General, Mindfulness l

SELF BELIEF

Very strong yet very meaningful words one hears in most motivational talks/reads/speeches. It is this very positive trait of believing in the self and its potential that keeps all of us going. Or rather, the believers of this lead a more satisfied life!

With so much going around and so many people influencing one another, some directly, some in an askance manner, some forcefully, it all boils down to the one who has complete conviction and self belief who sails through all of these many external factors. He or she takes up the entire onus of their actions and words. Some good or bad may happen along the way but as long as the strong conviction of self stays, it’ll all pan out to be good in the end. It’s difficult to sort of sieve oneself from all the worldly advices and outward influences, but the one with a strong understanding of the self sails through smoothly. This comes from a lot of self introspection and personal assessment periodically.

In raising kids, enough and more feed, advice and talks ,solicited or otherwise, comes your way. It is entirely up to us to either take it or leave it. If left, regrets should not follow the course. The idea behind leaving is a complete control of your mind and your thoughts and your beliefs and your convictions! If you feel what you do is right, stick to that belief no matter how someone else reacts to it. Kids might/ might not do well or perform up to expectations in some areas but then one should sit calmly and assess the reasons, understand the circumstances and instil a sense of positivity to the kids and transmit positive vibes. In this, succumbing and feeling helpless and sad is very quickly sensed by all around and then the complete situation goes for a toss. What can steer it back to the reality is a sit back and stock taking of the situation at hand and reminding oneself about ones belief as to why one started this class or that activity with the kids in the first place. It is all a learning for us in our journey but looking at it from our insides and our gut and our intuition is what will take it forward.

It’s the self belief and the conviction that makes leaders. They could err several times but then they own up to their responsibilities and that’s what differentiates them from the others. Agreed that one may have to alter their plans as per the circumstances but at the heart of it all, the belief that yes, I can do it should be the drive. On the personal scale too it’s possible to at least strive to be a better version of the self. It’s all inside us to change or accept life as it is. But at the core of it, the strong sense of self belief is what is required. The will to improve will charter its course if one believes in it. Some temperamental changes can also be achieved as everything and anything is within us and our inner being. At times, one gets a feed or a dose from a friend about oneself. If there is a desire after careful self assessment about the need to change or modify or to soften this trait, one can easily do so. In this, an open mind is what works. This again stems from understanding and believing in the self and its immense potential to bring about this change which in turn could only be for the betterment of self.

So it’s nice if we all peek into our own self and seek from within us as the outside is all but a facade! Believe in self and your actions and life and living will be a lot easier.

General, Mindfulness l

C A L M N E S S

So much in ones head, so many scattered thoughts, so hard to feel calm! This is all but the life of many moms in the current times with school going kids. If both parents are working, the pressure is even more on the mom in question to juggle the time between work at home and work outside of the home! Then with our own parents ageing, life at times seems to be in a tizzy! So much talks and readings all around talking about the merits of those meditations etc etc. Still the mind does not go into mode CALM. A few pointers which I keep reminding myself time and again.

Prioritise – No matter how great I feel about being a super mom who can juggle enough and more, it’s prudent to prioritise the many things to do. On a given day, everything and more is done to perfection ( ah yes! another not to seek quality when one has kids around as the strive to get to that perfectly orderly stage is quite a tedious one so it’s better left at the maximum effort basis level), yet another day one feels like a waste! So the only way to get past is to do the relevant stuff for that day and feel happy and calm about it.

Small targets -Over ambitious tasks be it clean up drives, doing chores endlessly need to be broken down into small units and self patting on the back ought to be done for achieving those small targets.

Oodles of patience with people, kids and surroundings -This one ought to be there for that sense of calmness to prevail. It comes naturally to some very envious ones in my list but for the many, situations outside ones scope like weather, traffic , inadequacy of resources almost saps the minds capacity to stay calm. Well, since we really don’t have much control over these, nothing much can be done but here I am seriously trying to find a popping pill which gives me calmness instantly in these situations!This brilliant quality called patience sure instills calmness.

Mind not on constant overdrive -If everything is done for a change, and one is actually sitting idle sipping their coffee or tea or doing a crossword, the mind should actually actually feel calm and nice in doing this. At such times, feelings of oh my god, am I really sitting sitting, I should be doing this and that should not hit the mind. A constantly charged mind need not be there and if free time to watch tele or read a book comes along, savouring the time guilt free might set the tone of calmness.Restlessness is all there at times but a constant reminder to self to see the calmness amidst the clatter should be there.

Yes the one big one which seems to work wonders is to take deep breaths, count till 10, inhale the fresh air( as and when available!) and never stop admiring nature and the greens. It’s one big mind leveller and a sure shot winner!

Mindfulness l, Parenting

Gratitude

So humble a word this is.. of late, talks about this being incorporated as a subject in schools/ colleges is doing the rounds and rightfully so. With consumerism on the rise , it’s becoming imperative to teach the generation of tomorrow the value of it today. Not an easy thing to teach kids I would say though! The blurred vision they see this with is heart wrenching at times, but the effort on our part to show them the clear and obvious should always be on. May take time and a regularity of dose but that is how learning has been where values are concerned so why treat this any differently or rather, not pay too much heed to it?

With me starting on their name labelled jars with chits to be filled for things they are thankful for on an everyday basis yielded good bits of laugh at the end of last year ( let’s be honest, just like anything else, this didn’t fill up completely!)  but yes, it did pave the way towards sensitising them on the many taken for granted ideas. It’s easy to sense a feeling of being grateful when one encounters the unpleasantness of life one is not directly involved with and this is very quickly ratified by saying a silent little prayer or rattling out a small mental thank you ! This gratitude need not be felt only upon seeing and overcoming the negative experiences but needs to be taken further when one has possibly everything. Children of today , being born in privileged households don’t feel grateful about anything in particular. Everything is their birthright and so being grateful doesn’t come to them naturally. Now it’s also unfair to show them unpleasantness to inculcate a sense of gratitude! Schools are talking about making them write down daily things which made them happy, experiences which were enjoyed, emotions that were stirred all in the name of sensitising them to their surroundings and being grateful to the bounties they are enjoying. Let’s hope they get this wonderful value through these positive initiatives!

Recently on a holiday, my kids were super excited to drop coins when they saw people on the streets either singing or playing an instrument or the likes of the gold / silver man standing for hours on end on one leg. I could actually sense that they felt nice about helping these folks and maybe somewhere they felt grateful about leading a rather privileged life! Here, I got a chance to give them a dose of gratitude! Everyday simple things like a square meal, a friend coming over unexpectedly, great weather for the day, wonderful health, to be able to do everything one desires etc etc, the list can be endless are the stuff one needs to be grateful for and if these are listed down, better still for the feeling of gratitude to seep in ! Looking back at our penned down thoughts and reading them timely can only heighten this feeling . Each one has to do their part and the sum total would only make for more balanced and sensitive human beings. Kids growing up feeling this from a younger age would certainly be more compassionate in their adult life and is this not what everyone is striving for?

As for me , my list of feeling grateful is largely to be able to lead a balanced life , to feel fulfilled with the daily chores, to be blessed with good health, to be surrounded by a set of wonderful people from family to friends , to be able to take breaks and vacations…the list is endless but everyone and everything adds up to a worthwhile living experience!

Children, Mindfulness l, Parenting

FOMO’S, JOMO’S and more

Feeding the innocent mind with all and more is the strife of most caring and involved parents. So much to impart, it feels almost insurmountable at times. Still measured doses is what does the wonders. So often, as young parents, the fear is always there that oh my god! am I missing out/ have missed the bus/boat where several activities are concerned! Is it too late, already? The fears are all encompassing more so when the friendly other friend who is your parent peer seems to have done seemingly all the good things. The good part is that when kids get slightly older to have a say and mind in most matters, the fears seem to be gradually tapering off and with that comes a sense of relief when the decision making control buttons are consciously off from the loving parent! It’s only at a later date both the parent and the child begin to see that the FOMO’s have actually turned out to be JOMO’s in some cases !The unnecessary fretting at that earlier point in time seems so very senseless but all this is in hindsight.

There are also the folks I know who justify the non encouragement ( not to be mistaken for discouragement) to their kids in most simple activities veneering towards they being not such important ones. Agreed, these are essays to be written, some insignificant competitions to attend to, some random writing assignments like poems, letters etc. etc. but where the child is concerned, these ARE his very important matters! Purely the convenience of the folks in question comes in the way. Any voluntary activity is sidelined with the yarn of ” I have turned out rather good in my life without these so what is the big deal about them”! Here, it’s the child who misses out on certain learnings not from the point of view of achieving something or getting somewhere at a later date in life but simply the joy of trying out something new. The simple joys and the highs in a child’s life are those instant gratifications from teachers/ peers and to NOT let them experience these is something  really NOT nice. It could be insignificant for the parent in the scheme of things yet to know that you are a part of the sports/dance/debate team is a big high for the kids when well, THEY ARE KIDS! As much exposure that can be given will only result in a more confident and tomorrow ready young adult.

At times, it’s the uncomfortable throws of activities to them earlier on which they are thankful to you later on in their lives. We were all taken to those boring concerts, big people’s parties, no friend for company places etc. etc. but somewhere this sure has enhanced our tolerance level for people and places . Stepping aside, we can also see the merits and JOMOs of certain mundane stuff which felt important at that point in time but somewhere the limited parent wisdom came to the rescue of unnecessarily ferrying kids up and down from one thing to the other.

On that note, as a grown up, let’s also keep our FOMO’s behind us and march forward with renewed vigour and make small investments in ourself with a lot of self belief  that what’s going on is all for our greater good!

General, Mindfulness l, Parenting

Sequencing and logic

The many patterns which the little ones are asked to observe and then recreate at a relatively young age has a great bearing as they get older . Very clearly telltale signs are visible and as they grow older, these only build up more and more .We used to love following a sequence of hearts, spades, clubs, then again heart , spades,…and while this was used as a fun play way method sort of exercise, our logical sense was expanding. This almost became a sort of an important building block as we grew. The ones who showed sharpness in this gradually took a liking to this sequencing logic in their lives and the results are but evident in those adults.

Amongst us who have adopted this in their lifestyle and general thought process are a distinct breed well spotted from a distance. Their every action and reaction thereof reeks of this trait and all this is in a positive manner.Talk about any area of their lives and these people are literally a step ahead. The mind forms a pattern of one thing leading to the other and the rest follows in order. Simple everyday tasks like making tea, putting things away, leaving the house etc. etc. is all done so very logically. Here basic intellect and the right usage of it play an important role in channelising this trait to their advantage. It’s an absolute delight if we were to deal with this lot more often! Even in chaos they set a pattern for logic. Take this further to a work space and your co worker who follows this will be one cherry picked for assignments which require significant doses of this trait.Their anticipation to the next course of action is quite explicit. Even the creative souls who sometimes seem to be in defiance of this trait can actually apply this for their own good.

Meet someone in the sports arena and the way their logical brain conducts itself is worth a medal! Their every move is almost measured it feels. This does come from a good bit of training etc. but at the heart of it is the sequencing pattern which would have been absorbed rather well when they were kids. Just observing people in their kitchens, work places, garages, malls , airports, parks, child management, public places etc etc. is almost a dead giveaway to their minds! Basically their conduct, reactions to situations etc. all breathes logic and more!

So if in the process of raising young adults, trying to incorporate this wonderful trait may not be a bad investment. Educationalists and parents do spend time in this but regular monitoring and challenges make this trait go northwards! Of course , each ones own wiring and tuning is different and in some it comes naturally but very worthwhile if in daily living this can be instilled in them. For the start, it benefits if this is a caregivers trait  for it to get transmitted down the line smoothly but I strongly feel, a little bit of conscious effort can get us there. At a later date and age, when wisdom breathes more, the benefits breathe even more !

General, Mindfulness l, Parenting

Competition

This word is so commonly heard in almost every stage of our lives,  right when we were kids to progressing to being a student to going on till work life and thereafter manifesting itself in different ways as years add up. The telltale signs are visible each time, sometimes clearly and sometimes in an oblique and obscure manner.  Many interpretations/ misinterpretations are associated with this word and it’s usage is in both, appreciation as well as sounding scornful at different times and in different measures .It’s also how it is projected by one and perceived by the other! Can be healthy as well as cancerous; the way the pendulum swings is rather judgemental, though shouldn’t be ! But it is at many a times!

Competition in reference to kids when they are small is mostly amongst their folks which is gradually layered on to them unconsciously or even intentionally .As they start developing their own minds, I have seen this sense of competition stemming from within. Thats rather healthy, and I like it that way as it’s outdoing and bettering one self ONLY . Here, the only piece of advice given is to deliver your best and up the ante in your and only your eyes. Sometimes, a close associate or even a friend views this in a strong worded  tone reeking of accusation but then it’s only us we have a control on and not the people surrounding us! In not using this word directly but communicating in a subtle manner is what brings out the best in kids. This has to be very carefully handled lest it becomes an issue later on in their lives .Young adults decide for themselves how competitive they wish to be but the seeds have to be sown at an early age, gently and softly, both, in words and in actions.

Adult work life has its own share and take on this and this is different for each soul. What feels like, “he is utterly competitive” for one rings a tune of ” it’s nice to be like that ” for another. It’s only the perceptions that vary and they are rather personal to either of them. Nothing really right or wrong, just how one looks at growing up and growth is what it is all about! It’s also passion to a large extent which makes people competitive in their own eyes as well as the eyes of others. One actually is driven by a passion to either excel/ grow/ outpace or maximise ones potential. It is all good as long as it’s not coming in anyone’s way or disturbing the rhythm of living and life.

Competition with self and known only to self is wonderful and in my mind should be a driver in most areas of our lives from the mundane to the ordinary. Raising  the bar in our own eyes to levels which improve our own self worth and thereby makes us more charged to take on yet another day of our living, not mere existence , is what it is all about!

General, Mindfulness l

We the people- PART 2

Continuing from where I left, there are so many species amongst us humanity who make for interesting observations . Today I delve into a few more..

I have met and seen so many of if- then -else lot that my first memories of basic computer programming comes into fore! This interesting lot have very conveniently slotted their lives into this mode. Any experience that life has to offer is diagnosed to the last tee in this mode. If this happens, then this will happen, else this will be the outcome! So much thought goes into programming your mind in matters that have not seen the light of the day. Here caution somewhere has disproportionately taken over on the smallest joy of living. It’s true that all rational reasoning has to be apportioned for but this lot takes all thinking to an altogether different level. The net result is missing out on small joys. These folks also take over cautious approach to food intakes, minor health glitches and the likes. The more one looks around, one head is always there which subscribes to this philosophy of life. Nothing really wrong as long as the rationale is rationalised and convinced in their minds and most often they manage to convince themselves rather well and go on with their living being oblivious to the unnecessary loads their minds hold.

The self tagging lot is another brood of our vast human species. You meet one and very quickly the ice breaker is towards the time of the day they are the brightest! I am a morning/night person, I am a coffee/tea person, etc. etc. Of course, personal preferences do play a great role for a meaningful existence but this self tagging sounds rather limiting. It kind of gets in the way of sudden unexpected days/ events/ situations for them. Again, it’s all slotting in their minds only and it seriously need not be given the weightage it does! Habits can be changed to suit and better ones lifestyle and the slotting , if any, only mars their evolvement. Funny, but true how weather, coffee and tea takes up so much of ones time and thoughts, even becoming the main conversation pieces for some , much to the chagrin of many!

The critics/doubters are so prevalent and if they weren’t like this at some point in their lives, the general feeling of displeasure make them one! Here, the situation is viewed only from a narrow lens of mostly self convenient options and convincing the mind thereof, the rest falls under criticism of the utmost nature. I have very close set of people who fall in this criticism trap. Their minds only somehow sees what it wishes to see but the larger picture is rather obscured. Their “buts ” become so much that talking to them feels like a pain in the backside literally !! Their self doubting minds  plays havoc with them and this is seen very  clearly to an outsider. Try and explain the ills of it and you might end up getting the brunt of age, so called more and wider experience and seen life more closely kind of feedback. It’s a given that learning is ongoing, be it from the generation before us, ahead of us and of course our current lot. The mind just has to be calmer and the criticisms evaluated well before they are placed forward for all to see. Else, this lot become silent victims of their own thought process.

There are many more categories of people I can think of and I might just be tempted to write  part 3! After all, it’s us humanity which makes our world interesting!