighter and calmer. 

 “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiving helps move ahead – Feelings of anger, revenge, pain keep us stuck in our past. When we choose to forgive, we release all that baggage and push ourselves towards the future. It sets us free.

Life is just too short to hold on to ill feelings, to feel victimized and remain stuck in a rut full of resentments. Until we forgive and make peace with all that has happened in our lives, we deny ourselves the state of abundance. Forgive quickly. It will set you on the path of peace that can exist in spite of whatever has happened to you.

My first year of being a blogger

My first year of being a blogger

“Blogging is not rocket science, it’s about being yourself and putting what you have into it.” ~Anonymous

How often do we make wish lists and write down our dreams. And yet, how often they remain just that on paper. But when we do see some of our deepest desires come to fruition, the thrill is incomparable. That’s how I felt when I created this blog last year – one amongst many of my wishes.

The idea of this blog was shelved for more than two years as I contemplated whether or not to share my experiences from life. Was I ready to open up and speak my heart out? Clearly, I wasn’t then. So what made the difference? Inspiration from other women who blatantly came out with stories of their lives. In conferences that I attended, in articles that I read and many in person, these women boldly spoke about their real-life experiences. Some of them were horror stories of abuse and betrayal; few highlighted their resolve to bring about substantial changes while some were just plain facts of survival. Then there were celebrities who were breaking covert and revealing how they dealt with depression. All these voices were being heard and making an impact. Their stories were creating ripples amongst many like me. That was enough to push me out of my state of reluctance and into action mode, giving me the courage to start this blog. 

It’s been exactly a year since I created SoulMom and posted my very first blog post here. Ever since, it has been an interesting one year of blogging. The things I have learnt, the connections I have made and the effect this has had on me has made it all very special.

Highlights of my first year as a blogger:

A new-found identity

Becoming a blogger is a new label that you earn, both in the online as well as offline world. It feels wonderful when people come up to tell you that they enjoy reading your blog and that you write very powerful content. Being recognised and appreciated makes me want to write more.

Being an inspiration

The day I launched my blog on social platforms, a single mom reached out to me with her story. The fact that I could influence even one soul made this whole creation so much worth the effort. I do hope to touch upon more lives over time.

My own internal dialogue

When I acknowledge my fears, I find more ways to overcome them. As I reveal  my own insecurities, it’s easier to accept my situation rather than conflict it. Every time I write a new post that unleashes my emotions and when I put it out there in the online space, my own internal dialogue enhances.

New connections

In April earlier this year, I participated in my first A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is an online worldwide event where bloggers from across the globe share 26 blog posts in a month based on a theme, each post beginning with a letter of the alphabet for each day. It was such an exciting place to be in. Through this challenge and through my social media channels, I discovered so many other bloggers who were blogging on various themes. It is enriching to make new connections based on one common interest.

Transforming into an author

Within a few months, I fast tracked from a blogger to an author with my first eBook – ‘Small Servings of Wellness’. Becoming a published author was a new high. With the help of blogging platform Blogchatter and its eBook carnival, we ebook authors also had the privilege of becoming official Goodreads authors. This felt very fulfilling.

I have discovered that blogging is a self-learning process. One which requires time, effort and patience. My biggest lesson in my first year of blogging is that it truly helps if we are passionate about what we write.

I am grateful to all my readers for being with me on this journey as a blogger. I sincerely hope you stay on and keep enjoying my content!


Also read:

Reflections on my first A to Z Challenge

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