Being Selfless – Thursday Tree Love #2

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I was at The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa, Delhi, a few months ago. The first thought that I had when I saw this place, the one shown above,  is a no-brainer. Yes, I was totally floored by the view.

As I sat on one of the cozy and comfy chair and closed my eyes, cool breeze of the early morning brushed by, ruffling my hair. I heard the bird chirps which seemed to be coming from everywhere, they were of different intensities, different tones, and may be coming from different heights in the trees. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t see even one, though.

It was so peaceful and tranquil. If I hadn’t had work that day, I would have loved to read a book with a cup of tea in this beautiful setting or may be dozed off for a little while.

This cozy little haven reminded me that I am able to enjoy this slice of nature simply because someone planted a tree a long time ago. 

This made me realize that when he planted the seed of these trees, he would have known that it would take years for these seeds to grow into tall trees and he might not be around to enjoy their shade. But he acted selflessly years ago and planted the seeds, anyway, for anyone and everyone to enjoy their fruits.

This got me thinking that there’s a big learning from that person who planted these trees and the trees themselves.

  • Being selfless…seeing beyond our personal concerns.
  • Doing our bit bit to help others too.
  • Small little acts that would mean a lot to others.

Grab some paper and list things you do / think you might do, to help others, selflessly! Oh, you can share them in the comments section below too!

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Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago – Warren Buffet

Linking this to Thursday Tree Love, a photo feature hosted by Parul Thakur. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link up using the linky. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

Standing Tall – Thursday Tree Love #1

“The true test of a warrior is how your ‘stance’ holds up after any ‘circumstance’. Meaning, even after the stormiest weather, a true warrior will still reflect the brilliant rays of the magnificent sun through both his or her eyes. You may get hit by sudden lightning or take severe beatings from the cruel wind, but you will always get back up and stand strong on your feet again, soak in the sunlight, and be prepared to get hit by even the most merciless hail – time and time again.”

 Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

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I like how this lone barren tree is standing tall among other green leafy trees. There’s a life lesson to be learnt from it. It’s telling us that you may have a miserable day once in a while or may be several in a row, the important thing to do is to stand steady and face them.

Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What you can control is how you react to it. It’s easy to be blinded with thoughts of despair, loneliness, frustration and sadness. There are times when you believe that the depression would never leave you or the pain would never stop. The key is that you should not let these negative thoughts drag you down. Whatever it is, it is essential that you don’t lose hope. You must have hope that you will go through it.

So stay strong, stay positive and stay focused. Keep your head up, believe in yourself, and take life head on.

Linking this to Thursday Tree Love, a photo feature hosted by Parul Thakur. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link up using the linky. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

Toxic People

Few days ago, I was reading about a story of crabs confined in a bucket. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the bucket, but instead they pulled each other down which prevented all of them from escaping.

This reminded me of the people who under the garb of friends and relatives pull us down in our life. A chat or a meeting with them leave us drained and add so much of stress in our life. They suck the life out of us. Do you know, they have a term for such people. Yes, they are called toxic people.

  • These are the people who are constantly complaining about everything.
  • Their compliments somehow also take you a step down.
  • They are fiercely competitive and are always trying to one up you.
  • They are judgmental.
  • Giving unsolicited advice is their birth right.
  • They can make you feel bad about anything.
  • They gossip with you and then about you with others.
  • They have this I-Me-Myself syndrome.
  • They often tell lies and bend the truth about anything and everything.
  • They believe that they have been wronged by the universe and wallow in self pity.
  • They are manipulative and practice ‘divide and rule’ with everyone around them.

I sometimes wonder if they are our friends or enemies? Of course, they are not out rightly toxic, as they are subtly draining you and dragging you down. The truth is that all these unhealthy relationships do add stress, anxiety, hurt and even guilt in our life. They rob us of our happiness and all this may turn us into a toxic person too. Yes, negativity is contagious.

Removing them from our life and staying away from their drama is the best solution but somehow it is not possible always. Limiting our interaction with toxic people is in our hands. And when we are with them, we should consciously not share our dreams or secrets with them. While we need people in our life, we certainly don’t need all of them. We need to let these emotionally toxic people go from our life, without feeling guilty.

We need to focus on taking care of ourselves. We deserve to surround ourselves with people who accept us unconditionally, support us, encourage our ambitions and dreams, and make us feel happier simply being around them.

We deserve to be happy.

Don't let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. raise the rent and kick them out! (1)

What are your experiences with toxic people?  How do you cope with their behavior?

Linking this to

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I Know for Sure

Writing today’s post had been on my mind, since yesterday. A blank Windows Live Writer had been staring at me since yesterday. I stared at it for a few more minutes and then went on to check the Facebook notification alert. I spent a few minutes on my timeline and then clicked on a link that led me to Twinkle Khanna’s latest article. I read it and smiled and then moved on to another link of some another article and suddenly I realized that I had a task at hand.

I came back to the blank Windows Live Writer and stared at it for some more time. So, the thing is that I want to write but I just don’t know what to write.

A voice in my head said, write what you know. Writing about what I am sure of or am familiar with would be easy, I thought. Well, I wouldn’t know, until I made an attempt to do so.

So here I go with the list of things I know for sure…

  • I know how it feels to lose an unborn child.
  • I know that one small, thoughtful gesture can make a big difference in someone’s day/life.
  • I know what it’s like to struggle and wait for the success to come your way.
  • I know what it’s like to have to sell one’s most prized possession.
  • I know how it feels to buy it back too.
  • I know how it’s like to risk everything for an idea.
  • I know what it is like to hold on to the past.
  • I know for sure how freeing it is to let go.
  • I know what it’s like to live with fear of death of your loved ones.
  • I know what it feels like to lose hope and then finding it back again.
  • I know what it is to have pain so deep, that you spend countless nights crying yourself to sleep.
  • I know what it’s like to feel alone, like you have no one to turn to.
  • I know what it is to receive support from unknown quarters.
  • I know how it feels to sing at the top of your voice with the singer on the radio.
  • I know that failure is just what is needed to learn some important life lessons.
  • I know for sure that this post has a melancholic feel to it.
  • And I know for sure that a blank page is no longer staring at me.

What do you know for sure?

Linking this to #MondayMusings and NaBloPoMo

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Skywatch Friday : Silver Lining

The storm was brewing on the horizon and soon it started rolling in faster. The sky which was clear except for one wispy cloud, moments ago, turned into charcoal grey. Clouds began to rumble and darken. The wind was not howling. It was screaming. The sea below started stirring with big waves ready to swallow everything that would come in their way.

Suddenly, there was a crack in the dark storm clouds and a bit of sunlight peeked through the clouds, promising of new possibilities.

Every cloud has a silver lining

More often than not, we find ourselves sitting under a dark, black gloomy cloud. Sometimes, these dark clouds turn into small quick rains or hurricanes and even tornados. That’s life for us. But no matter how rough things get, there’s always something good that can be gleaned from the toughest of tough times. No matter how hard life may seem at the moment, a new opportunity always comes our way to make it better. Though it is hard to believe at that moment but every cloud has a silver lining. There is hope always and it shines brightest in darkness.

Linking this to Skywatch Friday and

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Inspiring Quotes About Kindness

Inspiring Quotes About Kindness

Some time back, I was travelling by bus and was not feeling too well. I dozed off right after getting my ticket checked and got up when the bus stopped at midway. I wanted to drink something cool but felt too tired to get down from the bus. My co-passenger, with whom I had not exchanged even a single word till then, asked me if he can buy something for me from the shops outside. I hesitated. He said that it was no big deal for him for he was getting down anyways. But it was a big deal for me. His gesture truly touched me and I am grateful for his help, still.

The other day, after a busy day shopping and doing some chores, I took a cab for going back home. As I sat in the cab, I realized that I had skipped lunch and just then my tummy growled to confirm it. I asked the driver to stop at a food joint and I darted out to pick up something to eat. I bought some sandwiches and gave a pack of it to the driver. I cant forget his reaction. He was so happily surprised and said that nobody had ever bought something for him. He had this happy smile on his face that continued till he dropped me at my destination.

Yesterday ie 13th November was celebrated as World Kindness Day. Kindness is something that we all need and it is something that we all can share with everybody we meet. It’s small little things that make a big difference in our lives. It makes us not only happy but leaves a lasting impression on the receiver too.

Here are some of my favourite quotes on Kindness that inspire me to make a difference…

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. -Mark Twain

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness. -George Sand

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. -Nathaniel Branden

You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force. -Publilius Syrus

Always be a little kinder than necessary. -James M. Barrie

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. -Amelia Earhart

How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it! -George Elliston

One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession. -Sophocles

He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged. -Benjamin Franklin

Unexpectedkindness is themost powerful,least costly, andmost underratedagent of humanchange

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. -William Arthur Ward

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. -Albert Schweitzer

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. -Princess Diana

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”
-Barbara de Angelis

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. -Scott Adams

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Linking this to…

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Thank you Corinne for inspiring me to do this post!

Wake up to a Gold Morning

(A) “In the morning I woke like a sloth in the fog.”― Leslie Connor

(B) “Every new day gives me ceaseless hope to reach out for my dreams”― Lailah Gifty Akita

Which of these two describe your mornings? 

Did you say that mornings are not the best part of the day for you? Did you hit the snooze button one more time today? Or snuggled under the quilt to catch some more sleep for just 5 minutes? And when you finally got up from the bed, you ran through your routine like a robot. Aah! You lament that you never have enough time in the morning! Believe me, you are not alone!!

Though you may be doing this almost every day, there is a realization at the back of your mind that throwing away the covers and waking up with a spring in the step is the key to a good morning. Starting your day on a happy and relaxed note greatly increases your chances of a healthy and productive day. In fact giving a good start to the day, sets the tone of the whole day ahead. Yes, the way you start your morning can make or break the rest of your day.

Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning”, says that if you win the morning, you win the day. He has a routine called SAVERS, to start the day off right.

The SAVERS acronym for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing, reminds us of six habits or rituals that can improve our morning routines.

Here’s how you can incorporate SAVERS in your daily routine and win the morning and the day ahead.

  • Silence : Meditation, Prayers, Breathing. Whatever it is for you, the idea is to quiet your mind and block out the chatter and the start the day with calm thoughts.
  • Affirmations : Encouraging words you tell yourself to achieve your goals, overcome fears, be healthy and happy, and live out your purpose.
  • Visualization : Imagine yourself doing each thing, step by step that you need to do to accomplish your goals. Them imagine what it will feel like when you succeed.
  • Exercise : It doesn’t have to be powerlifting or long distance running. Just do some bodyweight exercises for 5 minutes to get the oxygen flowing to the brain.
  • Reading : Fill your brain with positive thoughts and ideas to improve yourself. Learn the knowledge of people who have accomplished the things you want to do,
  • Scribing : Writing or journaling is a great way to process your thoughts and reflect on your life. It will help you to be more self aware and more articulate.

Making SAVERS as a part of your daily morning works wonders because it…

  • Helps create a positive mental attitude
  • Increases self confidence
  • Keeps you focussed as you achieve your daily goals
  • Infuses energy and enthusiasm in your day
  • Gives you time to review and reflect

Morning will come, it has no choice, but it is up to you to make your good mornings into Gold Mornings with SAVERS #Colgate360GoldMornings

#UnwrapChristmas with Secret Santee!

It only takes a spark to get the fire going.

And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love,

Once you have experienced it

You want to sing

You feel like spring

You want to pass it on…

A few of us gathered together for Secret Santa tidings, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this blog chain to you.

I am thankful to Pratikshya for passing on the baton of spreading Christmas joy and spirit.

It is here through words and my secret santee that I unwrap Christmas on my blog for you.

The sisters at my convent school for 14 years, introduced me to the magical world of Santa and  toys, X-mas trees and tinsel, elves and Rudolph, carols and chapel, cakes and cookies, stories and sermons.  They also shared that spirit of Christmas is all about being humble, generous, loving and giving.  Our Christian friends showed us that Christmas is about family bonding and that of the spirit of giving and rejoicing.

Today, as I sit and reflect on the true spirit of Christmas, a realization dawns that there’s nothing more satisfying and enriching than reaching out to someone and bringing joy to them.  And this is what represents the spirit of Christmas which is a spirit of giving!

Numerous experiences from our daily life show that we have always been grateful when somebody touched our lives or gave us what we needed the most at that time, whether a smile or a kind word or a patient listening.

It’s proven that a sure way to be happy and to spread it all around us is by having a generous and a giving heart.

A giving heart is not about material offerings…

It is about being compassionate to someone who is hurting.

It is about encouraging someone who is not able to see the light.

It is about being there for someone.

It is about giving our love,  our time, our understanding, our positive presence, our commitment, our genuine care and concern for someone.

It is amazing to see that these small acts of giving never fail to lighten the recipient’s day. It may even turn it around. And do you know that generosity is contagious of course in a healthy way.

Here’s hoping that each one of us embrace the spirit of Christmas and find the true meaning of the season by being generous thereby bringing more joy and happiness into lives of those around us.

I now invite Sujatha Singh  to spread the message of Christmas and new years on their blog.

#UnwrapChristmas


Letting Go Amidst Chaos

I am addicted to lists. I’ve sung its praises incessantly on my blog here. Lists, as you know, help to…

  • Stay focused on the task 
  • Remember what you need to do and when
  • Be more productive
  • Stay motivated
  • Reduce your stress levels

As usual, my To-Do list for today is as long as my arm. I am panicking and stressed out as I look at it from time to time. Ideally, it should calm me and give me a feeling that I am in control. But that’s not happening.

Actually, I have an important assignment with a short deadline to chase and I am just not able to start my work on it. The more I am thinking about it, the more hassled is my state of mind.

I pondered a bit on my chaotic situation and realized that it is not the work that is causing me stress. Though the task at hand is challenging but I know I can do it. It’s not the deadline that is giving me panic attacks, because that’s just a time constraint and I was aware of it when I took up the assignment. So, what’s actually stressing me?

Well, it’s the fear in my head. Fear that I’d mess it up or that it might not get approved or that I’d look inefficient or incompetent! And all this is because I want the assignment to be perfect in every way.

What if I just focus on my work and let go of these fears. While the work I do is totally in my control, I don’t have any control on the outcomes. So, letting go of the fears that stop me working on the task is the key. Easier said than done, I know. But realizing it and working on it should bring in the peace in this chaotic state of mind.

As I allay the fears in my head and work on my assignment, you have a great week ahead!

What is your recipe for getting the work done without fears messing up your head?

MondayMusings

Discover Real Togetherness

Picture this…

A family at a restaurant is out to eat and enjoy and somebody or the other is checking their phone for text messages or emails, every few minutes.

At a get-together with friends, people look at their phone’s screen more often than their friend’s face.

You are stuck behind someone on a road who is driving at the speed of 40 kmph What’s your first thought?  That guy needs to get off his phone!

You could meet your friend for a coffee date, instead you catch up on whatsapp for an hour.

Sounds familiar?

Ok, here’s a question. Can you list the names of your 10 neighbours and all those in their families? Tough question? If not 10, can you list the details of 5 neighbours? I am sure, it would be still difficult to answer!

Technology though connects us with anybody and everybody but is disconnecting us from the world around us. Instead of spending time in person with family and friends, we just call or text them. It may seem simpler and convenient, but we ultimately end up interacting with our family and friends face to face a lot less. 10 texts can never match the fun and joy of meeting a friend over lunch. And all the smileys and emoticons can be cute, but they could never replace the ear-splitting grin and smiling eyes of one of our best friends. It’s like the Real Togetherness is missing from our lives. Don’t you agree?

Here are a few ideas and strategies that can disconnect us from our Smartphone/gadget addiction and reconnect us with our family, family and neighbours in the apartment complex so that we can enjoy Real Togetherness with them.

  • Play games. Play badminton, volleyball, tennis, frisbee, or table tennis.
  • Go jogging or take a walk together.
  • Have a cookout. Cook a dinner together on the terrace or garden.
  • Visit all of the nearby tourist sights we have never bothered to check out.
  • Go for a picnic to a nearby resort.
  • Go grocery shopping together.
  • Invite some friends over and bake cakes and cookies together.
  • Tour something: a factory, bakery, dairy, or a garage.
  • Organize a flash mob dance in the apartment complex.
  • Go bowling with friends.
  • Visit a farmer’s market.
  • Take a class on something you are good at… quilling, baking, photography, blogging…
  • Organize a bake sale in the neighbourhood.
  • Prepare a meal for a couple with a new baby.
  • Make cards with children for Diwali and send to all in the neighbourhood.
  • Take a group of children on a field trip.
  • Pack some food and distribute them to homeless people.
  • Take a bicycle trip around the city.
  • Go to the zoo or an amusement park, a museum or a planetarium.
  • On a weekend, get out the gardening tools and find someone who could use some free yard work. Everyone can pitch in and help.
  • String popcorn and place on trees for the birds. And watch them eat from far. Click lots of pictures.
  • Have a bonfire outdoors, cook, eat and sing together.
  • Visit some elderly people and spend time with them.
  • Visit a farm. Milk a cow/goat, help to feed the animals. Or clean around.
  • Organize a film festival and watch some classics together with family and friends.

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. So, let’s get started on this journey where we discover and share Real Togetherness with family and friends.

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