The simple things in life

I spent my entire Sunday outdoors with the boys, drawing love hearts on the pavement, bushwalking, bird watching and playing tag. It was such a simple day, but the perfect recipe of fun in the sun with the kids and turned out to be one of the happiest days I have had for a long time.

We live a 10 minute walk from our local nature reserve, but it took us about 45 minutes to get there as we had to make a lot of stops to help slugs across the pavement, bury the dead earthworms and to help dying bees die respectfully in the grass instead of getting squashed under someone’s feet. Then there were the chatty Kookaburras around every other corner today, singing their happy songs to passers-by.

A lot of wise people have written numerous books on the power of Now, however I feel the best way to learn about how important it is to be present in the Now is to spend a day with little kids. They are so busy enjoying the moment that what’s gone ceases to exist and the fear of tomorrow doesn’t even get any airtime in their life! That probably explains the radiant skin and unending curiosity for everything life in our young!

The simplest things in life often bring us the most joy, and we almost always overlook this joy, as we are too busy fretting bygones or worrying about the future. I was reminded today of how important it is to just slow down, breathe and let go! It is spring, and my green hilly suburb has brought out the best of spring blooms wherever we look!

I am bushed from the bushwalks (pun totally intended!) and running about, but my soul feels replenished, and I am ready for whatever the week may bring.

I get myself flowers every so often because I love me

Self-love has always been shunned by our society, and every thought of loving oneself comes with a nagging thought of “Am I a selfish person?”.

Yet how do we expect others to love us and desire us with boundless passion if we cannot love ourselves without feeling shame? When we love ourselves without prejudice, it also helps us see others in a softer light, and we become more accepting of others with their imperfections. I for one would love to live in a world that was more tolerant and less jaded!

So, I get myself flowers from the garden regularly, and every time I see them in a vase in the kitchen, they make me smile. Knowing I deserve to have flowers makes me feel loved! I must credit my boys for this gift of love though, they always bring me wildflowers, or feathers, sometimes rocks, when we go for walks. And that simple gift of thoughtfulness makes my day!

Happiness is not a sign of selfishness; it is a sign that you love being you. When we love ourselves unconditionally, we open ourselves to being loved for who we are and attract into our lives people we need in our lives. Nothing ground-breaking, it’s quantum physics!

These simple acts of waking up to admire the horizon, being grateful for my beautiful life and getting myself flowers has helped me find that elusive stillness in my mind. It has given me the ability to be present in my thoughts and focus on what is good in my life.

All is impermanence, but I feel that if we move with this impermanence, staying true to ourselves, we find our constant. This constant sees us through all the changes in life. I think my constant is happiness, I find happiness in every little crevice of life and build myself from there.

Flowers on my windowsill is a reminder of how colourful and beautiful this world is even on cold, grey, rainy days. They make me smile, and warm up my soul. If you are like me and like flowers, get yourself a bouquet of flowers girl, you deserve to love You!

Why wait for the next life when I can do it all Now?

As I lay in bed this morning, naked, admiring my body through the lens of my phone camera, it occurred to me that I have spent decades body shaming myself about the little that I did not have, and been completely oblivious to how gorgeous the rest of me is! Self-doubt and shame about the imperfections of my body have made me spend these years in misery, drawing criticism from others of course, because isn’t that the law of attraction? We draw to us what we think! But this morning as I lay in bed, looking at myself in the soft morning light, the first thoughts I felt were of how beautiful I am! I have a wholesome, fit, beautiful body and am lucky to have the energy to continue to invest in it.  

So, my focus this spring is to build on the beautiful me and do things I wanted to be able to do but never did, as I have the most precious commodity at my disposal – time!  

I have decided to spend my time learning to do things I always thought would be a “next life” bucket list! I am doing a 31-day course online to get to a handstand with this amazing Yoga instructor – Carling Harps and have enrolled in classes to build my core. So what, if I am a 41-year-old woman who has had two C-sections? I deserve a strong core and a flat tummy too! I definitely deserve to see what the world looks like upside down!  

I have created a reward chart for myself, it works for the boys, so maybe it will work for me too! I get a star each day for every positive activity – yoga, run, 15,000 steps, no alcohol and staying sugar free! It’s been a week and the data I have collected suggests we may have a problem with alcohol… oops! 

I will do the Handstand and core building yoga daily all spring and see if standing on my hands will give me a different perspective about the world this summer! I will run when I can and walk when I cannot. I will soak up the sunshine, have oodles of tea and enjoy the sounds of the birds tweeting in my backyard.  

I will remember to put a smile on my face whenever a frown creeps up, and remind myself of how positively ravishing I look when I have just woken up and the fears of “what ifs” and “could have beens” haven’t yet starting gnawing at the edges of my soul! 

I will spend more time on building myself up because I deserve to love me!  

Guilt to gratitude

I have always thought that I don’t deserve to be happy. It happens when you grow up with a narcissistic parent who continuously reminds you of how insignificant you are, and then spend a third  of your life with a man who continuously reminds you of how selfish you are because you took longer when you went out for a run than you said you would, or cooked something they don’t like to eat, or wanted to do something they didn’t want to do.  

It becomes an essential part of you to undervalue yourself and feel guilty each time you are happy. That’s right, I have spent more than a decade feeling guilty when I laughed too much, had too much fun, spent my own earnings on myself, because I was trained for decades to believe that I am not worth it. My parent or my ex probably did not mean it, we are all fighting our demons, and they have their own fights.

But I am glad that I had the resilience to walk away from a life that inhibited me. It has been the hardest 2 years of my life, but I found a way to accept that their demons are not mine to fight, and it is okay for me to want to live my best life, it is okay to make mistakes, it is okay to dance in the rain, even if I have two left feet and it is definitely okay to laugh and be happy. 

I now find myself waking up smiling and saying “I love my life, and I am happy! I am loved and desired by those I want in my life”. I laugh freely, listen to music and dance goofily. I run, more than I probably should, but I run because I love how it makes me feel. I smile, all the time, I feel so beautiful, and I feel thankful for feeling like this.  

 It was not a conscious decision, and I feel grateful to the universe for helping me change my guilt over being happy and content to gratitude that I can be a wholesome woman. I can be all of it, or nothing at all! I am happy because I love me!  

What men want, or so they think?

We have been in lockdown 4.2 for a while now, and there shall be no mingling for quite some time. These strange times have seen us all forced into taking the pace of life down a notch. It’s like the Gods all conspired against the human race and decided to put us in time-out for our shenanigans.  

In this new normal where dating someone has become a distant dream, chatting online has really picked up. Must be hard on men who struggle to communicate with words at the best of times! But it works well for someone like me, single after 15 years, with no idea about what men want, beyond the obvious of course!

For simple creatures that men claim to be, are they really that simple? I am no expert on the intricacies of the mind that is male but connecting with someone was so much easier back in my 20’s! Now, it feels like I am traversing through multiple labyrinths simultaneously trying to find my way in a man’s world! Are we allowed to ask men out yet, I mean it is 2020? Is it okay to let them pay for my coffee, or is that too 70’s? 

Some blokes love to talk so much, they share every painful detail about what they are getting up to through the day, whilst there are some like Edward, who will go weeks without any contact and then start a conversation with “Hey, are you watching this new cooking show on channel 7?” No Edward, I am not, I don’t really watch tv, and Hello to you too!  

What I find most amusing is that almost all of them share their deepest fears, insecurities or frustrations with such ease with a total stranger. This one guy shared with me how he doesn’t like to take selfies because to do that he would have to look at himself, and each time he does that, he is reminded of all his stuff ups. Edward who I think is gorgeous can’t stop telling me how scruffy he is compared to how I look (fact, but scruffy Edward is cute)! Another one said most men don’t smile in photos as they are trying hard to look macho! 

All you lovely men out there, stop overthinking, and just be happy! When you are happy, it will come through your photos, your interactions, your smiles, and you will attract to you just the right people, who like you for who you are! I know this might sound like gypsy talk, but it really is physics. 

Be the simple creatures you claim to be, shrug away that weight of having to be the stronger, unfazed gender in the equation, accept your flaws, because your women will adore you for those very flaws! Accept yourselves as you are, and live in the now, experience the emotions you feel! 

And, for goodness sake, communicate! Just say it! What’s the worst that could happen? 

People want to wine’o’clocks with me, and I just want to run!

I am blessed to have so many lovely friends, that I always have someone or the other checking on me to see how I am going through this Iso! Really, I am the luckiest woman ever, seeing as my village is made up of all these lovely, thoughtful, kind people. Thank you all, for always being there for me, and for worrying about me, but I really am okay!  

I just want to run, whenever I can squeeze one in, that is all! Running is akin to a state of nirvana, especially after the first 4kms, when the body just moves on its own, following the momentum.  I can hear my thoughts, as the thoughts work in rhythm with my feet, and I can work through all my worries and concerns so much better, because when I run, I am unaffected by the inertia of potential hurdles and road blocks. I may even go so far as to say that I have done some of my best problem solving while running!  

So, when it is 4pm on a Friday evening after a long week of work, and it’s a choice between joining people for a virtual drink, or going for a run, I will always go run!  

What’s in a name?

Conforming to social norms always makes me claustrophobic and makes me feel like I am a potato sitting in a sack with all the other potatoes! Don’t get me wrong, I love potatoes and I feel very secure in the knowledge that all potatoes offer the same carby satisfaction when I need a potato fix!

But I don’t know how to be that potato, and don’t care much for learning to be one.
Love is unreasonable, and even non-potatoes like me mindlessly succumb to societal conformities when they are in love. When I got married, like every other good Indian woman I adopted my husband’s surname, because if that isn’t a declaration of love then what is?

What’s in a name they say, but my new surname became my identity. I was known by that
name, it gave people a picture of the kind of person someone with a name like that should
be. My husband never cared much for my grand gesture of dropping my identity to start a new life with him; should probably have seen that as a sign amongst many more that presented themselves! 12 years went by and I morphed into the new married me, until cracks started to appear, and everything went pear-shaped.
Since before the actual separation I had been toying with the idea of going back to my
original surname, and slowly changed all my social media accounts to my maiden name. But I just couldn’t bring myself to get my name changed at work, that would be a declaration of the recent change in my life and I just wasn’t ready to do that yet. I just didn’t feel ready for the inquisitive looks and misplaced sympathy.

Then one day, I finally found the courage, and asked HR to change my email, signature and the lot to my maiden name at work. It was a 2-line email, but took a lot of courage to write and send. A lot of shame, embarrassment and guilt was followed by a sense of freedom as I cut another tie from my past life, to build my new identity.
It is just a name, but as time goes by so much gets attributed to that name. I wasn’t assumed to be a wife, or a daughter-in-law or a part of a certain community anymore.

It was time to believe in my Now and start investing in who I was going to be 5 to 10 years from today.

My love affair with sunshine

COVID19 is a terrible virus that has brought the world down on its knees, but in some ways, it has changed our lives for the better. I have so much more free time now than I ever did in my whole adult life because there are so many non-essentials that I just cannot do anymore.

I spent my winter arvos sitting on the balcony, soaking up that gorgeous sun as the wind caressed my face. This enforced solitude has rekindled my love for sunshine! Glorious, golden, warm sunlight from this angry star 152m kms away from us warms my soul up. Such an irony that the tremendous heat from this star in turmoil is the source of love and life on earth!

When I sit outside, close my eyes and let the sunlight kiss my face, I can imagine the joy birds feel when they fly in the open sky, looking down on the busy mundane chaos of life on land. I want to soar into the potential of life, free of all conformities until the end of time. 

In that moment, I feel most beautiful, as the universe accepts me whole, with all my imperfections, and then I wonder if this is a fleeting sense of elusive contentment. Solitude is so undervalued. I think the more we practice isolation, the more accepting of ourselves and other we become. Who knows, COVID19 might just bring about peace and harmony in our world! 

The dishwasher – a symbol of my failed marriage

Every time I stack the dishwasher, I am reminded of the first meeting I had with my (then) husband, when I told him I wanted out. I sat across the table from him in a coffee shop, as I couldn’t bring myself to have that discussion at home. We discussed the impending end of our marriage of 12 years. My voice broke, I was shaking and couldn’t hold back tears, while he talked about the fact that there was nothing left in our marriage to salvage as dispassionately as one would contemplate when to mow the lawn.

It has been a while since we separated, yet it bothers me that through those really difficult discussions, as I broke to pieces, watching my dreams of a simple, contented family life disappear into nothingness, the man I spent a third of my life with did not even feel enough compassion to just hold my hand through it as a fellow human being.  

At the end, we agreed to try and be more tolerant of each other’s shortcomings and continue to be respectful towards each other as we work out the next steps. I asked him to please let me know if there were things I could be mindful of, so we can avoid unpleasantness through the transition to our separation, and he said – “yes, I hate how you stack the dishwasher, you don’t put the spoons in the right slot, can you please be mindful of that?”. 

We had been together for 15 years, and married for most of that time, had travelled continents, made two beautiful little humans together, and our marriage was in tatters. Here I was telling him I want out because there was no love, respect, intimacy or trust left in our relationship, and his biggest problem with me was that I did not stack the dishwasher properly. Is that what all relationships come down to, or were there signs I continuously overlooked over the years, until the significance of our life together dropped down to nuances of how we operate household machinery? 

I was so disgusted with the dishwasher, that I stopped using it completely and washed the dishes manually for a good 2 months. The dishwashing soap tore through my skin and gave me topical eczema, I probably burned my skin in scalding hot water daily, but it took a long time for me to forgive the dishwasher its transgressions. If I couldn’t forgive the inanimate dishwasher, what hope did I have to wash away the bitterness from my own soul and move forward? I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love the dishwasher now, it serves its purpose, but it will forever be a symbol of the failure of my marriage.  

Mindfulness is so underrated!

I have a restless mind and am always doing something. My friends and family call me a photon, implying I do not have stationary mass. Whilst an overstatement, I do feel I need to learn to be one with myself without the need to be actively engaged in something physical all the time.  

I started yoga and mindfulness a couple of months ago on the insistence of a lovely young man, and that has been life changing. I am acquainting myself with the joys of sipping a cup of tea on the balcony with a delightful beautiful view I have never noticed before. I did not know kookaburras came into suburbia and that they sing so well! Australia has long been known as the Land of Parrots, but I had not noticed the beautiful bright little birds that come and sit on the trees in our backyard and sing.

All I needed was to allow myself to sit down with my cup of tea on the balcony for 5 minutes one day to appreciate these wonders of nature in my own backyard. Now it has become an addiction. I sit here every day, sometimes more than once to allow myself the luxury of just being me. I live in a free world, yet I have spent the last 2 decades depriving myself the basics of soul nourishment.

Do you know that if we sit motionless with our eyes closed and let our minds wander into the sounds and movements around us, just the feeling of wind on one’s face and the chirping of birds in the distance is enough to rejuvenate us?  

I sit under the sun every day, and just soak that golden warmth up, lighting up the very crux of me. That warmth can take me through the lonely dark nights. I sleep! I have not slept for more than 5 or 6 hours a night since forever, yet now I find that I can switch off early at night and wake up at dawn, feeling rested after a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep.  

My skin glows, I am smiling more, and my mind feels calm and okay with the ‘now’. I feel like I am in harmony with the wind howling on my windowpane and sound of rain falling on the metal tiles on the neighbour’s roof.  

I am finally okay with silence, and it is empowering. I do not need to constantly fill voids in other people’s lives with my energy. It is okay for me to just be. It is exhilarating to find a fraction of peace in my heart-center, and I hope I can continue my journey into self-reflection, accept who I am and fall in love with myself one day.