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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

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Reflect and Audit

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.

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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.

 

 

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