Saturday, November 16, 2013

I am enough...

“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling"     
                                 -- Brene Brown - "The Gifts of Imperfection"

The truth of the matter is I cannot be perfect, maintain a perfectly clean house, check off To-Do List both work wise and in my personal life, maintain an equanimous self and be a perfectly loving wife, daughter/daughter-in-law, mother and employee. There are days (who am I kidding, happens most days!) when I am not put together...there are things I forget to do, bills I forget to pay, a son I forget to hug...K1 rolls up his eyes and says - you going into work like that! I am in  my super-casual capris and I forgot to dust on some makeup ...I feel a little inadequate and insecure. The reality is I (and if you ask yourself you too...) tend to brush these insecurities under the rug, wear a pretend face of Optimism and Happiness (tell me you don't do it?) and tend to conquer my fears in all the wrong ways ( by pretending that I am all right!)...I keep striving for that elusive Perfectionism while I sacrifice my peace of mind, happiness and sense of well being. Universe does give us "Wake-Up" calls and we are just as quick to hit the snooze button and go back to our way of living ( it is a known entity however distasteful). So, this book "The Gifts of Imperfection" was my aha! moment ( I have been having a lot of those since March)...

I have been priding myself on "Self-Sufficiency"...but the reality is I was (am) needy...needy of approval and praises from my family, people around me  -- telling me what an awesome job I was doing at work, at home, with K2, with life in general, how I have "arrived" (yeah right!). What I learnt was Self-Sufficiency is not quantifiable, its a mental place, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough. And the truth was I was not there yet. I can be there...awareness is that first step towards accepting myself with all my perceived flaws and claimed strengths. With that thought in mind I accept that -  I am Worthy now, not if, not when, I am worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.  Because at the end of the day as Maslow so beautifully put it in his hierarchy of needs -- we need to be loved and belong...and if we can't love ourselves we will never believe that anyone else can and without that...we will always have a "closed heart" and strive for that unachievable goal.

This week has been  a good one - work wise and on the home front. I have cooked some and one of the new things I tried was a Chana Kheema ( a spicy Chicken Mince and Chick Peas Curry) which turned out much for being the mad scientist in the kitchen.

Plans for the weekend include R&R and a hike. How is your weekend playing out?

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Happiness Diet

I was glancing through my kindle yesterday and I was struck by the number of diet books I had on it (28)...some of them
If you are wondering, I haven't really done anything on these diets beyond feeling virtuous that I had them on my Kindle. There was one book that had a Food Title and yet was a great read - Better than Chocolate : 50 Proven Ways to Feel Happier.
I think we Human Beings have an uncanny knack for complicating our lives, trying to fill that empty void with material things, going through the motion, losing faith and hope...comparing, envying and sometimes just wallowing in unhappiness. The reality is Happiness is not elusive, it is not a mystery and it is definitely not something reserved for the special few. It is just a "hop, skip and jump away". You have to choose happiness.

To say I loved the book was an understatement...I need all the props I can get...I keep going back to Diwali in India last year with the 2K's , Bapa and Ma. Bapa was so happy - we lit the diyas with Ma, he took me to a shop and got me a kurti, Ma made us some amazing cutlets and every time those memories rush into my brain, there is a physical pain in my heart...a pain that I won't see Bapa ever again (yes I understand he lives on in my memories, but it is not the same as sharing jokes, fears, talking on the phone everyday - no judgements - only support and love). I miss that and there are days when I feel alone and sad and that feeling of emptiness and void fills my being. And on those days books like this help. Read the book if you want to know all the 50 proven happiness inducers, out here I will talk about the 7 that have made a huge impact on my life -
  1. Make a Happiness List : I have never written down one formally but there are a lot of things that bring a spring to my step and maybe that is  the topic of my next blog
  2. Exercise : This week has been hard work wise and I almost didn't make it to my Zumba Class...I walked in 3 minutes late and dancing to a beat I didn't always get but which made me sweat like crazy definitely made me happy
  3. Self Acceptance : You are made a certain way for a reason...accept it and love it. I always worry about my weight, my odd sense of humor but lately I am more accepting of my perceived flaws and indulge in accepting myself in a positive way.
  4. Minimize your desires : I have been reading the Bhagvad Gita and it says Desire leads to Attachment and when Desires are thwarted it leads to frustration and unhappiness. Why not just want and need less...happiness will be automatically ours
  5. Practice Gratitude : Every night before I go to sleep I list to myself three things that I am Grateful for...and I usually go to sleep feeling Happy.
  6. Change Your breathing - since I discovered that Breathing can get me to control my temper, I have practised intentional breathing (pranayama)
  7. Act Happy - I am not saying Fake it But I am saying if you smile even though you don't feel like a couple minutes you will see your mood is elevated...people are smiling at you, the clouds part on a rainbow, that growling dog suddenly starts wagging it's get the picture.
I am so glad it's Friday today...this week was intense and the weeknights were crammed with activities we couldn't Trick or Treating yesterday with the little ones...but I did look forward to Friday Evening because I got a chance to roll up my sleeves and create some kitchen magic. 

I made Rice Kheer - get my fool proof recipe here and I made Rava Ladoo for the 2K's. The recipe I used was from this video  (warning - this  recipe is in Marathi). Have a  wonderful Diwali!