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It started late one afternoon 6 months ago. 

*Ping* went the phone inside Alicia’s wallet. 

After three long weeks, and two less-than-stellar dates with the attorney from the bookstore down the street… she finally matched with the perfect partner on her favorite dating website. 

A few messages were exchanged, and they decided to meet up at the chic new Italian bistro downtown. 

As the conversation, drinks, and desserts kept flowing, they chatted about where they were from, their favorite hobbies, and recent travel adventures.

Not wanting the night to end, plans were made to meet up again the next day. 

As one date turned to two…

Then two into three…

And three into dozens more…

Things began getting more serious between Alicia and her new mate. 

“This is it!” she said, “I’ve finally found the one.”

Things were good until they weren’t.

One day out of the blue, about 3 months later, Alicia’s new man had a change of heart. 

“I have way too much going on and I can’t do this anymore. It’s over.”

Heartbroken, Alicia sat back and asked herself. 

How did this happen?

What did I do wrong?

How did I even end up here?

Relationships can be simultaneously wonderful and extremely complex to navigate at times. 

That’s just a fact of life. 

They also require a lot of work and self-reflection. 

They involve discovering who you are, knowing what you want and what to look for in a partner, and recognizing how past experiences have shaped you today. 

What if there was a way you could seamlessly incorporate and apply those elements into your life so you could finally begin to cultivate healthy relationships and thrive?

Relationships where you:

  • Are both heard 
  • Are in control of your emotions 
  • Are able to communicate effectively 

And most importantly feel loved… 

Friends, in just 1 week I’m giving you an exclusive opportunity to discover the secret to building a thriving, invigorating relationship with your partner — and I want you to be a part of it. 

This is your open invitation to join me and 21 other experts for The Missing Link to Healthy Relationships Summit: Heal the past and find love that lasts.

During this summit, you’ll gain powerful insights, practical tools, and easy to implement techniques that will help you confidently build a strong bond with your partner that will last for years to come. 

Our 21 experts will guide you through topics like:

  • How people just like you have created lives of self-love, joy, and happy partnership.
  • Uncovering why self-love is truly everything… 
  • How to make your achievement-orientation work for you (instead of blocking you with pressure & perfectionism!).
  • Why you need to stop dating… and be ready to fall in love – and how to do that!
  • How to fall in love before first sight – to connect with your future partner!
  • Why getting crystal-clear on your priority passions is an essential, game-changing step.
  • Powerful practices for instant emotional shifts – get out of “not good enough” and into the energy of all your desire.
  • How to understand the “masculine/feminine” thing at last… and how to use it regardless of gender or orientation.
  • The difference between healthy boundaries vs. lonely barriers.
  • Tips to rekindle your stamina for dating, if dating has become a drag – and get exciting results fast!
  • How to create an emotional connection on dates.
  • How to express your needs and desires in ways that make partners want to fulfill them!
  • Answers to the age-old question, “What do men want?” (You’ll love these answers!).
  • How to recognize emotional maturity in a prospective partner.
  • Feminine Qualities that Make a Woman Magnetic to a High Quality Man.
  • The Crucial Secret Ingredient All Relationships Need.

And so much more…

If you are looking to strengthen, develop, or build a strong and healthy relationship with yourself and those around you, you won’t want to miss this event. 

Here’s a sneak peak at just one of the many topics we’ll cover during the summit. 

Just imagine…

Knowing how to confidently develop and maintain a connection with those you care for — romantic and platonic.

Effectively communicating with your partner in a way where your needs are met. 

Making healthy choices for yourself.

Loving who you are and recognizing that you are valuable and have wonderful qualities to bring to the table.  

Doesn’t that sound great?

Once you join us you’ll have the mentors, tools, support, and resources to truly know what’s possible for you in love. 

And what’s more…

You’ll have the practical, science-backed guidance to fully realize that dream in your heart – even as you become utterly fulfilled in love with yourself, exactly as you are now.

 I’m personally inviting you to The Missing Link to Healthy Relationships Summit: Unlock your heart, heal the past and find love that lasts. 

I can’t wait for you to join us! This is an event you won’t want to miss.

Register here!

DATE: October 18, 2021 

Ready to discover your missing link to love? 

I’ll see you on the inside. 

Shobha N

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Have you thought about how you think? Reflected on how you feel? Have you hit upon the ‘whys’ in your life, and figured out the core issue?

I would like you to join me for an interaction on my book – it’s a virtual launch but it’s also a discussion.

When: Friday, 17th September, Virtual discussion: 4-6pm IST: Hosted by SAGE

We are wired from childhood to prove our worth, to be better than the best, to compare and aspire, to believe that we have to be perfect at everything. We enter a virtual battlefield where our self-esteem gets bashed. We are criticised, bullied, manipulated, and hated – not by others, but by our own selves.

Life goes on, and we live in this anguish of feeling undesirable, unsuccessful, and underappreciated. We go on, day after day, in a struggle to fight those feelings of worthlessness.

We seem to have forgotten an important fact: We are flawed human beings, and we are not meant to lead perfect lives, have robotic levels of perfectionism, or fit into a body shape. We are unique, different and each one of us has different sets of skills and talents. We contribute to society in our own distinctive and creative ways.

Reboot Reflect Revive Self-esteem in a Selfie World is not a self-help book, it raises the curtain on how much this world has conditioned us to lose our core worth. How our limiting beliefs has affected the relationship with the self.

Through honest stories, inspiring life experiences, interviews with experts, cutting-edge research, latest studies, this book shares the glaring reality of the pressures of our hypercompetitive society. It depicts the way we crucify ourselves to fit in, it shows what happens when we estimate our worth as nothing. This book raises awareness of the urgent need for self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Now more than ever, we need to reboot, reflect, and revive our self-esteem.

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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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Cross connecting Thoughts

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.

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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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Views of COVID-19- Thailand, Mexico, Spain and Australia

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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

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Rogue Writer

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.

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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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New Beginnings

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

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Why Write on Spirituality

Why would an action thriller writer write a spiritual book

From as far back as I can remember (reading Amar Chitra Kathas as a kid) I wondered about God and his purpose. There was an innate curiosity about religion. My mother was a follower of Guru Nanak. Daily she would reverently read the Granth Sahib which was in the original Gurmukhi script. Besides the Jap Ji Sahib, which I can recite some pauris by heart,  there were other Hindu rituals that I followed. I didn’t question, but deep within, I was confused about what God expected of me and my life. After marriage, the religious ritualistic worship continued. I followed the elders without questioning them, or when I ventured to ask,  I was told  that they had been following the same rituals for generations. It was the path to follow. I did follow for decades, but, I must admit, not with sincerity.

When the opportunity came about to write about the great humanitarian, Dada Vaswani, I was totally enamored. From my limited knowledge about him, I learnt that he did not preach a particular path, but said that we must find our own spiritual path through our own understanding of the self. I loved the concept, and I wanted to learn more. I had to write about this great man of science who gave up everything to become a disciple and a lover of the Divine. And, at the same time I hoped to discover the true meaning of God.

A different genre

It was a challenge to switch from fiction to nonfiction. When I started on the research I said to myself, ‘what was I even thinking ?’ how could I do this, especially since Dada Vaswani is such a revered saint, evolved soul, and me being such a novice in matters of spirituality. How could I, a non-follower be able to write this?

So I spent a few sleepless nights thinking, and thinking. Worrying restlessly.

Then I realised that the best approach to structure the book would be to convert my doubts and make it the very strength of the book, my perspectives would be different, one of an unenlightened person.

There are many who are unaware about Dada Vaswani and his great work. My process of discovering, as I wrote this book, meant that I could be a companion to my reader, as we both learn about his life journey together. So I dove into writing the first draft.

Panic mode

In the midst of writing, suddenly I froze – I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. I was bogged down by the long list of Dada’s achievements, selfless deeds, talks, recognition, awards, and so on. There was so much Dada Vaswani had achieved that I wasn’t sure how to cover all his meaningful moments without ending up like a shopping list of dry facts.

There was a key element missing in my book. So I took time to ponder and reflect.

From my first few drafts, I felt dissatisfied and insincere and unsure…I turned to Dada’s closest devotees for help. With their guidance I realised what was missing: amidst Dada’s many external achievements, I neglected to show his deeper traits, the true persona of Dada Vaswani –  the personality of the man who is innately humble, compassionate and accepting of all pain and suffering (which I have mentioned in the book). He is extremely in tune with the feelings of others, and a deep thinker and a wise soul. And more than that, a disciple to his Guru (His uncle Sadhu Vaswani) and a lover of the Divine.

I am grateful that I did this. During my eighteen month journey in writing and rewriting this book, I renewed my faith. My doubts are somewhat cleared up. In the process, I discovered that a simple prayer, a simple positive thought, a simple attitude of love is all that one needs to do to connect, it’s all a part of being spiritual. In addition, doing anything: work, pray, or love – with sincerity – I repeat sincerity from within – is what matters the most.  It’s a way to connect with a Higher Power. I believe it to be true.

My Reflections 

I realise that being spiritual is not about being a certain type, it’s not a whim or a passing fad. It’s not about fitting in or rebelling. To be spiritual is to accept, to learn, to develop and adapt to circumstances and life situations. Daily living involves multiple thoughts, decisions, and actions. And in daily life, it becomes necessary to constantly monitor those thoughts, lest they evoke negative feelings.

Being spiritual involves multiple aspects of our being which tests our self-discipline, tests our sincerity, our self-honesty. It is a way to get real, to deepen, and reconnect to our true selves. We live a superficial existence, we follow norms, we make decisions that may not always be right for us. We need to find clarity. And clarity can come in silence. Sitting quietly and observing our thoughts is enough to make us realise what’s happening within, and what needs to be changed.

To bring a grounding within, is to realise that what really matters is discovering our own reality. In that process, there’s no wrong or right, no judgement, no faults or criticisms. Being honest with oneself, faults and all, is a place to start.

I have discovered that how you feel inside is what matters more than the image projected. And being grateful is a way to understand, that being perfect is not the primary importance. It is being happy in relationships, in daily routine, and accepting, that’s what makes life meaningful, and yes, in helping others in need. These aspects also lead to a subtle way of understanding oneself.

I cannot live outside of my mind, sometimes I wish I could. But we live within ourselves forever, with all the past experiences, the present moments and future plans. We carry regrets and remorse, pains and pleasures. All of those emotions can weaken, or they can make us wiser. We have to understand this and have the strength to transform, discipline and evolve ourselves. Being spiritual is empowering.

Dada Vaswani: A Life in Spirituality

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