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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.

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

“Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.” ~unknown

Just happened to read this quote as I begin to write this post for the Womens Web Blogathon on domestic violence: What letter would you write to a woman subjected to domestic violence? My letter to ‘her’…

Dear Me

Here you are, writing about the subject that you have discreetly kept under wraps. Something that had occurred in your life and yet you had no clue about it. How could you have known? Coming from an aristocratic family background where values and ethics were strongly entrenched right from your early days. You belong to a family known for its religious and cultural heritage. You had such a protected and shielded upbringing. Yes, you had heard about atrocities and injustice meted out to others. In books you had read and movies you had watched and stories you had heard. Aware yes, but seen anything personally in close proximity, no. How blissful were you in your state of ignorance and innocence. Where marriages around you were examples of loyalty and longing in relationships. How beautiful did it all seem, the love and the romance between couples. Then why would you even think of the term ‘domestic violence’ in your life?

Little did you know then that just by thinking ‘this could never happen to me’, does not mean it cannot really happen to you!

For domestic violence did take place. Of course, you were caught completely unaware. There was no physical violence, sure. But you were subjected to emotional torture. There was verbal assault. You were deprived of your financial rights. There was unjust criticism thrown at you for no reason. You felt a sense of alienation creeping in your own home. You didn’t know why all this madness was happening. So caught up were you in your thoughts to save your marriage and shield your kids from it all, that you were ready to bend over more than you could. Or should. Engulfed in self-doubt, you questioned your own actions. Only to realise that there was no way you could save your marriage if your spouse is hell bent on breaking it.

It was much later when you found out that domestic violence does not mean only physical violence, as is the common notion. It includes emotional and financial abuse too. You were shocked to know that you were a victim of domestic violence. We Indian girls are taught about our responsibilities but not so much about our rights. By then, you were out of that house and in a safer environment. But the trauma remained with you. You had two choices in front of you then. One – to file a legal case of domestic violence against the people who had done you wrong. Two – not to file against the folks you called your own for more than a decade.

It was no easy decision to make, a battle of the mind v/s the heart. You had to think of the repercussions of both choices and face the consequence on your own. Much though it seemed against the raging emotions of the logical mind, you went by your heart and chose the latter. Your decision stemming from a space of love for your kids than hatred for the rest. You were not willing to have your little ones linked in any legal rigmarole. By then you had decided you did not want to waste any more time over what had already happened. You chose to channelise your energy and emotion on enhancing your well-being and that of your children. It meant a choice of not pushing any action against the wrong doers and let karma do the rest.

You silently bore the brunt of it all and decided to move one. You took a huge leap of faith in making all the choices you did back then. With conviction in your heart and your spiritual fortitude, you only wanted to look ahead. You let go. Gradually, bit by bit, you let it all go. The hurt, the injustice, the anger, the pain. It seemed effortless to those around you, as you kept the bitter currents under your calm countenance. It was hard to believe you came out of your troubles unscathed. But you hid your tears and saved them for your solitude. You were all broken inside but managed to maintain a fortress of strength in front of your little children. For them, you had to quickly pick all your pieces and rebuild your life. You chose to follow the spiritual path of healing.

You survived the storm!

Ever since, see how far you have come after leaving it all behind you. Look how much you have grown in surmounting all obstacles. You came out so much stronger and resilient, nothing in life can break you anymore. You dived into your innards and pulled forth all the courage and wisdom to keep going. In doing so, you have earned the respect and admiration of many. You are one powerhouse of nerves. And you know that karma is doing its job after all.

Here you are, writing this wonderful blog to express all that you have learnt from your life story…so that those who face similar challenges find hope to survive….to inspire and to thrive. Life is still not easy and nor does it look all sorted. Yet you keep moving and facing it all in good faith.

Go girl, and give yourself a pat on your back!

Yours truly!

 

This blogpost is my contribution to the Womens Web Blogathon – an initiative to speak up about domestic violence and not keeping it hushed. I am intrigued to read Meena Kandasamy’s book ‘When I hit you‘ as anything related to women and women empowerment is a subject close to heart. The journey of victimhood to victory is always an interesting one.

How writing can help the healing process

How writing can help the healing process

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~Anne Frank

Recently, a dear friend of ours lost their little baby just a few days after her birth. In spite of a healthy pregnancy, the baby had suffered severe brain damage. She was kept under treatment in possibly the best neo-natal intensive care unit in the country, yet ironically her recovery was beyond the finest team of doctors. The family had been distraught to learn that she will not survive.

During this traumatic period, the parents had resorted to penning down their thoughts, which they subsequently shared with us. It was heart wrenching to read their account of emotions as they helplessly saw their little daughter dying in their arms. A life event of this nature can be extremely painful to deal with and their agony only unfathomable. Yet, it was heartening to know of their strength to express the flood of sentiments raging through their hearts and their courage to eventually share their reflections.

Writing about any traumatic event we face is known to have helped the healing process and lower stress hormones. Be it in the form of logs or diaries or blogs, writing down our thoughts is therapeutic. Especially to help us deal with bereavement, traumatic events and setbacks, the daily practice of maintaining a journal or a diary has proven to be cathartic. This I can vouch for with my own experience of blogging here.

Keeping a personal journal

Writing a diary or journaling is akin to having an honest conversation with our true self. It can even take the form of ranting or venting or rambling anything that comes to mind. It is the flow of words in sync with the flow of our true emotions. Writing in confidentiality knowing that this will not be read by anyone can provide great relief. There is no one to judge or question our thoughts. No what’s and why’s asked. There is no one to impress or please. No grammar or writing skills or fancy language required. It could even include drawings, scribbles, doodles or pictures. It is simply for us to know what and why we are writing.

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say. ~Flannery O’Connor

The beauty of journaling is that it tends to say it like it is without any flair or fluff. It is a beautiful and relaxing way to connect with our self. In a way, it is time spent in listening to our inner guidance that helps express our thoughts. And as we let them out, our perspective of looking at certain things goes through changes eventually.

An aid to healing

This uninhibited dialogue with the self often unravels feelings that were hard to face or even brushed under the carpet. It helps us recognise the reality that was difficult for us to face initially. It opens up the process of acknowledging the hard feelings in the first place, thereby opening up our hearts to healing. The process of wording our feelings, coping with them and internalising them brings in clarity of thought.

Writing changes the way we think. It serves as an all-important outlet to express our feelings. The darkness that accompanied our cluttered emotions slowly gives way to light. This release is essential to organise our emotions. We are then ready to learn from them, go past them and move on gradually in peace.

Journaling acts as our own therapy session with the self. By touching upon the various intra-personal dimensions, it indirectly aids in knowing ourselves better. It is, thus, a personally empowering way to self-heal. With this handy coping mechanism tool, we can be well equipped to confront challenges that lie ahead.

Keep a diary and someday it will keep you. ~Mae West

 

 

 

 

H – Healing with the energy of Chakras #AtoZChallenge

H – Healing with the energy of Chakras #AtoZChallenge

 

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~ Carol Welch

Our physical bodies can be healed with certain unseen life force energies. More – so can our emotional and spiritual energies be purified. This was quite a revelation for me many years ago when I heard about Reiki – a Japanese technique for stress reduction that also promotes healing. Then again some years later in my pursuit of understanding the metaphysical ways of the universe, I was led to the fascinating science of Pranic Healing. It was amazing to learn that these healing modalities can cure people of several diseases without any medicines and in some cases, by even avoiding surgical interventions*.

The more I learnt, the more intrigued I was to understand about these energy centres in our body through which energy flows – known as the ‘Chakras‘ (wheels). There are seven main chakras in our body which align to the spine, starting from the base of the spine going up to the crown of the head. If one had to visualise these, they would look like the whirling vortex-like spinning wheels of energy powerhouse.

Each chakra is associated with certain part of the body and the organs around it. Our state of health and balance is determined by how well the energy flows through these chakras. Since everything is in a state of motion, it is essential that all our chakras are free of blocks and remain open.

There are several theories with different number of chakras, however, the seven main chakras in our body are:

  1. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
  2. Sacral Chakra (Svadisthana)
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
  4. Heart Chakra (Anahat)
  5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
  6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
  7. Crown Chakra (Sahaswara)

Our first three lower chakras starting at the base of the spine are of physical matter associated with our functional needs. The upper three chakras are of spirit corresponding to our higher mental faculties. The fourth chakra of the heart acts as a unifying force like a bridge between the body and the mind.

Optimum level of physical health and spiritual bliss can be achieved when all our chakras are open, well-balanced and in full flow!

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/. I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z.
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

G: GANDHI

 

*Disclaimer: These are complementing healing techniques and not meant to replace a medical opinion or an ongoing treatment. Kindly consult your physician and do not self-treat.

 

 

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

What divorced women would like to tell the society

What divorced women would like to tell the society

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“Those who have gone through divorce know the pain and special challenges of raising a child under such circumstances.” ~Mike Macgavick  

My divorce hit me hard, it sure did. It is after all a life-changing event in more ways than one can imagine. But what hit me harder was the way our society is conditioned to perceive divorce. People have strange ways of reacting and looking at divorcees, especially divorced women.

We divorced women have a lot on our plate, we can surely do without more stressors. As we deal with our situation and with our difficult feelings, these are some of the things we would like to tell people:

  1. We are not victims: Whether we have chosen to end our marriage or our spouse has, we do not want to be seen as victims. Life is not meant to be fair and everyone has their share of challenges. Just like any other relationship, a marriage too can end for several reasons. Do not stare at us with pitiful eyes or call us ‘poor her’. We do not ask for sympathy.
  1. Do not gossip: Divorce tends to become a topic of juicy gossip in our society, be it in private gatherings or social functions. Both husband and wife are analysed and people love to indulge in finding faults. Do recognise that divorce is agonising for the families concerned. We have too many perplexing emotions to deal with, we do not require any mud slinging. Kindly do not add more negative energy into the situation.
  1. Divorce is not a sign of weakness: On the contrary divorced women are strong enough to recognise that staying in a bad marriage can be hazardous – for us as well as our kids. We would have put up with a lot of trauma and suffering before our separation. It would probably have been the hardest choice to arrive at the inevitable decision. But going through the painful process of divorce and its aftermath only makes us more resilient than one can fathom.
  1. Do not judge us: The society tends to put the onus usually on the women to save a marriage. It is assumed that the wife has to work harder to adjust and make the husband and in-laws happy. Yes, marriages are sacred for us and we would have mightily strived to save it. We do not marry to get divorced especially when we have children. But do not think of men as a superior sex who can be excused for their misogyny. Shake out of the long imbibed patriarchal conditioning. Stop expecting us to bend over backwards all the time. Our husbands are not our Gods.

               You alone cannot save your marriage

  1. We don’t have to remarry: Marriage is not the be all and end all for a woman. Break free from old thinking that a woman cannot remain single forever. Or that she needs someone to support her. Whether we choose to date anyone or live in with someone or decide to remain single or even remarry, it is completely our choice. If we have male friends, do not jump to conclusions or malign our character. Our relationships are our choice and we do not seek outside advice.
  1. Spare our kids: Kids from a divorced family go through too much stress. Do not label them or make their parents’ divorce their identity. They don’t need to hear any insensitive chatter or blather from others. Nor do they need to hear any bad-mouthing of either of their parents. It is not their fault, they have absolutely no control over the situation. So please do not ask them anything that is difficult or embarrassing to answer.

              How children see their family

  1. We have our own identity: Our identity does not stem from being someone’s wife or daughter-in-law only. We are complete in our own ways. Just ‘cos we are single also does not make us easy prey for men to flirt with. We are okay to go out alone be it the movies or dining or shopping. We do not always need a shoulder to lean on. Being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely.

What we really need is for people to be sensitive. To understand and to give us our space and privacy. We need time to rediscover ourselves, renew our confidence and our self-esteem. What the society can do is to let us be and not decide for us. What we truly want is to heal from the trauma and build our lives back together.

 Image courtesy: Pexels

“She Let Go” – A Poem!

“She Let Go” – A Poem!

letting-go1

After having shared my difficulties with letting go in the previous post, I chanced upon this very beautiful poem by Rev. Safire Rose and thought this would be a perfect sequel to ‘Letting Go can be very hard’. Serendipity anyone?

Over the years, I have struggled to let go of so many things – both tangible and non-tangible. It is an ongoing process of releasing all that I want to cling on to so very tight. Every time I let go of something painful to release, I feel a void within me. But the emptiness that follows brings with it a sense of freedom and lightness –such a precious feeling that is!

We do have the power to make a conscious choice of dropping the baggage behind and moving forward. Here’s to giving ourselves the gift of letting go:

“She Let Go” by Rev. Safire Rose

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

Would you like to ‘Let Go’ of something today? Do mention in the comments to really let it go, take a deep breath and notice how you feel! 🙂

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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Then and Now

Then and Now

ThennNow

It happened to be India’s Independence Day celebrations and the nation was rejoicing the sense of freedom. But ironically that day, someone was feeling trapped in a marriage and wishing for his own independence.

Between then and now, as I reminisce the years gone by, I wonder how I survived it all. Days and nights of agonising pain, as I witnessed my world fall apart. The brutal realisation that most of my dreams will never be realised. The impending status of a divorcee and worse – the scary thought of raising my small children in a broken family.

But survive I did. And ever since, my journey has been one where I am continuously striving to thrive….

Back then, I wanted to create a platform of women in a similar situation that I was in and build a community for sharing and caring. But I was vulnerable and my state of mind was too fragile to take the initiative. I was not willing to open up. Now I am in a relatively stronger space of mind and more determined to reach out. We learn a lot from people who have been there, done that. And when you know you are not alone facing a challenging situation, it is very reassuring. Thus has evolved this deep urge to reach out and connect.

Between then and now, it has been one hell of a roller coaster of emotions…

Hurting & Healing

Fear & Faith

Insecurities & Inspirations….

Empathy & Empowerment….

….and the journey continues….

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