My dear sister!

When tears welled up in my eyes

For seemingly no reason,

And my heart felt unusually heavy

On a particularly gloomy rainy morning

Dear sister,

I knew it was for you,

Who left us all stumped

Looking for the shards of our own lives

In the maze and the haze…..

I see the sunflower that is your face,

and the sun that is your smile,

I wake up in pain

To know it’s all in vain.

I had longed to be in the warmth of your laughter

Just one more time, before it was all over,

I had wished for one last time to revel in the aroma

That wafted from your hearth

On lazy summer mornings,

I had wished to be that child who followed her big sister

To the temple, to the pond, to the fields and beyond

Just one more time, before it was all over.

Maybe it is selfishness, maybe it is greed,

I can’t help but hold tight

To the safety net of my loved ones

Before I know it is all over!

I knew the reality of death like never before

It carved in me a truth I’d never ignore

No matter what, you cannot relive past

Live this moment and feel the love

Of the loved ones, till the last single breath!

Just the way you lived and left a trail

My dearest BIG sister!

Sunflower_head

-An ode to my lovely cousin who left us all

to render this world a less brighter place….

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Yoga

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Yoga was one topic I wanted to talk about for a long time, since it is close to my heart and I greatly benefited from its practice. I was introduced to this holistic form of exercise for mind and body when I was around 25. Living in the garden city of Bangalore, also notorious for its allergies, I suffered from wheezing and wanted to find respite not through high dosage medications that poisoned my system, but by more natural ways like pranayama* and yogasana*. The search for an instructor led me to a wonderful lady who was a doctor by profession, but a yogi at heart. Her classes used to be 1-hour long and were held on the covered terrace of her 2-storey house, 5 days a week.

The very first day of class itself made quite an impression on me of yoga as a practice for a well-rounded lifestyle. Her simple routine consisted of pranayama, followed by light warm-ups going onto surya namaskara* and then to various asanas* in standing, sitting, lying on the belly and back positions. The sessions wound up in meditations and chanting of shlokas* eventually ending in savasana*. By the end of the first month, I noticed a significant amount of improvement in my health. The pranayama along with the various asanas accompanied by conscious breathing techniques blew in my lungs new life. The shlokas that were chanted in the yoga sessions brought a sense of surreal peace and quiet confidence. That was when I realized how amazingly transformational this modest form of ancient practice was! Yogasana is not a set of mindless exercises but a practice that enhances the flow of elements to various parts of our body, rejuvenating them.

http://findtot.com
http://findtot.com

To begin with, yoga in the eastern world in its purest form never had the hype and hoopla that the modern world brought with it. The essence of yoga is when the practitioner is in alignment with the consciousness, and the life energy flows in his/her being. These don’t require any gimmicks or gadgets, rather a highly focused mind in perfect alignment with the  body that embodies well-intended thoughts. That is yoga in its purest form, when it was created centuries back as Yoga sutras* derived from Hindu philosophies, where great yogis formulated various bodily postures called asanas.

The more I learned about Yoga as a discipline, the more intrigued I was about the brilliance of its various formations and the purpose behind them. What other form of practice can be so humbling, still empowering at the same time?! The yogic essence is truly felt, when you realize the flow of energy into every nerve of your body, when you feel the stretch of muscles in every limb, when you sense the measured breaths that blow life into every cell of your body and last but not least when you feel a tingling sensation of cosmic energy traveling through your nadis* to your chakras*. No wonder it is described as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline that translates as the literal meaning of Yoga which means ‘yolking’ or union in Sanskrit. I bow down to the brilliant souls from whose minds this great science originated for the inner healing of mankind through ages…….Om

http://goyogaamelia.com
http://goyogaamelia.com

*pranayama – formal practice of controlled breathing

*surya namaskaram – sun salutations

*asanas – the art of sitting still

*savasana – corpse pose

*shloka – a category of verse line, like a couplet

*sutra – a distinct type of literary composition consisting of short, concise statements

*nadis – channels through which the energy of the subtle body flow

*chakras – energy points of the subtle body, meeting points of the subtle energy channels

Aging gracefully

When I was approaching middle age, it was quite an unsettling feeling to deal with. It was like having a tug-of-war with time. After all, who is ready for the dreaded down hill ride?! They call it mid-life crisis for no reason.

It is with an air of convenient gullibility that we tend to deny the irrefutable truth of growing old. It is alarming to see, especially in the present generation the yearning to be in an immortal state of youthfulness. That brings us to the question: Isn’t there an existence for us beyond the superficial assurance of young/good looks through external means. Are we so rooted for the constant search of youngevity that so many of us would go to any extent to achieve it? If only the media and the proponents of  happy-healthy life, were not to put so much stress on the external looks or age as a detrimental factor in a person’s productivity or worth, things could be much different. What we need is more campaigns on staying young through right choice of healthy food, an active life-style through holistic workout and involvement in meaningful pursuits that eventually help aging gracefully.

Lets accept aging not as a bane, but as a boon and put our wisdom gained from the wealth of worldly experience to good use than spend our time whiling away in Botox clinics and facelift  centers. What do we lose if a fraction of that time is rather devoted in uplifting and enlightening the youth on life’s lessons learned?  When you see the silver lining in the cloud of hair and the wrinkly smile that is gifted by time alone, when you embrace age with all its graciousness, it is true liberation.

As for me, to my surprise, there is now a renewed sense of awareness and purpose, and a child-like curiosity like never before. It is true revelation, that you see life through a lens that only gets clearer with every passing decade. What you thought you knew before were only blurred images of what really is now! And for that I am happy to grow older and embrace the course of nature’s action.

 

Mother’s Day

   MOM

Mother’s day is around the corner and I muse about the true essence of motherhood. Do you become a mom just by virtue of giving birth? You are a mother but not ‘mom’, necessarily. The essence of momness is earned, not bestowed. Mom is not just another role that you perform in ways of feeding or dressing or educating your children, it is nourishing and enriching the young minds in emotional and spiritual levels!

Momness, if you think about it is not a qualification due to maternity itself. It is in fact, an abode of sanctity; it is a testimony that love, care and kindness still exist on earth. As far as there is flavor of motherhood on earth, there is still hope! You see subtleties of it in nature, in trees, in animals and all things living. It is owned solely by those who give birth – to goodness, to strength, to peace and above all, life. I see it in my own mother, who is momness personified. I also see it in my dad’s eyes and feel it in my brothers’ voice, as well as in random acts of kindness from near and dear ones, or a neighbor or sometimes even a stranger.

Penguins
courtesy:http://cuteanimals.cosmobc.com/

If I were to take even one-millionth of an ounce of pride in being a mother, let it not be for the lives that my womb delivered but for their journey thereafter! How would I come close to qualifying for a mom, if I weren’t to exhibit an iota of humaneness from the standpoint of another human,  if it’s not my shoulder that my daughters choose to cry on, if I couldn’t read the angst in their troubled minds, or know the meaning of unspoken words? Motherhood is not a right, but a privilege that has to be earned from mutual love and respect, by letting go and not clinging on!!
Needless to say, it is not in the untouched souls, the crass creatures, or the ruthless ruler. It is rather a light breeze that smells of jasmine, and brings music to your heart as you feel the gentle hands that lay on your shoulder. Hail the existence of momness!

 

Realistically Optimistic

“It is not what happens to you in life , but your attitude towards what happens that matters!”

This saying comes to mind when I see pessimistic people blaming their bad luck that for some reason finds a way into their lives at every beck and call. Why is it that some people are more inclined to think negative than being optimistic. Is it easy to cultivate a positive outlook in life?  Is it nature or nurture or both? Well, I think both. As with any trait, we can certainly condition our mind to think positive and take responsibility of our actions and situations and move on without playing the blame game.

Optimism, by itself is a passive quality that cannot come into fruition unless coupled with result-yielding qualities like hard work, perseverance and determination. It is a catalyst that adds to the quality of any endeavor you undertake. The usage of this word seems very clichéd, but one doesn’t realize the power in approaching anything in life with a sense of boundless energy created in positive light. Look at it this way, what has to happen and what will happen is not going to change by the way you react to it. So, why not cultivate the habit of being in a state of mind that is more congenial to your well-being. Yes, believe it or not, it is the way we think, more often than not, that can doom or save our life, rather than the real situation we are in.

We often give things a negative connotation or a distorted image due to our unrealistic expectations of how things should work from the framework of fairness set by us. And we brood and we grumble on how things have not worked as planned and spread a wave of dissatisfaction and pessimism that further hamper our chances on future accomplishments. The vicious cycle continues and the victim is in the whirlpool of constant anger and discontent.

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Dab an ounce of optimism or positive outlook in all your actions and see how life transforms.

1)      Optimists have high energy and infectious enthusiasm. They don’t envision failure in new endeavors and are always willing to venture into new forays of life with a child-like spirit. They are ready to strive for better, because they believe in possibilities.

2)      They don’t see challenges or even crisis as problems. Those are only means to guide them into a different path or help them become stronger. Obstacles in fact, are part of their learning process in life.

3)      Mind is a powerful tool in determining a person’s well-being.  Chronic negativity can cause conditions like depression, anxiety and stress. Optimists must most certainly maintain better health and experience contentment, due to their minds’ disposition!

4)      People prefer to be around a more cheerful and content person than being with a whiny wimp. Being optimistic goes a long way into making and keeping friends for the positive vibes spread.

5)      This trait should most certainly equip a person with better immunity that helps cope with unforeseen or unfortunate events. At the face of calamities, they are unfazed by their bad fortune and take action to fight back with more verve and vigor.

The inference is, realistically optimistic is a quality we can acquire by practice. The reason I say realistically optimistic is, you need to realize for instance that, building castles in the air without any effort, doesn’t yield any result. Optimism is like an energy pill. It helps you traverse the unexpected rough terrains in life. It can be practiced by being more mindful through meditation and mindfulness.  There is more energy flowing in the body through the deep inhalations and exhalations felt in stillness. Make it a daily habit to enter in your mind’s diary at least two things you are grateful for and two ways you can make a positive difference in someone’s life, by way of a look or compliment or words of encouragement. Strive for the best; be prepared for the worst. A conscious awareness and readiness to accept life’s ups and downs wards off any negative feeling that may sprout. There is a sense of positivity that comes with the knowing that failures are only stepping stones to success. Do not get disheartened, be on the go, for you need to enjoy the journey as you aspire to reach sweet destination!

Everything is alright

           The other day, while driving down the familiar road to drop off my daughter at her school, I noticed the joggers and walkers I usually see in the mornings pass by, and something in me reminded that ‘Everything is Alright’. Many of them, I know only by face and some I have personally known for years, but they all contribute to the sense of rhythm, that things are going on just the way they should be! Isn’t it queer that we all pass through hundreds of these moments everyday, still seem unaware of them and take them for granted?! These are, in fact the spokes of the wheel  we call LIFE. When I pay no attention, all things of true value go uncelebrated, like cherish my great childhood, relish the bitter sweetness of motherhood or enjoy the journey of womanhood.

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            Often times, I remind myself to notice and appreciate everyday life that has only been fair to me, from the morning cup of hot coffee I sip in my family’s company while I fix their breakfast, to the sight of my daughter’s curly head  from underneath the  blankets in the stillness of night. As if these daily assurances were not enough, I had been on the look out for something spectacular to happen. What more spectacular can it get than being able to share a laughter with your kids, to have the love of friends and family, to be able to hear the birds chirp, and see the splendid colors of spring! And when you hear your mom’s voice from miles away on the phone every weekend, or make the trip to your siblings’ to share little something and pretty much everything, you don’t appreciate the fact that things are still alright, because you have not yet felt and known ‘loss’.

           So the question is, do you want to wait till the everyday moments slip by, only to realize too late that those were exactly what you have been looking for in the bottomless pit of infinite darkness? There are very few people that we come across, who seem to have everything going ‘right’ for them . It is as if we thrive in complaining  about the seeming dearth in terms of wealth, love, happiness, attention, power, achievement and you name it…..the list is endless. How often has this truth hit us in the core that so many around us are  severely  under-privileged in more ways than one?  The farthest we go in terms of validating our better fortune in life’s big scheme of things, is just a fleeting stroke of vague recognition.
Our cribbing selves let days, months and years go by, as if nothing worthwhile happened, until one day it is not there any more, and all of a sudden it becomes precious.

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         Our imaginations have equipped our minds to travel to the extent of creating for ourselves a pseudo world that is so detached from reality. There is a meaning and purpose to life when you truly imbibe the everyday ordinariness and live it to the full like it is your last day. I find my ground in being conscious of life, love and peace around me that so many of our unfortunate counterparts in many parts of the world die dreaming of. 

           Once again, when I see from my kitchen window, the pile of leaves my husband just raked, or I open the door to a friend beaming with a bowl of fresh, home-made food in hand, I know too well to nod with  gratitude for the innumerable gifts life  bestowed on me. I am only too glad to share this blessing and see the contentment of ‘Everything is Alright’ in the eyes of another human being, or any living soul for that matter!