Monday Motivation

   “Don’t allow someone make you feel like you’re not good enough”Anonymous

   There’s no use denying that we live in a world that at many times appears to be harsh, unnecessarily untruthful and full of negativity. While it is not true always, it unfortunately is a huge part of our daily living and that can be tiring. To continuously have to strive to find the good in people, to keep on being optimistic, to having the courage to deal with the negative- can be taxing. Yet, we focus on the good…we must. The good, the bad and the ugly coexist and it is up to us how we respond to these.

   How we choose to view the world around us is probably a ‘choice’ and while it may sound utopian, I believe that we can decide to focus on the good that is also found in plenitude. ‘Choose to be kind in an unkind world‘ is more than a print on a coffee mug or a T shirt. It can be a wonderful way of living, albeit frustrating at times and difficult to maintain but nonetheless doable. Everyday people, things, circumstances will work in inexplicable ways to make us feel bad about ourselves, about the choices we make in life; they will work tirelessly to bring us down and fill us with self doubt- do not let them. The power lies within us to not respond to such pettiness. My Ma always says that anyone who behaves in this manner is already beneath us and I couldn’t agree more. I understand that it is easier said than done but it is upon us to not let the weight of other people’s malicious behavior, their inanity and their overall disregard for anyone else but themselves, their hollow judgments take us down. Our convictions and inner strength can lead us in our own journeys that we each take and we meet an equal number of, if not more, people who enrich our lives with love, generosity, humility and awesomeness which brightens the gloom negative energy brings. Random acts or spoken words by strangers and acquaintances make us smile a bit and breathe easy and we know that love continues to grow and even if we are unable to see it, the world is still a beautiful place.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a happy week!

 

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Monday Motivation

I have been missing from my own happy and calm place- taking pictures and scribbling- for the past few weeks. I am more anxious and restless as a result and I don’t really like this ‘me’! Sometimes life gets crazy and replying to simple emails seems like a task and the two hour ‘me’ window that generally is allotted for rants and rambles gets filled with  Netflix, leading to more restlessness! We all have been/are part of such cycles that leave us in a flux at times, won’t you say? How do you deal with it?

I sometimes wish I could go out  to places a couple of times a week at least that would let me take photos to my heart’s content and teach me things. Instead, days get filled with the mundane and this fanciful notion takes a backseat. While my heart is thankful for all that I have and I feel blessed for my family, especially my little ones, at times a tiny something feels missing from this perfect setting. I wonder if this is the feeling of a stay at home mom and I also wonder if it’s okay to feel this way.  A part of me wants to work, wants to put my degrees to some use, wants to be able to give back to society, wants to be a role model for the tiny humans we are trying to raise. I know of parents who would give anything to be able to stay at home,watching their kids grow – roll on the floor with them, make sandwiches with funny faces for lunch and just be silly in the middle of the day! And I am grateful,every single day, to be able to do that. But at the same time, the urge to go to work does not seem to go away.  This sort of dichotomy between the ‘what- one- has’ and ‘what- one- wants’ is nothing new and never has an easy solution! Neither does mine. Sometimes we give in to situations and fail to navigate around. And sometimes we find a middle ground or choose a path and stick to that no matter what.

I have been perturbed for the past few days and I know I will be again in the future! But for now, I am choosing to not sink in the ‘have- nots’ but embrace the ‘haves’ and when the time is right, choose a path that will hopefully ease those pangs of uneasiness.

 

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Have a good week and thanks for stopping by!

 

Monday Motivation

Monday is almost over here but this is my photo and my thought for the day-

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“OPTIMISM IS THE FAITH THAT LEADS TO ACHIEVEMENT. NOTHING CAN BE DONE WITHOUT HOPE AND CONFIDENCE”- HELEN KELLER

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a good week.

‘What’s the Word’ Wednesday

Ennui :

Feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction; boredom

 

   My four year old has been, of late,  using the sentence:’ I am bored!’ And I have been processing it, very carefully…trying out different things to lessen his ‘boredom’. He has also recently started getting more screen time than usual as I have been slacking, probably, in keeping him occupied. That has been followed by pangs of guilt and some serious ‘research’ into how to best stimulate the young mind, how to keep them occupied etc etc. All of this also has had less than desirable results at times, setting the whole cycle in motion again!

   Growing up, I was always told to keep myself occupied as much as possible as it was not a good thing to sit idle. Who can remember this from their childhood days- ‘An idle brain is the devil’s workshop!’ And so ingrained is that notion in my mind that I too have been doing the same with my son and in the process probably not letting him be a child. I wonder is too much structured time good for kids? I look around and parents and kids are running from one activity to the other and both often look exhausted and somewhat ‘doing things for the sake of doing them’. I have already had suggestions from ‘concerned’ minds that I should be enrolling my son, before it’s too late, in guitar lessons and soccer and some sort of piano or drum lessons too (my kid is just another kid who loves to kick the ball around and beat the drums and strum his ukulele). And the only thought that had crossed my mind was “too late for a four year old??”

   Recent research has shown that being bored once in a while is actually good for the child’s brain (https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2018/03/08/unplug-your-kids-boredom-is-good-for-the-brain/- there are many more articles on this topic..just ask Google!) It gives them time to be creative and helps them think.  If a parent is filling in all the free time of the child, I wonder how will they learn to do it themselves? We cannot think for the kids nor should we and as I am learning slowly, it is not good for my kid to be told how to keep himself occupied at all times. I need to let him be a kid and help him visit the land of make believe.

   We did not have the electronic devices at our finger tips and we did figure out ways to keep ourselves from getting ‘bored’. And as far as I remember, it was fun to pretend play and talk to other kids, get into quarrels and figure out how to get along, scrape our knees playing on the streets and get our hands dirty in the mud! I wonder if we are failing to give our kids enough outdoor time or has societal norms put such limits? Such thoughts cross my mind and I am often perplexed by the complexity of the answers. Times are different and life has become much more demanding and trying to find a balance between the ideal and what’s possible can sometimes be an uphill task. But I am willing to let my four year old get a little bored and figure out things on his own, get down on my knees and get our hands dirty, if not in the mud then in the play dough and other gooey stuff!

 

(I had started writing this post about a month ago and had then just forgotten! My ‘bored’ four year old made me think about this today and I am thankful for that ‘boredom!)

 

 

Thanks for stopping by:)

Monday Motivation

   It is sometimes hard to keep it together when there is so much negativity all around. Half truths are not truths, disdain and contempt for others is not good, “I” above everything and everyone else is shallow. But when walls seem to be closing in from all directions, it sometimes helps to just keep breathing. So, keep breathing my dears…just keep breathing.

   I went for a walk with my son the other day and it was a beautiful evening. The sky was blue and white and gray and pink…it was amazing to look up. As I clicked these with my phone, the song- ” What a Wonderful World” kept playing in my head! So much beauty all around us…how are we not caring for HER more?

 

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“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness-it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude” – Brene Brown
Keep Breathing!

Monday Motivation

Monday is over in some parts of the world and it is close to being over where I live. But I still wanted to go ahead with this post as self motivation!

   When our loved ones suffer, it hurts us too. It also makes us feel helpless when there is nothing that we can do to ease their troubles.  At the moment, I am in a similar predicament  as some seemingly unending and unsolvable strain of difficulties is giving my family back in India sleepless nights and I don’t know how to help. While I have enormous faith in the scheme of things and that gives me hope in the face of adversities, at times it gets difficult to hold on to hope too. I started this post as something that would distract me, even if for a little bit, from the constant worry  and as a reason to help me to to keep pushing forward, holding on to that chalice of hope. And the main reason was to help one particular troubled soul find strength and believe that ‘this too shall pass’.

   Today, I am posting some sayings of the Buddha that might seem cliched (like all quotes or sayings tend to do) but have profound truth and power to help heal the troubled soul and carry forward with the journey.

 

The mind is everything. What you think you become.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
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Have a happy week, folks!

Tuesday Tales- The Pink Trash Can

   Many moons ago, I had the opportunity to live in Kobe, Japan as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program and to say the least, it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. Today’s Tuesday Tales is about how a little pink trash can from my first day in Kobe.

                                                       The little pink trash can 

   I was young and it was the first time I had traveled ‘overseas’ and I was hopeful, albeit a bit nervous. I had no idea about what to expect and in a country the language of which I neither spoke nor understood, planning to work there for a couple of years did not seem as daunting as it should have. I was running high on all things bright and beautiful and was honored to be a part of this pretty cool and at the same time, enriching, program.

   It was the month of August and it was hot and humid, a weather I was quite familiar with. After a couple of days of program orientation in Tokyo with probably around 5000 participants from more than 40 countries and mesmerized by all that was going on- from our stay in the wonderful Keio Plaza Hotel, to attending lectures to a beautiful milieu of what seemed like a cultural amalgamation, to making new friends-everything seemed to good to be true. After a three day period, I boarded the Shinkansen from Tokyo  and reached Kobe, along with my colleagues, some of who I became good friends with, that continues till today. We went to the Board of Education building of the city of Kobe where after some more briefing about the whats and what not-s of the program, my co-teacher from the school I was going to be teaching English at, took me to what was going to be my home for the period of my stay in that country, and the first place where I would be staying all by myself for the first time ever…too many firsts, one may say!

   We went up the stairs and opened the door to the place and it was then that reality hit me. I was looking at a tiny place that was just floors and walls, with the tiniest gas stove I had seen. Oh, there was a little futon too but it was all rolled up in a corner and had not caught my attention in the beginning. I dragged my big red suitcase inside, thanked my co-teacher, Ms. Takashima (who by the way, was surprised at the emptiness of the place), closed the door after she left and slumped on the floor in a pool of tears. I was exhausted and scared but the glitz and happy faces of Tokyo and the adrenaline from all the excitement had kept me from facing some realities that the sight of an empty place brought to the forefront in no time.

 I was alone for the first time ever. I had never lived without my parents and I was without friends. It felt claustrophobic in there and it was hurting bad. I went to the bathroom, turned the tap on and just sat in the bathtub, with my clothes till on. And I cried my heart out. I saw no reason to be there and just wanted to run back to the place and people who I left behind, waving through the murky glass doors at the airport.

   After I was almost done crying as I could not cry any more, I heard the door bell ring and someone saying something. I was drained out from all the crying, not to mention the soaking clothes. By the time I had changed into dry clothes, and thought of three excuses about what was wrong with my eyes ( an unhealthy duration of crying does strange things to the eyes obviously), whoever had rung the bell had gone away. When I opened the door, I found a little pink trash can with a pretty lid on it…it was definitely the cutest trash can I had ever seen, with a note on it that said- ‘I hope you will make this a part of your home-Ms. Takashima’. Also hanging on the door handle was a ‘welcome bag’ from the previous batch of JET participants, who were living in the same building as us and it had all the basic necessities to help us through the first few hours.  A dinner invitation for meet and greet was followed by a very teary Skype call home and the day ended with me passing out on that tiny futon.

    As I woke up the following morning and made tea (I had brought supplies from home), I realized I was calmer and less claustrophobic. The little pink trash can, with the note still stuck on the lid, was part of my ‘home’ now and I knew 20 more people than the previous afternoon and I had survived my first night away from my family. And at that moment I remembered something that my Baba always says ‘Din periye jaye. kalker din o eshei jaye‘ (loosely translated- time keeps on moving and, tomorrow always comes). I had never before paid much attention to this saying of his that he uses too much and I realized the truth of those words in that morning, sipping tea in my first home with the pink trash can.

   That pink trash can made that empty space my home and the next two years went by in the blink of eye. I had some of the best times of my life there, I definitely learned much more than I had before, I made some very special memories and even more special friends and I reconnected with a lost friend who I am currently married to and who is a wonderful father to our two kids!

 

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This picture of the school playground was taken by a dear friend and colleague near the end of my stay in Kobe. It has remained a favorite.