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‘The more we accept our thoughts without thinking about them, the more we define ourselves by what we think, the more likely it is we are living in some internal stress loop of suffering. Belief in our unexamined internal stories is not a belief in facts.’ The Unlimited Self by Jonathan Heston

Heston’s words gives us pause for thought. What Heston shares is something we know innately but find it difficult to do. To me his words resonate from a mindful and a spiritual context. If we are not self-aware, if we get caught up in the emotions, and then make choices, we are leading a reactive life. The stories we tell our selves and excuses we make are due to circumstances or other’s actions.

Let’s take a step back and see why we tend to behave in this reactive way.

  1. We are not our thoughts: If you put some distance from your inner commentary, and just observe, you will notice that most of your thoughts are there to a) justify one’s actions, b) nulify someone else c) victimise one self. We have the capacity to change our thinking style.
  2. Stuck Beliefs: When we are conditioned from childhood by our parents, teachers, elders, to follow a certain path in life, we tend to forget that actually, we can create a new path, we are unique and living in a different time.
  3. Self -esteem: We compare ourselves with others, and often feel we are not good enough. If we lack the attitude of acceptance towards self and others, every aspect of our life is affected by the way we approve of ourselves, and value ourselves in context to the world. Every thought, behaviour and action can be linked back to how we feel about ourselves. If you are wired to follow a certain way of thinking which is to be unkind and critical to yourself, every behaviour and action becomes a struggle. Every goal and dream will remain unfulfilled.

Writing this book on self-esteem has been a journey of self-discovery to understand the relevance of how we value or devalue ourselves in this hyperconnected world. If we can take the inside-out approach to our life, we can find a way to wards a path of fulfilment.

It is time to reboot your thinking style, reflect on your inner needs, and revive your goals that bring meaning and purpose to your life.

It has brought some meaning to mine.

This book is not to tell you what’s wrong or what there is to fix in ourselves. It is not a self-help book, it is more of a self-understanding book, covering real life stories of different people and to give us an glimpse of the different ways to face life.

Why i wrote it? Because it helped me realise that it is okay to be okay with oneself, as I am, flaws and all.

Do take out some time and read this book. It has made a difference to me, I hope it will make a difference to you

Once upon a time, far far in the past, eons ago, there was a woman who spoke her mind. A resilient wise woman, people were drawn to her for some reason.

She was from the future. And she said that the people in the future experienced many intensely painful moments emotionally.

They were unhappy inside. Externally they looked fabulous, successful and lived ecstatic lives.

But they lived in fear. They were afraid of other people’s judgements.

People were scared to reveal their true selves. Afraid of standing out, being different, or wanting a different kind of fulfilment.

Many didn’t even know who they were…they went along with whatever they were told. They lived, ate, slept, spoke, behaved, as they were told.

Inside themselves, they felt like strangers. Who is this me? They asked themselves. Why am I not happy when life has provided all that i need?

The question is not about need but want.

What do you really want?

Reflect on this question.

So many have lost their identity in the bumpy ride of living with controllers.

If you feel restless, if you are looking for something to dissolve this unidentifiable feeling inside you…then reflect on your present. Ask yourself: WHAT do I really WANT?

As a spiritualist once said: The past is dead, the future unborn, the present is your only living breathing moment.

Why waste precious moments on being someone you are not.

If you want a listening ear, if you want to talk about what is holding you back,and go on a journey of self-discovery…contact me at shobhanovels@gmail.com

I am open to listen without offering advice or judgement. You will be your guide to understanding yourself. I will lead you to sync with your inner self. To tap into the ‘real me’ zone, to reveal and accept whoever you choose to be.

(All communication will be kept in confidence)

Get real, what I mean is get down-right real and honest with yourself, address all preconceived notions, fears, vulnerabilities, expectations, disappointments, and dreams, face them squarely and honestly.

The idea is to bust that illusion and get truthful about what is possible to achieve within the set boundaries of our evolving lifestyle.

Face them, to fade them…

Experiencing the evolving emotions, is the first step towards facing and accepting one self. So, no matter what you experience – good, bad, ugly – face it truthfully and humbly. Be self-honest.

This kind of brutal self-honesty is a necessary first step to understanding the self. Because, as clinical psychologists explain, self-deception is exemplified in our thinking patterns, beliefs, behaviors, emotional reactions, and relationships.

We are constantly lying to our selves, it is the kind of lying that comes from not being psychologically strong enough to be honest with ourselves. To go within and develop the understanding of who we are and what we stand for, is necessary to live a fulfilling life.

Going within, addressing the personal faults, or limiting beliefs lifts the veil that stops us from seeing the truth, so we continue to deceive ourselves.

Every aspect of understanding one self is a meaningful approach to living.

Some people are more in tune with themselves, while others are fine-tuning that connection.

Be brave to accept that each of us is unique, and it is okay to not fit in.

We need more of the real self to reveal itself.

Be aware. We have discovered that our thoughts are so powerful that we can change the course of our destiny. What if our thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s destiny?

When we come into contact with people there’s a reason to either learn from them or to teach. Therefore in our hyperconnected world where energies connect on unseen levels, we think of certain individuals with kindness or bitterness. We then think certain thoughts about them. These thoughts create feelings which is energy. So when that energy transmits there is an effect. The kind of effect that becomes positive or negative. That person can feel it. Even if they don’t realise it, that thought creates an impression.

We wonder how much is coming from another person or how much of my thoughts are truly mine.

Next time a thought pops into your head. Ask yourself: ‘was that me or someone else?’

So when you think of another person send out positive vibes. Because what goes out, eventually returns.

Let’s think supportive and kind thoughts.

Stay well in mind and spirit.

Travel Tales around the World

TravTrails

Sue Slaght of http://www.traveltalesoflife.com has compiled a series on the effect of COVID 19 around our world and I am honoured to participate.

The full text is here : https://traveltalesoflife.com/covid-19-turkey-france-india-england/

Table of Contents

It is heartening to read how residents of other countries are dealing with this physical and emotional wrecker, some with humor and some with despair. We can all pray that we have the strength to help others and ourselves. As I write this India figures have crossed the 60,000 mark and increasing by the hour.

There is more:

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People come in all shapes and sizes. Some are cunning and purposefully bitter, and others are there to teach us to reframe our expectations.

I have found that people are inherently good. They just come from a bad place when they get ugly with words or attitude.

It doesn’t really matter how anyone reacts, because everyone changes over time. The problem is the end goal, how does one achieve it? Forcibly? By annihilating other people’s careers? Or is it through team effort, with patience and harmony. There are different fields of work that require a bold blunt attitude, that requires the warlike ambition to push forward to succeed. And great news is that there are personality types who are capable of doing just that. And I respect them for their capacity to be all head and no heart. But not all are cut from the same cloth.

How we really live our lives is really our own choice. Childhood conditioning colours our views of the world and our ability to reason and decide what we want or don’t want to do in life. I’ve soon realised that we need to recondition ourselves constantly. We must break the binds of our conditioned behaviour to understand ourselves, and others, better, and to be able to adjust to other people’s constantly changing attitudes.

I believe that, ‘this is the way I am conditioned’ is a real cop-out phrase. Here’s why:

  1. Fear: The draining energy of dread and fear of those who have conditioned us is what holds us back. Fear of failure and fear of other people’s opinions drag us down. If fear sits on you like a heavy weight, then it’s time to learn to shift the mindset, and  lift that weight, bury it under the strength of sheer willpower.
  2.  Being conditioned is saying: ‘I don’t know what is right for me, so I let others decide what I am supposed to do with my life.’ Seriously? Look at other people’s lives and learn from them, how did they break away from shackles, how did they understand right from wrong, their own strengths and weaknesses, and to live on their own terms.
  3. Life teaches us a bunch of lessons, hard ones, and we grow and learn from them. And help others to find their meaning, because of the lessons we’ve learned.

I have realised that, in life, all that matters, really, is how you learn to adapt to evolutionary times, and changing attitudes. The ugly truth will always remain: there will be others who will despise you for who you are. Let that not be a reason to falter.

My book ‘The Blue Jade‘ shares this form of self-discovery in Neelam, my protagonist. She faces a tonne of upheavals and obstacles to achieve her goals.

Blue Jade IMG-20191231-WA0027

Over the years I have heard, read, mused, cried, laughed, feared, hated and loved so much about writing that one would think that by now I would have reached a space of detachment. 

It is not true.  I am still terrified of the blank page, I still agonise over the word count, I still over-analyse my characters, and scenes. After twenty plus years, one would imagine that I could float in a sea of calm and buoy my way through the next book with a smile and a wave. And say hey! Easy peasy, it all came so naturally! But it doesn’t come naturally, it takes effort and patience and self-discipline to write, and then to carve out the useless bits, to sculpt and skin. It takes time and deep concentration. 

I still read about writing, how to get better at it. I read other books, and learn from the style and prose of the author. I am glad for the books that have helped and motivated me to improve and enrich my writing. And taught me how to love the process of creating. It is indeed a calm flow. I have experienced it many times, and I think it is that feeling that keeps me going back to writing. This inner journey has been so important to me.

But in the outer world, there are many rules on how one must be perceived as a writer. One must stick to one publishing house, one must not stray from one’s genre, one must market and promote like an egotistical maniac. I have broken those rules. I follow the path of least resistance when it comes to the flow. As a creative, I cannot be placed in a boxed space and told how to behave. It’s not how I function. If an idea gets my heart racing, I will follow through and write the book, whether there’s money in it or not. 

There is one particular book that touched my heart and drove me to pen it into a memoir: ‘A Gift from Above: Harini and Haresh’s Journey in Adoption‘. It is such a heartfelt sensitive story, so deeply emotional and feel-good that I simply had to write it. An instinct took over and said ‘Write!’ And I listened. It was the same feeling for when I wrote ‘Dada Vaswani: A Life in Spirituality‘. It was a gut feeling that I had to write this. No matter how overwhelming or challenging, my inner compass steered me to write the book. When I look back, I realised that it was a deeply transforming process. I had changed, I had epiphanies of my self that needed to be addressed. I was sorting a number of inner conflicts.

To write those two nonfiction books, I put one of my novels aside: Blue Jade, a thriller, a story about the black market art trade, a story that intertwines Mirabai’s journey. I feel every book has it’s destiny and Blue Jade, my tenth book, had to wait five years before it saw the light of day. It was worth the wait.

Welcome, Blue Jade! May the readers love you as much as I loved writing you.

Been a while since I’ve posted anything.

I had two novels in the back burner when I was busy writing Dada Vaswani: A life in Spirituality.  Two manuscripts to dust and polish : Trikon and The Blue Jade. I started on them last year, finished, and are in the process of being published. At the same time, I began a very interesting non-fiction book on adoption. I have completed it, and the book will be releasing soon. But, I want to share something else first…something I discovered about my self, about the way I use writing to distract from facing something else…

Our lives are web-centric. There’s so much awareness. Our health and body have fitbits and apps to check on our status at any given moment. I’ve never seen so much attention put on how many steps one takes, 10,000 being the optimum per day, so that one can eat a portion of fats and sugar, guilt-free. The key is guilt-free. We spend so much time assessing what feels good, what makes us comfortable, and how we can be happy.

It’s an ever growing space, this need for little perks of the feel-good state.  This is the psychology of our conditioning. We cannot get candy unless we do well in our studies/work/exams/body shape. But what about burnout or disappointments and obstacles. Nothing in life is smooth and easy, everyone faces some issue or negativity within their journey towards their goals.  In that goal-oriented journey, we become slaves to these perks. Apps are available for any number of dopamine fixes to keep us high through the winding paths of life. But all that is external.

So back to the writing as a distraction. I was avoiding some unresolved stuff.

An internal audit is what I needed. There are many undusted, cluttered, cobwebbed parts of my mind which needed attention. Past moments that I wish I could completely erase. For many years, these memories have been left unchecked. It was time to address them – face them with courage – acknowledge their existence, no matter how painful. I faced many of them, memory by memory. It was cathartic but necessary, I let go of some, hugged my younger self, asked for forgiveness, forgave, accepted with gratitude. In that process, I had greater clarity of my personality type. I realised that I need my space to think and reflect regularly, to audit and let go of many conditioned beliefs. In this phase of my life, I am rediscovering the joy of being an artist. I am consciously writing, without the angst of a restless mind.

In her book ‘How to be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, or Your Creative CompassJoAnneh NAgler says:

We must as artists, nourish the creative space around us. …We are sensitive creatures and we feel everything on an intense wavelength. Suffering, it turns out, is not good for us. It’s like running too much electricity through already-delicate circuits….So we have to put the supports under our soul and body that allows us to move with some peace in the world. We must do it as an artistic strength and wisdom.’

I am an artist – I discovered this after writing for 20 plus years. I have taken it as something everyone can do. But, no, it is not easy being one. Any creative activity takes energy, time, effort, and self-deprecating moments. It takes years of practice, it is an intense process. I shall respect this gift of writing, use it diligently, wisely, and accept the accolades with gratitude.

If I had a fitbit for the mind, I would use it a lot more diligently than the one that I have that counts my steps.

Any kind of change is change for the good, because it turns our preconditioned beliefs on its head. I have discovered that we may think we know everything, or understand people, or are aware of all the good and bad in the world.

But in reality we know nothing.

What I mean is that things change so fast, that in a blink, what we thought was right, is actually wrong. And all of it is happening on a global scale, there’s been so much change that sometimes, when I look at myself in the mirror, I see a stranger.

Change is inevitable, but when we get stuck, it get’s traumatic to move on.

So much buzz about so many topics. The major issues of protecting the planet, from ocean to land life, and plastic mania, where it is predicted that because of plastic by 2050 sea life will seize to exist. Not to mention, oil spills, and chemical dumping.  There’s so much under the spotlight :  environmental protection, social acceptance, partiality to LGBT people, the rampant drug trade, the crazy Sino-US trade relations, the bold hackers of government sites, social media storms about what people wear and do, and what their pets wear and do, there’s also the fake news, and of course if you want to believe, then there’s the alternative reality, parallel universe, and that the pyramids are the creations of advanced civilization or aliens.

But forget that, here on earth, people are so complex and powerful that they have the ability to sway public opinion, creating millions of followers just on one insta hashtag post. I have realised that as much as I thought I understood society or trusted what most people said, I realise I was wrong, I still have a lot to learn.

In order to adapt to the pace of this fast changing world, I have decided to follow a few guidelines to protect my sense of balance:

  1. Detach from expectations. There is so much happening around us that what you think you know is good, is actually not. American President Trump is a disappointment, Modi turned out to be less than what he claimed to be, Rahul Gandhi seems to be making a comeback, Brexit is on-off or not sure, all of these situations result in ‘Oh no!’ and ‘Damn it!’ So, best course of action, carry no expectations
  2. Be prepared to communicate with machines. Relationships with mobile devices carry more value than relationships with humans. If you want to interact with humans, get a mobile device. The future in hi-tech communication is changing so rapidly that I wouldn’t be surprised that by the end of next year, I will have a chip embedded in my wrist and I will be able to communicate, type and access my emails through this device.
  3. The art of being unique. As much as people want to conform, I also believe they want to stand out, they want to have an identity that is unique. We see that in fashion, in films, in books, and every other creative field. This is what I feel is my domain. This is where being different, being a misfit, fits right in with the modern world. I will not change that part of me, or am I defying point no. 1?
  4. Freedom to choose. I constantly try to conform, but then I prefer to have the freedom to be different, without being judged. It is so important to be accepted for whatever we choose to be or do. Whether we want to be happy or not, vegan or not, believe in a God or not, it is a personal choice. Live and let live. Do what you want, I will not judge you.
  5. Nobody is perfect. And nobody needs to be perfect, because perfection is unique to each individual, what maybe perfect for you may not be for me. Acceptance is a choice. The world is getting smaller, we have to make space for every unique kind of soul that lives on this planet – without judgement.

Here’s me, staying ahead of the game. Happy 2019!

Me

When faced with a situation, person, or decision we react or behave in a preconditioned way, there’s the self-talk and the trigger response based on our personality type and self-image.

I have discovered that, we have to pay attention to our bodies -and their language. At times, I feel a constricting feeling right in the middle of my chest, under my ribcage it’s a feeling that comes from fear. This is a bodily sensation. Previously I only paid attention to the verbal language of the mind, but ignored the language of emotional experience.

For many years, I have let fear be my first reaction to face situations in life. In many ways, I’ve put my personal viewpoint aside, and chose to be a follower, I have trusted judgments of others when I should trust my gut. It happens when we doubt ourselves. Having said that, I have discovered that the body’s reaction is unique to each individual’s thought processes. There is a purpose for everyone and the life experiences differ from each individual and therefore the triggers of physiological responses will be different too.

While one person may feel totally exhilarated on a roller-coaster ride, another might freeze at the thought of it.

Which brings us to the point that we must train ourselves to listen to the deeper inner worlds.

I’ve learnt that an instant dissolver of a negative physical response, is deep breathing, sitting quietly and listening to the body’s language, and giving one self some positive self-talk. Understanding a reason behind the body’s response to a situation is necessary for self-growth and overcoming preconditioned responses.

Sometimes, because of childhood experiences, we become conditioned to respond in certain ways. Overcoming those preconditioned responses is necessary to find clarity. Emotional responses are automatic. But, our understanding of the underlying cause or trigger response will help us transform to adjust to any situation.

Human nature is a mystery as we are always interconnecting with the inner and outer worlds, it is made more complicated by social norms and cultural traditions. We are unique creatures learning to adapt to a world that is changing at breakneck speed.

Small steps.