2 Words That Rocked My World

life-inspirational-believe-justin-bieber-tour-love-quotes-Favim.com-552683“At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.” –Christine Mason Miller

 Its scary when I sit down to think about it, how much of my life revolved around fears, expectations, guilt and what others thought of me.

I spent my days on the corner of living-for-others and doubt. Doubting what I had to say was important. Doubting I could make a difference. I finally looked in the mirror one day and realized I was a robot! No fun, no emotion, no ME to be found anywhere! Living in mom, wife, daughter, sister –isms: perfectionism, optimism, never-stir-the-pot-ism, always-please-ism.

This had to stop and I had to get MY-SELF back! I missed Me. The Me that laughs at my own jokes. The Me who wears her heart on her sleeve. The Me that is just as much free and fabulous as I am bitchy and bossy. The Me that likes to have honest conversations!

I BELIEVE! I believe I can be that girl again. I believe I will make a difference in the world. I believe what I say is what I mean. These two words completely transformed my life and give me faith to keep going. And in doing so I’m paving the way for others, more importantly, for my own girls!

Its no surprise that my baby girl who is 4 is a wild child! I actually do love it! Yes, there are moments when she is pulling me in my 4 inch heels with a sari on, or when she’s trying to sit on my head after I’ve just made myself presentable, or when she’s screaming (her version of talking) in a quiet plane ride with only 40 people…she can seem a little overwhelming.

Especially when people are constantly coming up to you at family events saying, “your younger one is crazy, she’s tough and the older one is so nice.” I want to say walk away before I puke on you. Instead I smile and say, “well that’s why she’s my daughter and not someone else’s (raising an eyebrow)!” …For me that’s a pretty damn good answer, normally I would have smiled and moved on feeling embarrassed and wanting my daughter to act “normal” for just a couple hours.

Instead I smile knowing she’s my daughter for a reason! I’ve always believed she was special,  in a way that only I can understand. Recognizing that all that “craziness” is really just bottled up love! She loves that hard! GO HARD or Go Home, I guess!

When I recognized this about her, it helped me to keep moving forward confidently as her momma. I believed that if I speak to her with the same logic and respect I show others it’ll sink in…eventually. Our conversations usually go like this:
Me: “Naya, if I was jumping on you and pushing and pulling you, would you like it?”
Naya: “No!”
Me: “Then treat others the way you want to be treated. Use your words or hugs and kisses. You don’t need to be rough. Who is Naya?”
Naya: “Naya is nice to people. Naya is fun. Naya kisses and hugs people. But Momma, I just feel like to be rough sometimes.”
Me: Still reasoning. “Well I think if Naya is kind and gentle and if she showed people her love by hugging and kissing and tickling, she wouldn’t want to be rough.”

She listens, takes a few breaths and then usually goes back to being a monkey.

And then the most amazing thing happened. Last night around 9pm in the carride home from the airport, “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry came on the radio and baby girl says, “turn it up please.”

Because the signal to the radio station was muffled, I plugged in my phone to play the song, she says, “momma can you play Wahe Guru” (version by Niranjan Kaur, a song we chant together sometimes). Shocked I said you don’t want to listen to Katy Perry. AND THIS IS WHERE SHE SHOCKED ME, “No, wahe guru helps me not be rough, it calms me…”

…….YES STILL SHOCKED! My husband and I sat in silence, finally speaking to say, “that’s powerful!”

WOAH! All because I believe! I believe in her. I believe in Me. I believe in miracles! Its that simple? I believe!

It sounds too good to be true…well I challenge you. Try it. Say it, believe it, and live it! The really crazy, mind-blowing thing about it, is if you say it and believe it, you will find a way to make it happen. And along the way we allow others to show us their own light.

Our Universe is built to answer our beliefs. We have to believe. If more people believed then imagine the endless possibilities!

My Body Is A Temple

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“You’re body is a wonderland…” ~John Mayer 

No offense to Mr. Mayer, but lately I’m singing, My Body is My Sacred Temple. Although, this wasn’t always the case; Flashing back to when I was about 6 years old, I had someone put their hands on me in ways that even now bring up an array of feelings from fear to courage.

I gave up attachment to my physical body. I ignored any feelings of concern or pain that would arise. I blocked my heart and covered my innocence by acting like a teenager, who knew it all, instead of a curious little girl. (I must’ve been a gem to raise 😉 )

This was the only way my mind knew how to protect me and release my body of the sadness and shame. There was no connection of my mind to my body. I felt like a strong, capable woman in my mind and like a free bird with my body. I was definitely showing off and treating my body as an amusement park of some sort.

I realized I would go into changing rooms and not care if the door was open or closed. Women would be appalled at the Filene’s Basement fitting rooms where it felt like open showers of a jail. I didn’t feel the same at all, I could care-less. I expressed it as “what’s the big deal?” Inside I was actually envious of them, women who loved their bodies enough to not give anyone a free show.

Recently, I saw a post about why women in Islam aren’t permitted to shake hands with strange men and why they are covered from head to toe? The response was ‘Our women are queens. They are to be respected, not touched or gawked at by strange men.’ Although I don’t think this simple answer quite covers the entire topic, one thing is true…YESSS, women are queens! I am a Queen!

I get to rule my kingdom: I have full control and authority over my body, my heart, and my mind. My soul is the essence of a queen. But I was ruling my kingdom with beliefs of divisions and disrespect.

My good ole friend science is always there to back me up. In a study at Princeton University, men were shown images of women in “scantily clad clothing,” i.e. bikinis and other pictures of women fully covered. When men saw pictures of the women half dressed the areas of the brain that that are associated with tools, cars, planned action were activated. Their brains were objectifying these women. Crazy! Yet true.

The point of all of this is that ladies and gentlemen, we get to choose how we perceive ourselves and how we want to be perceived!

“The way you treat yourself, sets the standard for others.” ~Sonya Friedman

I’m not saying, don’t wear sexy clothes, or bikinis. Now looking back at all the low cut tops and high slit skirts I was infamous for wearing says a lot about me. I realize I was speaking for my body, just like the Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera song goes I was saying, “Do what you want with my body….”

Um NO! You can’t do what you want. Its my body, it’s a part of my whole package. And if I believe God is within me, using me, letting me serve her; then my body is Goddess Durga’s Temple! Durga in Sanskrit means fort, or a place that is protected and difficult to access.

I will protect my Durga with the highest level of respect. I will feed it pure foods and I will love it unconditionally. I will give it privacy by closing the door to the dressing room. I will give it respect by wearing what feels good to me, not because society says it or science does, but because this body is MY God given gift and no one else gets a damn say about it!

I am grateful to this body for everything it houses, my soul, my spirit, my heart and my mind! Thank you, you wonderful, skinny, long-legged, scar-covered beauty!

Bringing Compassion & Mindfulness into Your Social Media Self

love_my_computer_000Emails have a certain tone. Text messages come through with the draining energy of the person writing it. We know this because we feel anything but happy, elated, or warm.

You can even admit(maybe through mumbling) that you’ve been on the sending end of some could’ve-said-it-better-posts, comments, or even messages through social media. You know this because you’ve gotten a small flutter of regret in your gut about 10 seconds after you pushed send. Followed by a “oh crap how do I retract a sent message?”

We feel strong and invincible behind our computers. We feel protected and safe from inside our houses, office cubicles or car, knowing that the person we just roared at can’t respond right away and you get to have the last word in this moment, and feel like the proud lion standing over his latest kill.

Sounds horrible and yet its true. This can’t honestly be the way that humanity is headed? I am afraid to say yes, atleast for me, unless I shift my reactions into responses and bring some love into our digital world.

We will become people who appear bold and tell-it-like-is, however, in reality we are mean, we are bullies, and we are bringing each other down. In our social media world we don’t get to be face to face, we don’t get to see the hurt on the other person’s face or the tears in their eyes from something we just wrote. We don’t have to think about all that from behind our computers, phones or i-machines.

We don’t have to become robots ourselves. We are human beings with emotions and thoughts and feelings and LOVE. Face to face we bring that love to people daily. Whether we buy the guy behind us a coffee or hold the door open for someone. We show our kindness and gratitude in the “real world”. Sure, we all have days where we are more bitchy than bashful and more moody than mellow, but we are still kind to our core.

We have to bring that kindness and generosity with us when we interact on social media. Otherwise, our egos get to win, and our true spirits get buried. If we keep patting ourselves on the back for indirectly or directly hurting someone, just because a post or article or video served as a trigger for us, we lose as humanity.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” –Dalai Lama

We all have triggers, some people have vaca-envy, when we see people on vacation posting pictures and feel a sense of jealousy. Some people have word-rage, like I learned from a recent blog, when we see certain words spelled wrong or used incorrectly like your or you’re or prostate and prostrate.

Recognize your triggers, because its the first step to overcome and bring compassion and mindfulness into your social media persona, along with these 3 simple steps.

1. Breathe.

I am an avid, if not obsessive believer of the breath! It really brings me back to the present moment, it relaxes me, and it helps me tune into my self and my body. Which is exactly what I need when I am about to respond to something that triggered or ticked me off.

Breath allows us to become conscious in this moment. Becoming conscious of what we are about to comment or write. Becoming conscious of re-reading it and trying to see the love and kindness behind it.

So take a deep breath (maybe a few), to relax and rejuvenate your thoughts before you respond; from a place that has never steered you wrong, your heart.

2. “Recognize the Other Person is You” Yogi Bhajan.

They are human too! Whatever you are thinking about the other person: “I can’t believe this hateration had the nerve to say that.” Unfortunately, those thoughts are a reflection of you. Ask what’s really going on? Why I am so upset? And most importantly is this really the way they meant it?

Why is it I always read with a negative tone first? Because I feel negative myself. I don’t feel confident and secure with myself. We feel the need for validation from external sources whether material things, substances, or appreciation from others, believe me I know all about this!

“Be gentle first with yourself, if you wish to be gentle with others.” –Lama Yet

Affirm: I am the only validation I need. As soon as I began to say and think kind words and thoughts about myself, I became proud of who I am! And I can guarantee, you won’t read another comment or email or text in a mean way (unless of course I was tired or hypoglycemic). Once I acknowledged this within myself, I magically granted the other person the credit of being a loving soul in human form too.

3. Speak with Kindness.

“I can’t believe you…but good article.” And “Good article. But I would recommend…”

There is a distinct difference in these two responses. Personally, I would wish the second one. I would value this person’s opinion about what they recommended and leave feeling good.

Isn’t that what we all want? To feel good. And making others feel good.

There’s a reward, a feeling, a sense of wholeness we feel when we do nice things for others. That’s how we should feel after every comment, email or text we write. I know I’ve made this switch because I am constantly now deleting texts and emails and re-writing it from a place of kindness rather than just as an undertone.

Recognizing the receiver is not there to see your facial expressions, to know it’s a joke or a serious offense. They merely see the words; write words with power, with inspiration, with kindness, but don’t forget the emoticons!

This digital world, social media, it’s not going away, even if we try to deactivate our accounts, or not sign up or not be a part of it. If you choose to be apart of it, then don’t lose your humanity to it.

“No One Has Ever Become Poor By Giving”

–Anne Frank

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I grew up in an Indian household where we treat others, family, friends, guests in our home as God. We give them all we have, even if it means we go without.

When I was younger, I was like ‘say what?’ That little girl gets to go home with my toy because she’s a guest in my house! My parents would just give away something that’s mine!

But now I can understand that that’s the only way to be. Only when we give, can we truly receive. My reward for my generosity was received by hugs from her parents, by gratitude from my own. I did end up getting a new toy, which consoled the little girl in me, but most importantly, all of me can attest that I received Love!

All of us have so much to give, whether smiles, kind words or just our company. These are all things that require no money, no work, just time, and love, and kindness! Its free and we have it within us!

The world isn’t asking for it. Sure, you can say, “uh tell that to the telemarketers who call for donations to made up organizations.” Yes, some people are asking. But for the most part the starving children, the whales, even your own family, friends, and neighbors, they aren’t asking!

Yet we feel an innate sense to give. When we hear about a heartache that came over our friend, we want to be there with them. When we see our children crying, we want to pick them up and make them feel better.

The faith in humanity starts with giving without being asked. Giftivism, Karma Kitchen, Smile Cards, Because I Said I Would, these are all projects started to just give. GIVE with no expectation to receive. Give because the universe and other human beings have great faith in what humanity is capable of.

So many times we are just waiting around for someone to ask. We wait for an invitation to hang out. We wait for someone to call us. We wait for people to tell us what they need. Stop waiting! We know what we want to do, we know how to get it done. OH, but what’s that word…ahh FEAR!

We live in fear, fear of what others will think, fear of what-ifs, fear of being rejected. Yet we know the only way to get past fear is to do anyway.

Recently, I had a very important appointment set up, I knew it would be life changing. It was causing me all sorts of extreme feelings from anxious and shameful to relieved and self-love. I kept all this bottled up in my thoughts and my mind.

Seeing me go through my daily routine, no one could tell I was in a constant war with myself on the inside. I was both my own friend and my own enemy. Talk about confused!

I knew one thing for sure, I so badly wanted someone to hold my hand through it all. But I never spoke up, actually I was ignoring calls from my family and friends.

The light bulb went on when I confessed to my sister that I didn’t ask my husband to come because I didn’t want the pressure of putting him out; That I knew he wanted to be there and was secretly hoping he’d just make it happen.

AH-HA! We all want to feel loved and supported but are afraid to express it. If we ask for someone to give, we feel like we are imposing. If we give without being asked, we feel like we are imposing!

What a colossus circle of fear, a glorified and tolerable version of:
“You say it first.”
“No, you say it first.”
“No, you say it first.”

Someone say it! I know that honest, straight-forward communication is always the highest goal in life and in any relationship. However, in moments of stress and sadness, fear takes over and makes us into Stuttering Stanleys.

We have to recognize this, first in ourselves, so we can acknowledge it in others. I admitted to my husband that I really did want him to come. (If I’m being truthful, this confession came after an unnecessary outburst about something totally unrelated like morning breakfast.)

I apologized for not being honest about my feelings and mostly I apologized for the unnecessary drama I was creating in our worlds.

He actually said to me, “I took off work to be with you at your appointment. I wasn’t telling you because I didn’t want to put pressure on you! I want to be there, even if we don’t say a word. I want you to know you are never alone.”

Talk about Powerful Words! Talk about Giving! Talk about LOVE!

I’m grateful that my husband in this moment taught me that we as humans have the ability to give and give and give. Something as simple as just having a meaningful conversation, spending some time together, saying “I Love You!” Can change the entire energy in your world.