Trees of Faith -Thursday Tree Love #5

Trees of Faith Salasar Balaji Rajasthan

At Salasar Balaji, Churu, Rajasthan.

“There’s a reason we refer to “leaps of faith” – because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn’t.
If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be – by definition – faith.
Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch.
Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.
If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Do you believe in the power of faith?

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. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

The One That Got Away

Today’s prompt for #FridayReflections is…

“Then I wondered if everybody has that person that haunts them, the one that got away.”― Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings

The first thought that comes to my mind when I think about ‘the one that got away’  is unrequited love. But it could be about the missed opportunities, or the relationships that didn’t work out, as well.

‘The one that got away’ brings to my mind the thought that a relationship or an opportunity should have worked but somehow it didn’t turn out as per the expectations and their paths diverged.

How would one feel about ‘the one that got away’? What would be the dominant feeling? Would it be regret or hurt or pain or doubt or…? Would the various ‘could have been’ scenarios create havoc in the head? Would the heart shed silent tears?

I remember writing a 100 word story on this very thought a few years ago, which I believe is apt for this prompt. So here’s a rehash of an old post…

Drabble

La douleur exqise*… the words that explained how he felt.

He knew that she would never be his. But when does love follow rules?

For months, he felt a heavy stone on his heart, with sad tears washing it.

The pain was killing him and he believed that he’d never get over her.

Then just like a new day, change came his way.

He realized that he was done with regrets. He had to move on.

He understood that some people can be a part of your history but never your destiny!

Slowly, he felt his heart begin to heal…

*La douleur exqise – It means, the heart wrenching pain of wanting affection of someone unattainable.

Linking this to #FridayReflections

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Drop the Dead Leaves -Thursday Tree Love #4

I saw this tree, earlier this week and it reminded me of this quote from Rumi… Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.

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Isn’t this message so simple yet so profound. As we grow in life, we gather so many experiences in the form of people, places and everything around us. As much as we may want to but all these are not just the good and positive. There’s the bad and the ugly as well. While we often look at positive things of the past with a smile, but we really hang on to the negativity of the past.

Our failures, our mistakes, our disappointments, and our hurts from the past are shackled around our ankles. They weigh us down, yet we hold on to them tightly.  Some of these painful memories are immortalized in our minds.

Last week, I was in the grip of a past hurt, which I believed was truly a thing of the past and would never be a part of my present again. And yet, it was there with all its power to distress and agonize me.

Why can’t we be like this tree and drop all the leaves of resentments, hurts, pains, miseries of the past? I know it’s easier said than done, but we must truly drop these baggages of the past. It’s a conscious choice that we must make.

In one of the meditation session that I was a part of, the guide suggested three strategies to let go of the past.

  • Acknowledge that we have some dead leaves to drop.
  • Consciously work on removing them from our life.
  • Reap the benefits of the progress.

The process of dropping dead leaves is a slow process but a progress nevertheless.

Yes, let’s be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop and bring about a positive change in our life.

Do you have some dead leaves to drop? How would you go about dropping them?

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. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

Surthrive -Thursday Tree Love #3

Last month, I was in Shimla and near our homestay I saw this unusual sight, which I was quick to capture in my phone. You can see here that a tree is growing through a wall. A wall, yes!!

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I am sure that its roots must be long and strong in the ground on the other side of IMG_20170612_091642the wall. But that’s not the point. The point is that this tree had obstacles in its way, well, it was up against a wall, literally and figuratively. And it is still growing. It is not merely surviving but thriving… surthriving that is. See, how tall, towering and green it is, and it’s contributing to the world around it, selflessly.

There’s a lot that we can learn from this particular tree. It’s about surthriving despite the adversities.

We know, life is full of challenges but how do we respond to these surprises that come our way? The problems that we face are not the problems, actually. The problem is the way we approach these problems. Do we allow the setbacks to pull us down and discourage us? Or do we use the problem as a stepping stone and move ahead anyway.

This tree reminds me of us… KG and I. These past few years have been pretty challenging for us, work wise that is. Today, when I look back, I realize that we did not get broken down by the adverse winds. We surthrived even in the most difficult of circumstances. Positive attitude, not playing the victim card, resilience, taking control of the situation, looking at solutions, never giving up were some of the things that helped us tide over the tough times.

Like this tree, we surthrived and I am so glad and proud of that.

How do you respond when life throws you a curveball? Do share your surthrival stories in the comment box below. I am all ears!

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.

7 Reasons to Express Gratitude

We know that root of all joy is gratitude. We know that we should be thankful and grateful for all things and experiences in life and that we should express it on a regular basis. While the aim should be to make it a way of life but it’s easier said than done.

Whenever dark clouds of misery and challenges surround us, gratitude is far from our thoughts as feelings of anxiety, annoyance and irritation take over. Like for example, KG has been working on a project that finally took off after a lot of delays. Things were moving in the right direction and then suddenly, last week it came to halt. All his efforts ended in a smoke. We were truly disappointed and disheartened.

Can we really express gratitude when the project we were coveting did not work for us? The answer is, yes, we can! As I asked KG about his next plan of action, his first words were, “It’s good that this project ended at this stage, if it had ended a bit later, things would had been disastrous. We have learnt from this experience and now know what we should not be doing.” And I was truly grateful for his positive attitude and willingness to move ahead despite the setback.

Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that we have good things and experiences in our life. But this does not mean that our life is perfect and is free from pain, misery and failures. Gratitude encourages us to look at some goodness in our life, despite the challenges.

Gratitude

Here are 7 reasons to express gratitude and why we should make it a habit.

Reason #1 : Gratitude Improves Relationships 

Feeling grateful helps us to identify people who are responsive to our needs, and helps to bring us closer to them, thereby improving our relationship with them.

Reason #2 : Gratitude Improves Performance and Productivity 

When we hear words of gratitude, we are energized and motivated and that reflects in our work and life in general.

Reason #3 : Gratitude Blocks Negative Emotions 

We cannot feel resentful and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If we are grateful, we can’t hold grudge with someone for having something that we don’t.

Reason #4 : Gratitude Uplifts the Soul and Spirit

Gratitude is good for mental health. It boosts happiness and improves overall sense of well-being and quality of life.

Reason #5 : Gratitude Initiates a Chain Reaction 

Gratitude transforms the giver as well as the receiver. Thanking others makes them feel good about the kind acts that they’ve done, so they want to continue doing them, not only for us but also for others.

Reason #6 : Gratitude Makes You Resilient 

If we have grateful disposition, we would be bouncing back from sufferings and miseries pretty quickly. And this happens because a grateful person has better perspective of interpreting the adversities of life, so he can pull himself out of anxiety and stress, easily.

Reason #7 : Gratitude Increases Our Appreciation For Life 

Dalai Lama has said, “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” When we are grateful for waking up and breathing and realize that there are so many who just lost this blessing of breath, we truly live and celebrate our present.

Is expressing gratitude a part of your life? How has gratitude brought a change in your life?

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm and Vidya Sury’s Gratitude Circle

Theme – Seven

Day 7

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7 Reasons to Let Go

As we travel along this road called life, we accumulate a lot of baggage. Baggage that weigh us down and prevent us from enjoying the journey. These baggages are in the form of failures and struggles in the past, unhealthy relationships, resentments, hurt, negative experiences, expectations from others, fears, insecurities, guilt, grief, regrets etc. Even though we know that all these weigh heavily on our shoulders and that they are holding us back, yet we cling to them, sometimes desperately.

Let Go

I have carried some heavy baggage for a while.  I have lived in the past for a long time. I have nurtured the hurt and resentments so much that they made me bitter. During a chat with a friend, I was going on and on about the past unhappy incidents and experiences. She listened to me for a while and then just said, “Can you stop living in the past and let go of all the anger and resentment?” I looked at her incredulously. I knew she was tired of my whining but I saw a lot of merit in her words. I consciously stopped myself from thinking and talking about the things that pulled me down. The harder I tried, better was my state of mind.

Of course, it was not an overnight change and it was tough and challenging to let go of the past, but I can say with conviction that the benefits outweigh the effort, truly.

You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one

Today, I’d like to share 7 reasons to let go, which I have learnt from my experience.

Reason #1 : You’ll Find Peace – The biggest benefit of letting go is the peace of mind which reflects in every sphere of life.

Reason #2 : You’ll Create Space for Something New and Better – You cant move ahead, if you keep looking back. You will stumble and falter and miss the new opportunities that would be coming your way.

Reason #3 : You’ll Experience Freedom – If you were to hold a heavy bag on your head for long and then you were to keep it down, how relieved you would be. It’s the same with letting go of baggages and burdens.

Reason #4 : You’ll Bounce Back from Adversities Easily – You have been there and done that. Whenever the new hurt, failure or negative experience finds a way in your life, you know how to put it behind you.

Reason #5 : You’ll Grow as a Person – The past experiences help you to learn, grow and mature. It also gives you new understandings and perspectives on life. You will grow up to be a strong person.

Reason #6 : You’ll Learn to be Grateful – When you are letting go of the past, you are accepting it and are grateful for the learnings you have had from the good as well as the painful experiences of life. You realize that these experiences have added value in your life and shaped you as a person.

Reason #7 : You’ll Learn to Love and Value Yourself– Letting go of the past makes you realize that you can’t go back and change the past, but you can choose not to suffer now, and take responsibility for yourself and your future. 

Letting go is not a one time affair, with a permanent results, but a constant state of being. Letting go is not ‘getting rid of’ or ‘throwing away’ of the past but putting it aside and recognizing that  we are no longer attached to it.

Letting go is about moving forward with hope, anticipation and excitement for positive and new things in life. So cheers to freedom, peace, contentment and love.

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm

Theme – Seven

Day 6

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7 Reasons to Read Inspirational Quotes

I love reading inspiring quotes. We all do! For this very reason we see these bite-sized profound thoughts on various social media platforms.

As a kid, rather a teenager, while reading books and magazines, if something struck a chord with me, I would write it down in a notebook. And now that I have greys in my hair, my love for these inspiring words continue unabated.

Why do we love reading these quotes so much? Here are 7 reasons, why we do just that…

Reason #1 : To Gain Insights and Wisdom – In a few words, motivational quotes offer profound and meaningful insights that awaken and inspire us to see the world differently. They widen our perspective and expand the mind and the awareness.

Insights

Reason #2 : To Feel Energized and Encouraged – For me, these inspiring quotes give a dose of positivity and nudge me to get back on track when the going is rough.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

Reason #3 : To Get That Burst of Hope – Like a beacon of light, quotes offer hope that we need so very badly in tough and trying times.

Hope

Reason #4 : Act as Reminders – Quotes act as reminders and alarm clocks to the wisdom we have within us.

Friends

Reason #5 : Food for Soul – Repeatedly reading the inspiring words can become a part of our thoughts, and in no time our thoughts can translate into words, which can make us take action. The quotes give us a purpose and help us make who we are.

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Reason #6 : To Bring Light and Happiness into Our Day – A motivational quote has the power to brighten our day. Often, these words stay with us and subtly make us think and bring about a change in our mood. It is amazing to see what a ‘right quote at the right time’ can do to our day.

Inspiration

Reason #7 : Become Our Life Mottos – Some quotes can really influence us and can help us to make an important change in our life. They can become the guiding lights of our life. For example, these words of John Lennon, ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’ is my life mantra and helps me to stay strong when faced with challenges of life.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end

Do you love reading Inspiring Quotes? Do share your favorite quote that brightens your day or inspires you.

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm

Theme – Seven

Day 5

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7 Reasons to Say No More Often

Remember the time when we were toddlers… I think, the word that we must have heard the most from our parents was ‘No’.
‘No, don’t play with water’
‘No, don’t throw that toy’…

And as kids, we must have used it equally as well.
‘No, I don’t want to eat’
‘No, I want to wear this dress only’…

And now that we are adults, we have difficulty in using this very word which have heard all our growing years. Yes, it’s the same word, No.

For a long, long time, I was a Yes girl. If you looked a little harder, you would have seen me wearing it as a big pendant on a chain around my neck. Anybody could ask me for ‘help’ or ‘support’ and I would do it, even if that would kill me.

I had various reasons to say Yes when I really wanted to say No. May be it was to avoid hurting other people’s feelings,  to keep the peace, to avoid appearing as rude, to not feel guilty or left out …etc etc.

Yes No

Due to this inability to say No, I have gone through prolonged periods of stress, anxiety, anger, resentment and burnout. Today, when I look back, I realize that it wasn’t really worth it to have said Yes to so many people, projects and tasks. I did that at the cost of my own happiness and peace of mind.

It has taken a long time for me to say No. But it has happened, finally. And here are my 7 reasons to say No…

Reason #1 : Gain Happiness and Inner Peace – There are no more grinding of teeth or pulling hair apart in frustration and resentment, just because I couldn’t say No. A No to things I don’t want to do leads to a less crazier and saner me. Saying No is not about being selfish, it’s about self care and setting boundaries.

Reason #2 : Saves Time and Energy – And that’s for both the parties, that is  the person coercing me into thinking and acting his/her way and myself. And that also boosts productivity for I am no longer working on things that I shouldn’t be doing.

Reason #3 : Boosts Confidence – Standing for what I believe is right, certainly is a morale booster.

Reason #4 : Gain Respect – Saying No, may annoy the person in the short term, but he would certainly stop taking me for granted and would value my time and work.

Reason #5 : Avoids Messy Situations – Failing to do what I committed can be pretty awkward. Saying No beforehand saves from this messy situation.

Reason #6 : Sets Priorities – Life is all about choices and priorities. Stephen Covey says it aptly “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smiling, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.”

Reason #7 : Gives Room for More Yesses – Yes, sometimes we need to say No so that we have more time and reasons to say Yes.

Having said that, let me add that saying No isn’t easy and not all people appreciate it, but the ones who will, at least will do so for the right reasons.

Do you have a hard time saying No? How does it make you feel when you do?

Linking this to the second edition of  BAR-A-THON by Blog-A-Rhythm

Theme – Seven

Day 4

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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.

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