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Category: Healing

G – GANDHI: The Life of a Mahatma #ATOZCHALLENGE

G – GANDHI: The Life of a Mahatma #ATOZCHALLENGE

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~M.K.Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – the world knows him as a one-man army that drove the British out of our country. I first learnt about him in our Class 3 History textbooks while studying India’s Independence heroes. Then came his epic movie ‘Gandhi’ that was a must-watch for us school children (we had a special outing for the movie). And a couple of years later, ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ was the first autobiography I ever read. Gandhiji had made a huge impact on my small mind.

Yes, I have admired his power of unflinching conviction. I respect his strong pursuit of truth. And I have been in awe of his morals of simplicity (saadgi), non-violence (ahimsa) and religion (dharma). As a child perhaps these qualities didn’t seem as significant as they do now. Only difference being that I am able to reason the logic and question our conditioning.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind

For everything that we had imbibed as ‘sanskaras‘ (values) was suddenly defied during my challenging times. How do we exercise non-violence of speech and thought when we are subject to injustice? How do we not retaliate against people who have wronged us? How can we not hurt them when we have been brutally injured? Forgiving seemed a herculean task then in the moment. Making a choice one way or another was a dilemma of principles.

It took me a long process of inner healing to realise that forgiving is indeed a virtue of the strong. To forgive wholeheartedly is to be more courageous than punishing. Non-violence in face of agony is a weapon of the mighty. With due respect and admiration of his teachings, I had chosen to practice these morals in my difficult moments.

The outcome of that choice –  I have emerged mentally stronger than ever before. Righteousness sustains!

Key Highlights:

“Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Read my previous posts in chronology:

A: A New Earth 

B: Brahma Kumaris

C: Chicken Soup for the Soul

D: Dialogue with Death 

E: Eat Pray Love 

F: Finding a purpose in life

 

B/w image courtesy: http://www.teachwithmovies.org/guides/gandhi.html

C – ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ books #AtoZChallenge

C – ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ books #AtoZChallenge

“We cannot learn without pain.” ~Aristotle

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we find ourselves in situations we have no control over. Changes in our lives can be daunting. But when we realize that there have been many others before us in similar circumstances, it is comforting. ‘The Chicken Soup for the Soul’ has been a reassuring set of books with inspiring stories of people from all over the world. Many of their books have been a part of my daughters and mine reading ritual together.

There’s always a ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book for you – no matter what your age or stage in life!

During the process of my divorce, its edition of ‘Divorce and Recovery’ was an eye-opener for dealing with everything related to divorce. Reading personal stories of grief and loss helped me deal with my own experience. I could relate to all the confusion and turmoil within, often with an objective view. The people in the stories were strangers, their situations were in a different context, yet it felt as though we are all in this together. The chosen ones!
This book helped me acknowledge all the crazy emotions running through my mind and heart. It brought forth a reassurance that a broken heart can be healed.

The thought of divorce meant entering a dark place, one I was determined never to know.

Throwing light on the various situations I could possibly face ahead, it helped me to deal with visitation scenario, financial perils, children’s well-being, dating after divorce and more. I was filled with the hope of surviving my divorce and the much needed optimism of thriving thereafter. Divorce can be life’s greatest lesson!

A highly recommended self-help book for divorced women, men and families.

Key Highlights:

‘For the first time I was doing what was best for me. I finally acknowledged that I deserved more.’

“There are all kinds of reasons for two people to stay together and all kinds of reasons for them to move apart.”

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” –Robert Muller. 

Buy this book here:

http://amzn.to/2mUUIKG

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from AtoZ: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Image Courtesy: jackcanfield.com

 

 

Practicing gratitude is a magical attitude to live with

Practicing gratitude is a magical attitude to live with

“Gratitude can turn common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward

My first blogpost in the new year – it is gratitude that comes to my mind. For everything that came into my life last year, feeling overwhelmed with people and things that I am blessed to have. Looking forward to the new year with a sense of humility and grace.

There have been innumerable moments of despair, like there is with everyone, when life seemed bleak and hopelessness crept in. As I kept seeking answers from the universe, I was drawn towards many self-help books that explained the mystical ways of the universe. Books that touched upon the various aspects of spirituality and the cosmos. One of the many books that had an impact on me was the iconic bestseller ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. And one of the many practices it mentioned that touched upon me was the attitude of gratitude.

We are often habituated to look at all the negative things in our lives, focusing on our problems, the lack of something, anything that is missing, stuff we don’t have and our complaints.

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. – Christian Science Hymnal

I asked myself, how could I be grateful for what I have when I have lost everything I wanted? I asked myself, why should I say thank you to life when it has cheated on my kids and me? As I continued reading the powerful processes explained in ‘The Secret’, something inside of me stirred. I was willing, though reluctantly, to try the exercise of gratitude.

When we decide to change direction, acknowledge everything that we do have and be thankful for that, a significant shift in our energies takes place. When we appreciate the simpler pleasures of life, the universe opens up bigger opportunities of happiness. Gratitude works like an antidote to dissatisfaction, anxiety and fear. It becomes a shield protecting us from negativity in our lives. It changes our perspective towards life events and people. Gratitude leads us towards the divine light, peace and happiness.

Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have, and you will attract more good things. – The Secret

Maintaining a Gratitude Journal

Keeping a gratitude journal wherein we write the things everyday we are grateful for is a life-altering exercise. We do not realize that there is so much we take for granted – if we acknowledge all our blessings, our perception changes and something inside us shifts. Journaling was something I loved practicing so starting an exclusive gratitude journal was simple. What was difficult was recollecting the things I was grateful for.

There were days when I would be so angry and bitter, that at the end of the day I could feel thankful for nothing. That’s when I started feeling grateful for my life, my health, my limbs, my senses. The stuff I so took for granted like the roof above my head, the food I eat, the daily comforts and luxuries I enjoyed. And more importantly, all the people in my life who cared and loved me unconditionally. Just their presence and concern was a huge factor to be grateful for.

Practicing gratitude has changed the way I perceive life. It has helped the healing process immensely. Subconsciously I have attracted abundance in different areas of my life. It has had a positive impact on all my relationships. Even when I think I have little in life, I feel life has given me a lot. Every night, I make it a point to write down at least 5 things that I have felt thankful for during the day. It’s a daily chore that sets the tone for peaceful sleep and a positive start to the morning.

Read: http://soulmom.in/everything-new-enriches-lives/

The simple ‘Thank you’ that we were taught as kids, little did we know then the immense power this phrase has. No matter what your life situation is, count your blessings and be grateful. The universe will fill your life with abundance and contentment.

On a closing note – ‘Thank you’ for visiting and reading this blogpost.

Related links:

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Oprahs-Gratitude-Journal-Oprah-on-Gratitude

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/100-reasons-grateful-today/

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Seeking help for mental health therapy is not a stigma

Seeking help for mental health therapy is not a stigma

Counseling

“Pain can be a catalyst to look inside; to dig deep and heal wounds from the past, to create more vibrantly, love more whole-heartedly, and to be an integrity with your highest self.” – Kelley Kosow

“Dear ‘Dear Zindagi’ – Thank you for showing us so beautifully that therapy helps!”

In the wake of this heartwarming movie, I find it a great time to write about the benefits of seeing a professional counsellor for all our mental health related problems.

Science has progressed multifold over the years with advancement in medicines and treatments, thereby increasing our average life span. While physical health has been given due emphasis, mental health awareness is gradually evolving in India.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan who plays psychologist Dr. Jehangir Khan in the movie, states it just the way it is –going for therapy and counselling is still a taboo, a subject of shame in our society! People are afraid to speak openly about their problems here. Visiting a shrink is considered a western concept. Ours is a very society-driven mindset. ‘Log kya kahenge?’ is always playing at the back of our minds.

Dear ZindagiMental health related issues are usually brushed under the carpet. ‘Are you mad to see a psychologist?’ is what holds back many people. The film’s protagonist Alia Bhatt is initially reluctant to reveal her story to the psychologist, pretending to have come to resolve her friend’s issues. It is only when she acknowledges the presence of her problems as being hers, that she fully opens up to therapy.

Any form of healing begins with asking for help. When we need not suffer in physical pain, why should we suffer in mental agony?

Seeking a therapist during my challenging times has always led to positive outcomes. I needed to get over the initial inhibition of speaking my heart out to a complete stranger. The first step was to accept that I’m dealing with situations far beyond me. That I’m unable to comprehend and find solutions on my own. I had to decide that seeing a professional would mean giving myself an opportunity to move ahead in the healthy direction. I care about me a lot to take the effort to steer my life positively.

Very often, we stuff feelings inside of us until they choke up and we require an outburst. Until expressed, they tend to even harm our bodies. Having a release during therapy sessions was extremely beneficial to me. In the light of my own experience of counselling sessions, I list below the benefits of seeing a therapist.

Advantages of therapy:

  • A good therapist listens without judging you
  • It is safe to reveal our stories in complete confidentiality
  • Therapy helps us look under the surface, deeper into our feelings, emotions and inner demons
  • It initiates the process of soul-searching, which is vital to our growth
  • The therapist can recognise our characteristics which we tend to oversee
  • Therapy helps to resolve our problems before they pile up into bigger issues
  • We get an objective perspective to our situation
  • Therapist provides a platform to say it like it is, without any fear of hurting anyone
  • It is reassuring to know that we are not the only ones that need help
  • Therapy helps us weed through our pain enabling us to process our emotions
  • It empowers us to cope with difficult challenges ahead

Seeking professional therapy for our mental health is not a sign of weakness, instead it is that of strength. Strength to have acknowledged that there is a problem that needs attention. Strength to face it and resolve it.

The initiative of healing is with us; the therapist only facilitates our healing. We no longer need to remain in denial. We need not be embarrassed to see a therapist. There are psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, mental health institutes – a dime a dozen. We need to reach out to that one good therapist who we can bare our soul to.

If you think you need one, just go find one!

 

8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking

8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking

Lantern

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard

It’s the season of Diwali, a festival celebrated with fervour by Indians all over the world. One of the customs of this festival is the ritual of spring-cleaning wherein a lot of time and effort is dedicated to thorough cleaning of the houses. Every nook and corner of the home is scrubbed hard to shine and look anew. It’s also that time of the year when we remove clutter from home – discarding things we do not need, giving it away to those who do and creating space for the new.

Having an obsession for all things neat and tidy (do not read OCD), this season strongly fuels my need for order. In true festive spirit, I have exhaustively indulged myself in the cleaning and de-cluttering traditions very seriously over the last few days. Organising things in their rightful place and packing off heaps and heaps of useless stuff into bags to give away. While spending all my energy into this tedious process, I’m amused at how things just get accumulated in our homes! And it sets me thinking…just the way a lot of unnecessary stuff gets accumulated in our minds too. Negative thinking for instance…

Negative thinking is alarmingly prevalent all around us, almost like an epidemic of sorts in today’s world. It seems easier to get into a whirlpool of negative thoughts and to remain stuck there. Negative thinking can sap our energies and before we realise, it can harm our bodies, mind and everything around us. In many ways, organising our physical space is making way to imbibe the positive elements into our minds and spirits too. This can then also be the time to de-clutter our minds with all the negativity and unnecessary trash we can do without. After all, there is a choice we can exercise, if we make a conscious effort to be aware.

Here are simple daily practices I have learnt over the years to bring in more positivity into our lives:

1. Positive thoughts – Catch yourself while thinking negatively and replace your negative thought with positive ones instantaneously.

2. Positive people – Surround yourself with people who do not put you down, whom you can learn from and exude a lot of positive energy.

3. Smile – It’s amazing how this one small curve on our face sets so many things straight. Even if you don’t feel like it completely, simply smile and feel the difference.

4. Inspirational reading – Reading books, quotes, articles, etc. that is motivating and encouraging is a helpful way to replace negative thinking.

5. Exercise – When you get moving, your endorphins get going. So quit the couch and do any form of fitness that suits you, daily.

6. Switch Off – Stay away from screen time and all gadgets that bombard you with negative information, thereby sapping your energy.

7. Music –Good music is therapeutic. Listen to the kind of music that you enjoy and see your mood change instantly.

8. Gratitude – Be thankful for everything you already have in life, sincerely from your heart.

It’s that time of the year when we must attempt to do away with darkness and light up – our homes, hearts and minds.

Morning Dose of Inspiration

Morning Dose of Inspiration

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“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~Buddha

In life’s most painful moments, the nights seem darker than ever before. Anxieties and fear grip you so hard that uninterrupted sleep becomes a rarity. And you dread waking up to the mornings that seem to have nothing to offer.

I had spent several sleepless nights turning and tossing with worries. And rose to the mornings, clouded with a sense of hopelessness.

Then one fine day, I happened to visit our family friend and philosopher guide, as well as an acclaimed author, Mr. Russi Lala. During our profound conversation, he gifted a magical book to me – ‘Opening Doors Within’ by Eileen Caddy. He asked me in his hoarse and subtly compelling voice to read it every morning, unfailingly, along with my practice of Quiet Time that he sincerely advocated. Read here: Quiet Time

Since that day, my mornings did not change. But the way I looked at my mornings had started to change.

img_2152‘Opening Doors Within’ is a divine journal that offers an inspirational message for every day of the year. The author Eileen Caddy received personal guidance from a still voice within her, a source she calls the God within. These celestial messages are like your meditations for each day – simple and practical teachings that bring hope, faith and inner peace.

It is amazing how every time when I read the message for the day, every word is just so relevant to my state of mind. As if God is reading my mind and churning out just the words needed to lift my spirits. It feels as though my own inner voice is talking to me, prompting me with some action steps in a particular direction. Guiding me, filling me with optimism and subtly nudging me to make the right choices. Thanks to this book, I now believe in small miracles.

img_2132Just while I was enjoying these daily teachings, comes along another similar gift, this time from my Dad – ‘Each Day a New Beginning’ by Karen Casey, Hazelden Meditations. It consisted of daily meditations especially meant for women. This book too had a message offered for every day, along with a quote from well-known women.

I begin my day reading the messages from these books. They are my morning dose of inspiration filling my day with renewed motivation. They serve as a daily reminder that yesterday is gone, and with each sunrise comes new hopes, new aspirations and new actions.

The way we start our mornings surely sets the tone for the entire day. So do whatever it takes for you to get inspired. So that you rise beautifully, ready to shine anew every single day!

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