Beingmommy, Children, Mindfulness l

Experiential learning

Now that my kids have reached the pre teen/ teen stage, the ride hereon is on rather potholed roads with many bumps but yes, the trip is on! It’s so much easier to pen a book or advice or rethink or reevaluate etc. when the learning is all mostly done on our part! It all wouldn’t have been possible had we not faced the many roadblocks in our way. So much simpler to suggest to the younger ones, yes suggest and not command or order, on the do’s and don’t of the impressionable teens. I have paused here and let the experience do the talking where they are concerned. Yes, no better way to learn than going through the loop, trial and error and hit and miss targets! It’s actually fun to see the kids raging and charging or recoiling, all of different temperaments, different temperatures and fluctuating moods and let them go with the flow and alongside be with them by the sidelines and watch the show! No fun in policing ever so often. We all know that somewhere it would all pan out ok. It’s this belief that should be reinforced , not the power of motherly negation. So much fun would be lost if I don’t see them sneaking on devices, checking out people, stomping and stroking and the likes!

Most , rather ALL of us have the hindsight theory to set things right, but this has come only much later. Nothing can come close to real life experiences. My two are trying out different stuff and more or less some mind map is on in their heads. Without an inclination to relevant subjects, their talks speak of a tomorrow where they see themselves as specialists in the ignored subjects of today! Am playing along with them lest I become the no-go – to mom which I shudder. So without the slightest admiration for the gorgeous structures and buildings amidst all our travels so far, am absolutely with them seeing them as the perfect eye for detail architects amidst kicking the football..who knows , their mind could be seeing a trajectory that I am blind to today or tomorrow when they themselves see the fallacy of their thoughts and become an accountancy specialist , we all could be sitting and having a nice recall over drinks! Cheers to that!

It feels nice when the kids want to know my experience when I was growing up. My experiences are my memories today and when they stir up those memories, the whole panorama of days gone by begins to unfurl, some surreal, some vague but most rather clear. Nice to know some patterns working in their minds when they kind of address my weaknesses in certain subjects when I was their age and how I dealt with them. Maybe my not so crafted but honest answers is building certain expectations in their minds and as long as they work on their weaknesses and build on their strengths, all my work should be done largely. Were you good in this subject or that ? and were you an all rounder ? or a nerd ? or even a failure in certain things ? is all getting stored in their rather impressionable minds. Together with their experiences in sneaking through back doors, casually glancing over uncharted territories, making those many dime a dozen has – been excuses, going through those crushes etc. etc. ( am sure I will have enough to share as they grow up) will be their hindsight theory tomorrow.

So much to look forward to!!

Beingmommy, Children, Parenting

The magic pill

Festivals bring with them splurging and indulging and if they didn’t, they won’t be what they are! Then again their departure is painful as me and my kids get used to that sweet bite ever so often in a day. This time around, I experienced chunky bars/ cubes/ bite sized treats by way of bars filled with the goodness of nuts, figs and dates. Now, this is what will stay with me and become a staple in their diet! Difficult at times to push in the many dry fruits but if they are conveniently rolled into a sort of wrapper opening candy, chances of they being consumed is far more!

My thoughts are taking me forward in this trip. If an all energy and goodness generating bite can be pushed in at he start of the day, I can very well push a little capsule in their diet! I am thinking of the good old cod liver oil which we all have intaken at some point or the other or have at least tried to. It has stayed with some of us and others have made it optional in their diet plans.The cognitive power of that little pill stays the same even today and who is not looking at enhancing their child’s brain! What that little pill is capable of doing is absolutely wondrous ! The cranial boost the Omega 3 in it provides far outweighs many other food groups. If given to the kids from the very start, this can pave the way for a genius mind!Of course, there are many other physical ways to grow your brain, like my kids play the piano and that is an absolutely amazing tool for left brain- right brain coordination and development thereof. Am thinking it’s not a bad idea to start them on the pill( pun intended) and see their addiction growing once the benefits are noticeable. It would be a wait for the parents to start seeing the tell tale signs of memory and brain development but trust me, no other brand has stood the test of time better than the magic of the cod liver oil. So go on, go ahead and start this addiction. Am headed straight to the chemist/ general store/ Amazon pantry to stock up on these wondrous pills!

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On that note, happy raising brainy, intelligent, fun loving and well developed individuals.( think about how an oil massage was delicately given to our babies when they were born with the old lady’s tales of them becoming physically strong..why then, leave out the menatally strong angle!) So, get going and am sure, the mothers out there will thank the manufacturers ( SEVEN SEAS) for making this!

P.S. Maybe a good idea if , other than the kids, moms and dads too start on this..

General, Mindfulness l

Honestly, HONESTY it is!

Best policy awards for years together and more to come! This wonderful trait is what really sets a person apart. A mere glimpse is enough to judge one on this quality. Of course, hugely substantiated by patterns of behaviour across a broad spectrum. And this pattern stays for most parts of a beings existence and living.

So much of this is inculcated by us to our young ones at a very young age. Very very clearly seen in the little ones who do justice to this. Huge importance ought to be given to value this trait as being one of the greatest reward for a decent tomorrow. The honest intention is but honestly seen in an eye to eye encounter with the lot. Kids who are really honest take this, at times, to an altogether different plane and even sometimes white lies with them becomes difficult to pull off!

There’s no better friend who doesn’t beat around the bush but says it clearly and honestly about you. When a casual meeting or a coffee outing is cancelled with an honesty factor thrown in, the bonds only grow stronger. There could be nice people who one is surrounded with but the ones who stay true to you are the ones whose eyes reflect an honest yes or no in situations. This is very clearly seen!

Honest feedback from well meaning folk is needed time and again for a reality check. Very recently, I almost sensed a sense of resentment towards me when I spoke honesty about what I felt when children are being coached/ trained by a professional and when the well meaning parent is in the sidelines throws their inputs unabashedly and very non- chalantly. My honest take on this was to back off from the core and be a bystander and to see how young ones blossom and learn on their own. It did meet glaring eyes at me but then , be it, my honestly really can’t be judged and if it is, I will be there to see the outcome on the kids at a later date. Yet again, I am almost losing my equation with an aquaintance turned friend in yet another situation where an outright honest answer to a rather personal query evoked another not called for situation! Am honestly ok at both the instances as it didn’t come as a contrived and thought of response; much rather it was my ingrained sense of being true that spelled out!

If you feel lousy, be honest about it, if the chips are down, honesty will bring them up again, if you don’t want to go out for dinner, speak the truth without mincing words, if kids have erred, no point in basking in false pride, if you don’t feel up to something, speak honestly, if the pudding is miserable say it! If all else fails, honesty will surely go out a long way and for the longest time! Come winter, even the tress shed their leaves honestly to pave way for new beginnings! So, stay true, stay honest and all else is really not worth it!

General, Mindfulness l

Open up, open out

Of course I know it all, and why not..am in the autumn of my life with all spring time galloping tapering off and a calm sense of self awareness becoming the essence of my existence..still, it’s an open mind and openness to situations and surroundings that will sustain me in the times to come. No harm in taking a lead or two, directly or indirectly from people known or also some who fall in the periphery of mere acquaintances. Sometimes, it’s this openness which springs up the surprises and the many odd laughs which all make for a brighter living.

Recently having learnt a thing or two from time spent in the company of close pals actually opened my mind to see possibilities which my mind had completely shut off and I was comfortable with the way things were until newness and a willingness to experiment brought about renewed laughter. Why, I was a rather open soul in my so called spring days so why the self convincing shut off in my current state! In allowing myself to be an experimental rat out of pure choice actually saw a rather different and pleasant outward look! The make- up brush and artist more than brushed my attitude towards things “(Deep inside I continue to be the same though!)

The individual norm is well, formed , but it’s always subject to change and well, it’s nice that way. Rigidity with respect to habits can be swerved to preferences and changing/ constantly amending brings about pleasant surprises. Openness makes your worldview very different that at times, you almost amaze yourself! If we actually don’t just look only into our favourites for food, clothing, music, art and the likes, there is this whole world waiting to be explored . It may be absolutely ok to NOT have favourites, that way , the rather malleable mind can see immense newness and sometimes an element of fun and new self understanding.

Opening my mind to new genres of music, something which I felt was never my thing has taught me to be thankful and appreciative to the many who have made me think otherwise. It’s ok to not know things but should a chance come to you to try, it’s also interesting to try ,nonetheless. The same is different points of view on general daily activities. Something, sometime , someone sounds and resonates with you and being open kind of makes you see it in the new light and you go for it..adjustments in life are better addressed if the mind is open.

Deep down , I feel, we all  are actually very open but somewhere we assign titles and names to ourselves which shuts our own minds. Readjusting and realigning the mind can go a long way and it’s all up to the individual to do so and it’s all very doable too! I am fortunate to be spending a good part of my day with people who have kind of reinforced this belief and who time and again bring this thought up. So listening to ourselves and absorbing constant feedback is a nice way of seeing oneself in newer lights and multi dimensional personalities. My way is the only way makes way for other ways which are both, pleasant and surprising! So I have at least learnt to open up, open out and stop walling off!

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!