Day 7: Reflections on the Last Six Days Passed

photo-1429041966141-44d228a42775

Credits: Unsplash.com

Hi,

Welcome to day 7 of the Self Challenge Week and I am with you. I am thrilled and excited to share with you the lessons learnt in the last seven days.

With the bridge of knowledge constructed from the last 6 blog posts, I could say, I crossed the sea of the self challenge week, with all your support. Thanks for visiting, reading, suggesting and commenting on my blog. I express my deep gratitude to you all.

It is needless to say that it is all because of your encouragement and support that I could set my writing sail and could reach to my destination point well on time. I sincerely hope and wish that I would continue to share the best of the works produced by the great writers that I come across and would continue to share the lessons from experiences of my life which make me what I am today with you all.

Baltasar Gracian, a philosopher says that “Self-reflection is the school of wisdom” and I am happy to say that after leaving my full time job as Assistant Professor, I joined this school of wisdom. Little did I know about its powerful lessons at that time since I could hardly get time to reflect, to contemplate, to think and to meditate on the day to day activities, people, incidents and happenings which were occurring in my busy life. But my self reflection classes of this school began when I would retire after my domestic work and would think and reflect on my past days, years and everyday incidents after leaving the full time job. It was during those moments of reflection I got to know about my own self and about lessons that life had taught me so far. In those moments of silence I listened to the internal voices becoming louder and clearer inside me. I also understood people around me without judging them for what they were and what they did. I felt happy and better after attending each class.

I would not hesitate to share with you that it was during those moments of reflection, self inspection and interrogation, I got to know about the riches of my life, of what I had gained in the past 10 years and what I could build on, in the days and times to come. I could not be more thankful to this process of self reflection, because it introduced me to my natural gifts and talents and passions on which I would continue to work upon.

Since this is the last day of the Self Challenge Week and these 7 days have again given me a lot of powerful insights about my own self, about my habits, about my belief system and my working pattern, I am happy that I took the courage to announce this Self Challenge Week and then completed this challenge in the stipulated time frame.

This journey, though small, has proved to be meaningful and purposeful and has prepared me to take on bigger challenges in life, so that I could confidently move on further. By consistently working on each post, I could say that I have created a new vision for this blog and I know where I would want to take you all along with me. I feel a great sense of belongingness and connectivity with you all and I am sure that in days to come our mutual understanding and appreciation for each others work would increase multifold.

Therefore, it would be unfair, If I do not share with you the analysis of the work done in these 7 days, in which, I wrote six posts each day with varied word count and given below is the detailing of the same.

In total I wrote 6,551  words in these 7 posts.

Moreover, the time taken in writing these posts varied from 3 hours to 4 hours and thus I spent approximately 21 to 28 hours in writing these posts. In editing, revisions and answering, I could add additional 15 hours of my week.

For me, the entire writing process was divided into the following steps:

1. Brainstorming. This part of the writing process was random and I was dependent on my mind. Since I took this challenge, a part of my brain was always thinking about the posts and topics on which I had to write. The subconscious mind was at work, I felt.

I could say that the best ideas came to my mind when I worked in the kitchen or I was dusting the rooms. During these days I was highly alert of the ideas coming to my mind and wherever they came, I greeted them well without thinking whether they looked good or bad.

2. Writing . Earlier I used to write on word and then would copy the entire post and would paste it on the WordPress site. But this time I started writing straight away on the WordPress drafts section.

I also have this tendency of checking how the post would read and look so I often check the post by previewing the post which gives me a lot of confidence and makes me feel better about my writing. I used this technique for writing faster this time.

I always have a theme, a message, a story or a purpose in my mind which I want to share through my posts. When I start the actual writing process, in between, I start connecting the unconnected thoughts. Interestingly, in the process of writing, some posts take the shape and feel of their own and I feel no control over my writing. The thoughts lead to other thoughts and words lead to other words fast. What all I do is obey the orders and keep my writing momentum.  In the actual writing process there are many thoughts that come and join dancing the former set of thoughts. There is some rhythm and continuity that I feel in writing process which looks effortless often, but many a times the process looks too strenuous and I think why did I start writing after all?

Writing involves some research part as well which is related to finding of the appropriate quotes and images for each blog post. The hours of research varied this time from one post to another, depending upon my own knowledge of the subject, and end message that I wanted to convey through each post.

3. Editing. Editing is one of the most time consuming and frustrating tasks. While I am working on the writing skills, I know that my editing skills would also increase with the passage of time.

To cut my own crafted sentences and to delete the noisy words and adjectives are challenging tasks indeed, but I am learning to be my own critic gradually. In some of the posts I had to do 30 to 40 revisions because of multiple typographical errors, which I found, even after publication.

4. Revision. After pressing the publish button, my revision process starts and I keep revising until I publish the next post. Number of revisions done, I cannot say.

By taking this challenge, I made a major shifts in my writing time and gave a self deadline to myself which worked best for me. Most of the posts were published between 11 AM to 2 PM and after doing revisions of the posts I updated them on facebook between 5 PM to 7 PM everyday for reading and dissemination for larger audience.

There are few patterns and techniques that I have observed about my writing, but there are many writing secrets which will be revealed to me over a period of time, as I continue to travel in this realm of writing.

Challenge two.

There are 78 pages left in completing The Picture of the Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I will complete reading these pages before 12:00 PM today.

Now what kept me on track all these 7 days?

This quote by Napoleon Hill that “Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

And the words which guided me through all these days were: PATIENCE, FOCUS, COMMITMENT, BELIEF, PURPOSE, GOAL AND GRATITUDE. 

I wouldn’t have completed this challenging assignment without relentless support of my husband, son and my mother who provided me enough time to work on my one week’s mission.

I hope that the bridge of knowledge that I have build over a period of one week would help you to cross the sea of your Own Self Challenge Week.

I feel encouraged to take up many such exercises in times to come along with you and I hope that you would enjoy reading this little longer post of 1558 words with little patience and perseverance, with a cup of coffee or tea in your room.

And don’t forget to share the lessons which you learnt during these 7 day because I will wait for your response.

Stay connected and keep reading until we meet next, after time of 15 days.

Day 5: Today is the Only Day to Achieve Any Great and Worthy Purpose

SONY DSC

Credits: Google Images

Hi,

Welcome to day 5 of the self challenge week and I am with you.

After coming from summer vacations, we went to one of my friends places to pick up our car which was parked at her home. When we arrived at her place, she warmly welcomed us by serving a welcome drink.

The moment I took my first sip, I asked her, “what is this?” and “how did you make this?” Because the drink was not only refreshing in its taste but was also refreshing in its looks. I found her summer drink simply superb.

I coaxed my friend to share its recipe with me and soon I was amazed to find out that the drink was too simple to make and I too could prepare it at my home within few minutes. What all she did was this: she mixed the sugary watermelon ice cubes in serving glasses of lemonade.

Wasn’t that too simple? Of course it was.

In fact, I would highly recommend you to try this drink before the summer bids us adieu.

Now when I reflect on that drink, the flavour of which I still relish, I would say that we too, could make each day of our life refreshing and beautiful like that summer drink if we just use a little bit of creativity and imagination and mix them well with little bit of efforts on our day to day basis. Because as Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt advises, “make use of your imagination to make your day ideal and fantastic. You have to really use your imagination to refresh your daily life.”

So let us be ready and proactive to use our imagination and creativity to make our days ideal and fantastic.

What we all can do is this. Sit down today and ask these questions and then write their answers down so that we know what makes our day an ideal day.

  • What makes our day look ideal to us?
  • How would we love to start our ideal day?
  • How would we want our ideal day to end?
  • What are all the things that we would want to finish in a day?
  • How much time would we like to devote with our own self?
  • How much time would we like to take rest and sleep?
  • How much time would we like to spent on recreational activities?
  • How much time would we work on the things of great importance?
  • How much time would we like to spend with our members of family?
  • What are all the things that we would like to delegate to others so that we could create more free space for ourselves and  for our members of family?
  • How much time would we like to spend on learning a new skills?
  • What would be all the biggest distractions in our day?
  • What would stop us from achieving all our goals in a day? Would they be external or internal? How would we deal with those barriers and noise elements?

After thinking about an ideal day, we could imagine about the ideal week and ideal month and an ideal year and then strive to do and accomplish the things that we want to do on a day to day basis.

We must make sure that we write down our answers because writing brings more clarity. It brings more focus to the tasks that we want to achieve.

So before we become champions of our lives we must master our days. The above questions are same but their answers would differ for all of us. We must understand that because we all are similarly different, we all are differently similar as well.

And since, “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life,” as says William Morris, therefore, we must start changing the things at micro level (each day) so that we become peak performers at macro level in our life. By planning and starting our day in this way we will have maximum time for doing the thing that are most important to us and are not simply urgent.

Remember the words of Swami Chinmayananda that “Today is the only day to attempt any great and worthy purpose.” So we must ask every day , “are we all ready to make our each day full of great and worthy purposes?” Because we all know that “tomorrow never comes.”

Day 3: Discover the Superpower Within, Like Hanuman

Bal-Hanuman-blue-black-color

Credits: Google Images

Hi,

Welcome to day 3 of the Self Challenge Week and I am with you.

My son loves watching Roll No 24, Kris, Krishna, and My Friend Ganesha and Bal Hanuman are one of his favourite movies. So, today, I am going to share with you one of the instances form our mythological epic Ramayana, which came to my mind when I was enjoying a conversation with my mother.

This instance occurs in Kishkindha Kand where Lord Hanuman had to go to Lanka and get the news of Mata Sita. Since the task was urgent and Hanuman had to cross the vast sea, he had no clue how to meet with this difficult challenge. He didn’t understand how he could solve this problem and cross the vast ocean in such a short span of time.

And while he was still brooding over the problem along with other Vanars, just at that moment, Jamavanta, the king of bears, came, and extolled the virtues of Hanuman and reminded him of his supernatural powers.

कहइ रीछपति सुनु हनुमाना। का चुप साधि रहेहु बलवाना।।
पवन तनय बल पवन समाना। बुधि बिबेक बिग्यान निधाना।।

Praising Hanuman, Jamavanta reminded him that there was hardly any task that he couldn’t do. This was not time to think, but to act. Since they already had a bigger purpose and mission to fulfil, therefore Hanuman must make use of his supreme powers and complete the assigned task without thinking about the obstacles and challenges in his way.

कवन सो काज कठिन जग माहीं। जो नहिं होइ तात तुम्ह पाहीं।।
राम काज लगि तब अवतारा। सुनतहिं भयउ पर्वताकारा।।

Immediately listening to words of Jamavanta, Lord Hanuman grew bigger in his size and took a leap to cross the vast ocean with his superpowers.

Now this instance has the following lessons for us:

Challenges reveal our hidden powers. Like this story, we too come across situations and challenges in our lives that make us feel fearful and intimidating, but it is also true, that it is during these times of hardships, we realise the latent powers, talents, strength, courage and intelligence inside us.

Hanuman is our superhero and superman, bestowed with supernatural attributes and qualities, in the same manner when we look at the people who have achieved great results in their lives, we feel, that they too have been bestowed with some superpower and super intelligence, however, it has all been the result of their courage to solve the issue and find the solution.

Having faith in Lord and believe in cause is important to meet the challenge. Whatever path we may chose, there are and will be challenges and tests to meet, but we must have immense faith in the Lord and belief in the cause and purpose for which we strive. It is then, we would be able to find out the way like Hanuman.

Hanuman had a purpose to find out mata Sita and he had immense faith in his lord Rama and had a bigger purpose for which he went on to the Golden city of Lanka and created havoc there. But it is his faith and belief in his lord and noble cause forced him to unleash his latent powers within himself.

Challenge is another name for adventure. While the two words have different meaning, however, if we consider, challenge as an adventure, we could really enjoy the entire episode.

The adventure has elements of suspense, excitement and uniqueness about it and therefore meeting a challenging experience, person or situation, could bring an unusual experience in our life and therefore we must be ready for such unknown experiences and lessons which may be bold and risky too, and which would be revealed in the due course.

Like in his way to Lanka, Hanuman also outwitted two daemons, Sursa and Sinhika and showed his brilliance and courage once again.

So should we be also prepared and thrilled to discover something new in our adventurous way about our own selves. And when the challenges and problems in life come, we should be ready to ask and think:

  • How could we find Hanuman inside us?
  • How could we instil unflinching faith in lord inside us?
  • How could we find the bigger purpose and mission in our life so that we could push ourselves for that cause?
  • And how could we find greatness inside us even when we have to do the smallest of tasks?

Now, don’t you think that challenges are destined and planned to find and reveal something bigger in life for us?

Day 2: What Makes Your Story Good?

Story

Credits: Google Images

Question.

Do you love stories?

I know your answer would be Yes.

Why?

Your answers would vary, because of one reason or the other.

So, I can say, while all of us love stories, the stories of love, romance, sacrifice, pain, adventure, hope and many other themes, the intensity of reading, writing, listening and sharing them with others, would differ from one person to another.

Question.

What makes a story good?

The five essential elements, which are: the characters, the settings, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution.

Now what happens in a story is this, the characters are introduced, the writer builds up the setting and environment which makes us feel the story real ( imagine your favourite fiction here). The story moves on the plot and then something happens, the protagonist of the story and the rest of the characters confront a crisis, unknown to them and that brings the suspense. The writer just throws different characters with different perspectives and personalities and when the time of crisis comes, these characters respond and react to the crisis which reveal what these characters are made up of, what they think and how differently they all think, why they all do what they do and what their motives and intentions are and what instigates them to do that? And then one among them becomes our favourite character.

Now try to remove the element of conflict  and crisis from the plot of the story.

Questions.

Would the story be same? Would it still appeal to us? Would we like the characters? Would the story be able to create that level of suspense that we expected? Would we still be hooked to the story till the end?

The answers of all these question we know.

Questions.

Now share with me who is your favourite character or hero? And would you love that character had he/she not faced any crisis.

Answer will be NO.

The point that I want to highlight in today’s post is simple.

Conflict refers to challenge. And challenge, be it external or internal, gives momentum to the story and shapes the character. What happens to the character and how he/she deals in that moment of crisis is the crux of the story.

And as Seneca says, “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”

So, what matters is, how good the story is, and that is determined by level of crisis and challenge dealt by the characters.

Likewise the story, we all are the lead characters in the stories of our lives. The stories of our lives have the beginning, the middle and the end. We all live at different places, have our families and live in environments, which constitute the setting of our story. The plot is created by the supreme power. But how we all face the crisis, conflicts and challenges in our life determines our future and reveals our own values and principles to us. It is in the moments of crisis and challenge that we decide what are the things which are of paramount importance to us, what all matters most to us and then we move towards the resolution. After resolving one issue, we get ready for the next crisis.

Questions.

Do you find the element of crisis in your life? Do you think that dealing with the crisis will make you a stronger and a better person? How would you like to deal with that crisis and how would like your story to end? And how would you like to be remembered as a character?

Find answers.

Now it’s your turn to ask.

Ask.

Question.

Day 1: Out of Chaos Comes Order

Order Out of Chaos

Credits: Google Images

Hi,

I am thrilled and excited to welcome you all on the day 1 of the Seven Days Self Challenge Week.

Till yesterday, my scenario was this.

Scissors, papers, glue sticks, sketch pens, glaze papers, crayons, water colours, coloured tapes, chart papers, rulers, pencils, and xyzee all scattered around me and my son, since we were too busy in finishing and giving a final touch to his holiday homework.

Of course, this was not the very first time when we had to deal with the holiday homework at such a massive scale, but this time I felt, as if the deadline had been sprinting much faster than the last year towards me. The closer the dates came, the more stressed I felt.

So, to complete the task on time, was a true challenge indeed for all of us. Though, not of that greater magnitude as I imagined, but who looks at the magnitude when any challenge is there in your front? In the process of completing all the work, my rooms were in complete mess. Scattered all around were the colours and so were the papers and scissors and paint brushes.

But amidst this mess, something was taking shape.

Amidst this commotion, something was at work.

And so we worked, without thought, without pause.

When we got ready with the chart papers and project works, we forgot what all we had messed up in the last couple of days and got engrossed in looking at what we created in the end.

And then I felt…

Creativity was at its work, amidst this mess.

Beauty was ready to be born, amidst this mess.

And then, this thought knocked at my mind’s door, isn’t life also like that?

Because at times peace comes out of commotion. And order comes out of chaos in our life.

So, if you are too like me, and are experiencing something chaotic and disturbing in your life; then know that soon there will be peace and order emerging out of it. What we simply need to take care is of our perspective towards things, situations, experiences and people around us and see the seeds of beauty, creativity, and life revealing lessons inside them.

Since in the previous post, I have already shared with you that problems and challenges in our lives are nothing but life revealing lessons. Therefore, today, on the very first day of the Seven Days Self Challenge Week, I would want to share with you the challenges that I have taken up for the next 7 days. Now before sharing the challenges, here are the reasons why I took up these challenges, so that you too could try out something challenging this week.

The reasons for attempting the challenge are simple: to be ready and prepared for the forthcoming challenges in life, to be able to move out of my own comfort zone, to try out something which examines my own fortitude and attitude towards things; to introspect how does my mind work during these seven days and to use all experiences and exercises in training my mind for achieving more focus and discipline in my life to work efficiently and produce better results.

I know that initially there will be some commotion and chaos created by my own mind, but I also want to see how does it manage and follow my command.

So here are the challenge that I have taken:

  1. I will write posts consistently for the next seven days on my blog. The word count of the posts will fall between 500 to 1000 words (This will be my prime focus).
  2. I will also try to finish reading The Picture of the Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (If possible).

I have selected these challenges as per my priority list and I will share with you how I am going to progress and deal with these challenge on the day to day basis.

And now after knowing what I am going to do, it is your turn to take up the challenge and decide what you are going to do and continue for next seven days.

But before taking up the challenge(s) here are some suggestions that you could follow:

Decide. First decide that you are ready for the Self Challenge Week .

Select. Next, select an activity or a task that you would want to continue for the next seven days. Take up something which is high in your priority list or something which you have been procrastinating since very long. Few things could be:

  • Finishing a book in seven days.
  • Eating healthy food and homemade food for the next seven days.
  • Meeting a new person everyday and trying to have an effective communication with him/her.
  • Practice listening skills for next seven days.
  • Being Engaged in some social service or environmental awareness for the next seven days.
  • Keeping news fast or social media fast for next seven days (but you will have to read my blog for the latest posts).
  • Helping your mother/father/siblings/relative on every day basis for the next seven days.
  • Play outdoor sports for next seven days.
  • Practising a skill that you would want to improve.
  • Spending quality and quantity time with the members of your family.

You could explore and decide other interesting options that motivate you. Moreover, take up something which you can measure by your engagement in that activity so that you could monitor your own progress.

Make a commitment.  Commit with your other fellow mates and let them know about your challenge so that it is not confined to you and you feel accountable for the challenge that you have taken and try to strive under little pressure.

Write. Express and write about your commitment at a place where you can see it every day and keep a check on your own progress. If possible, share it in the comment section so that we too could know what you have taken. If not here, then write in your diary or journal or notice board.

Plan. Do plan for the entire week how will you take out your time for fulfilling your promise and will manage your time and sanity of mind. Make sure to keep this challenge high on your priority list. Try to slice out more time from the activities where you have been wasting your time. Keep a check. Practice focus and discipline and be self introspective in case of any digressions.

Execute. For effective results try to build the Great Wall of China within. You could also try to feel or imagine that for the next seven days, you have been bestowed with some kind of super powers and you could  accomplish any task that you undertake within this time frame.

Beat Distractions. Also be aware that while taking up this challenge, there will be another set of challenge (s) which will come up in-between but just remember that in such situations you have to practice mind like water and try to be calm, and be non judgemental of situations and people around you and keep your eyes focused on your goal(s).

You know that I have already fasten my seat belt and started my challenge flight, what about you?

Be ready to mess up the things a bit and see how does the order and beauty come out of the chaos and ugly things in life.

And don’t dishearten if you miss a day or could not keep up your pace because remember, we all are together on this journey. Even if we miss the target line, we will still be one step ahead from where we started and closer to the finish line of our journey.

So what are you waiting for? Start and take up your challenge. And don’t forget to share your learnings in the next seven days.

Best Wishes,

Pratibha

I AM READY FOR THE CHALLENGE WEEK, ARE YOU?

challenges in life

Credits: Google Images

This is interesting.

No matter how hard we try to make our life smooth, comfortable, meaningful, goal oriented, purposeful and devoid of distractions but there are certain things which come in our life and make it hard, difficult and full of challenges.

So, here is the question:

Can we imagine our life without challenges?

I know, we can’t.

In fact, we can say that challenges in life are the things, situations and experiences which make our life more beautiful, colourful, funfilled, exciting and full of surprises.

Although, we can say that we do not like the way challenges come in our life and show their appearance, simply because they make us feel uncomfortable, appear as life threatening problems and strain us to move out of our comfort zones, but what if we change our perspective towards them?  What if we consider them as the harbingers of life lessons? What if we consider them catalysts of our success equations? And what if we consider them opportunities for shinning our character?

Couldn’t be that truly great? Of course, it would be.

Now why I am saying all this, is because of the fact that most of us are afraid of facing challenges in life. These challenges in life may come from anywhere, in any form. Many a times, they may even come from the situations and persons from which we have least expected them.

They may come without any prior information and may not let us know when and how they would move. They just pop up and when they come, we get stressed, feel out of sync, feel messed up, lose control of the situation and get distracted form our bigger goals and true purposes in life.

So, what is the point?

The point is, if we all can try to develop a perspective towards challenges in life, we could truly learn a lot from them.

Therefore, keeping the benefits of challenges in mind, I have decided to come up with the 7 DAYS SELF CHALLENGE WEEK  from 1st July to 7th July on this blog.

Why?

Because together on this community, trying out new things, would be great fun. In that coming week, we would try out different things.

We would try to eat the ugly frog in the morning. We would try to be more productive in a day. We would try to beat procrastination. We would try to connect with our inner selves. We would try to listen to people around us. We would try to be accountable for the things that we do in our lives. We would try to come out of our comfort zone. And we would try to do the things that matter most to us.

And by the end of the week, we would be able to analyse ourselves, we would be able to see how far we could stretch ourselves and we would be able to know our strengths and weaknesses.

I know, alone this exercise could be little boring and frustrating, but believe me when we would do it as part of the community, it could become interesting and engaging.

So, I invite you all along with your friends and members of family to join this 7 DAYS SELF CHALLENGE WEEK, where we would learn, try out new things, may fail in certain pursuits but will celebrate together about all the things that matter most to all of us.

I am ready.

Are you ready to join in?

9 LESSONS THAT TRAVELLING WILL TEACH US

Traval_imageCredits: Google Images

Hi,

I am back after enjoying my summer vacations. My vacations were great, full of fun, where I met some personal challenges and also learnt life’s beautiful lessons. There were certain things that went well, as expected; and certain things, that didn’t. Overall, vacation time was rewarding and exhausting together. Since travelling is part of vacations, today I would want to highlight 9 lessons that travelling experiences can teach us.

If I say that our life will be meaningless if we do not travel, it would not be an exaggeration, you know it. Travelling is a great learning institution in itself. Many travellers have proved it time and again. And it goes without saying that it is during those travelling experiences, we start taking a journey to our inner self, and gradually understand that knowing ‘thyself’ is the most important pursuit on the road to achieve success, happiness and satisfaction in our life.

So let us see how travelling can help us understand our own selves better, since in words of Danny Kaye, “to travel is to take a journey into yourself” and after knowing this axiomatic truth, shouldn’t we start travelling now onwards? Of course, we must. And here are the 9 lessons that travelling will teach us.

  1. Live each moment. This is the first and one of the most important lessons that travelling experiences will teach us. From getting our tickets booked, to boarding our flight, train or bus, we start experiencing and enjoying each part of our travelling journey. On Road, in metro, on shopping streets or boating in drizzling weather, we become one with our goal, our journey. It is the pursuit and the journey that brings enlightenment and happiness and we savour and live in the present and do not think about the past or future, our only concern seems to be capturing each moment of our journey and that’s what makes our journey more too special.
  2. Learn to be adaptable. The food, the climate, the culture, the people and the place where we stay force us to come out of our comfort zone. We see how quickly we try to adapt ourselves to the new place and soon, instead of looking and sounding like an alien from a different planet, we try to acclimatize and adapt ourselves to the culture of new place and people. And that’s what a skill and a new learning calls for. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that our travelling experience can even change our entire programming and conditioning of mind to an extent where we find our newer self.
  3. Love for adventure. Travelling and being a part of different adventures like bungee jumping, Para-gliding, scuba diving, glacier climbing, rock climbing, skiing, biking, and zorbing to name a few, require courage and our boldness quotient to be too high. And after experiencing these moments we understand what Helen Keller says that, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” We feel that our love for adventure and life had increased manifold and we experience our ever ready mode for all the unexpected and uncalled challenging experiences in our life to confront and be in control of.

    Adventure_imageCredits: Google Images

  4. Love for Nature. While marvelling at the Seven Wonders of the World, we appreciate and acknowledge the architectural human feat but suddenly when we stand in front of the Niyagra falls or Himalayan Range of mountains we observe the vastness of the nature and the world. The beauty of the species and the birds and the plants and the nature make us realize our own limitations and how we have been confined so far in these. Suddenly our own feelings of envy, jealous, selfishness, fears, anxieties and worries look small and meaningless. In that moment we appreciate the beauty of Wordsworth Daffodils and The World is Too Much with Us and understand the greatest lesson of compassion and love taught by the Mother Nature.
  5. Experiential Learning. Cancelled flight or delayed train,  unpredictable avalanche, silent night walks, night desert safari, confrontation with wild life animals which we have witnessed only on the National Geographic so far, they all become part of our memory and experiential learning. These gruelling and awesome travelling experiences give us abiding life lessons, which are difficult to erase from our memory.
  6. Learn Man and Manners. Travelling allows us to meet different people. We make friends with them and some of this friendship might turn into the most lasting relationships of our life. What we know may not help us and our entire learning may require a new theory and definition. It is not inside the class room that we learn the best and the most but it is our travelling experiences which act as the best workshop for learning the technical and the non technical stuff of life. We understand the human psychology and human needs and realize what it means to be on the road to self actualization.
  7. Love for History, Art, Culture and Cuisine. While travelling, our history lessons may suddenly conjure up in front of us when we visit the cities of Italy, Paris and Rome. Moreover, in our visits we also find developing of our sense of appreciation for the art, craft, stone work, tattoo making and many indigenous art works of a place which may hook us for too long due to their exquisite beauty. The rich cultural heritage of a place will allow us to understand our own culture from a different perspective and the food and cuisine of a place may convert us into a foodie or a connoisseur. With all these experiences, don’t we feel rich and awesome at heart already?
  8. Memories. We treasure memories. We make friends. We meet different people and get the opportunity to experience and learn from other culture making us feel richer, wiser and content. Time is more precious than money. When we calculate the amount of experience and wisdom and training gained in our travelling we decide that our travelling decision was the best. Soon we embark on another such quests.
  9. How to be Smarter. Travelling makes us a newer one, a smarter one and a better one. We become more global and cosmopolitan and gain a newer perspective to analyse and judge things, man and matters. Once we finalize our destination, book our tickets and reach to that place, we know and understand what it means to plan and prepare, well in advance. The same preparation and principles also apply in life. If we know where we want to go, we will reach there for sure. Travelling experiences teach these life lesson in the best and the most beautiful way.

So, it is not how long the journey is but how beautiful and memorable it is. We get life once and we must experience the best. We must visit the best places. Taste the best food. Have those life transforming experiences. And such things happen when we travel.

Hence, instead of waiting for our old age to come and execute some of our travelling dreams or postponing our travelling plans for tomorrow which never comes, we should get ready, decide the place, get our tickets done and be ready to explore our inner self once again, even when our vacations end. After all, The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page,says Saint Augustine.

9 WAYS TO MAKE MOST OF YOUR SUMMER VACATIONS

weekly-wallpaper-summer-vacationCredits: Google Images

Scorching Sun. Summer Time. Long days. And short nights. It’s now vacation time.

Anvay’s vacation has started and within two days he has already driven me crazy.

Hats off to all school teachers and to their level of patience and tolerance. Kudos to all of them. May God keep their spirits always high and may God give them enough strength . We moms, are nothing in their front.

Since it is vacation time, it is time to think and plan the ways to make our vacations engaging, meaningful, full of fun and energy boosting. So, here are some of the things that I quickly brainstormed for today’s post and rest I would want you all to add on, so that we all could make best use of our vacation time.

  1. Vacation= family trip. Vacation time is more or less synonymous with going on trip with all the members of our family. So, this is the time of the year, plan a trip and go to a place where you could enjoy the pleasant weather and scenic beauty and refresh yourself for the rest of the year.
  2. Vacation = Meeting cousins. This used to be my childhood vacation plan. I am sure it would have been your as well. Every vacation, we used to visit to Grandparents place and Nani maa’s house. And there, listening to ghostly stories and sleeping on terrace at night, used to be our most favourite time. I have beautiful memories of my childhood at my grandparents home and they are one of the best memories that I have. After all, as it is said, “you can always make money, but you cannot always make memories.” So, enjoy this memory making time and create and generate more memories with your cousins and relatives all this summer season.
  3. Vacation=Meeting with friends. Well, there can be no better therapy of rejuvenating your body, mind and soul than meeting your school or college friends and remembering all the crazy and amazing memories with them. All stories of our past and all things that we did at college and school days, we could take this, down the memory lane walk, along with our school and college friends and I am sure we all would have amazing time unlimited with all of them. So, be on the memory roller coaster ride with them and enjoy it. Plan this out. This would be truly a great fun. In short, party with friends.
  4. Vacation=Adventure. If you are an adventurer and has already your bucket list ready, then it is the time of the year when you should start challenging yourself and be ready to move out of your comfort zone. Sky diving, bungee jumping, scuba diving and many more which you know better than me, try out something truly daring. Go to camping out with your friends. Anything which you want to try new, try this year out!
  5. Vacation= Rest & Recreation. Take proper rest. Sleep as much as you can. For recreation, do whatever you have planned so far. You could watch Movies or make your own family movies. And if you are like me, you too would have a long list of movies, which you would want to watch, watch them all at this time of the year. This could be the best time. Listen to your favourite music albums and yes, shall I tell you to pick up your favourite novel, book or wisdom literature book? Now, is the time to enjoy them thoroughly.
  6. Vacation=Learning. If you want to learn a new skill or start a new habit. This is the time to start. You can join any hobby classes or any other online course to master a new skill within two months. Or if your have to appear in an exam at the end of the year, then use this time judiciously to prepare for that exam. Don’t waste your these days. These days could be truly productive and fruitful for you. Squeeze and extract best out of the 24 hours on a day.
  7. Vacation=Renovation. If you are not going anywhere, then you must clean your room, redecorate it and check your junk Quotient. This is the time, when you can patiently redecorate your room and home the way you want. Remove the clutter and energy trappers from your room and feel great after redecorating your dream home and room. Why not to give it a new life and look through our creativity in summers?
  8. Vacation=Volunteering. Yes, this is important. If you have time, then give your time to any volunteering work. You could help some NGO or engage in a cleanliness drive or get associated with any cause that you believe in. You would feel accomplished and great after volunteering even for a single week. Try this out. This is truly one of the best things that you could try this summer vacation. You could plan it with your family members and friends as well. Together with them, you would feel wonderful and amazing.
  9. Vacation=Connect with self. Relax. Take rest. Sleep as much as you can. Have fun. Meet friends and relatives. Enjoy volunteering. But don’t forget to connect with your inner self. Meditate. Communicate with your own self. This is truly important. Do I need to re-emphasize it again?

And yes, you could try and do many other things in your this vacation and while you do all those things that you want to do, don’t forget to share it with others. I would ask for your progress . I would want to know what you did, which book(s) you read, which movies did you watch and what skills did you hone or sharpen this summer?

Amidst all these, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated, drink lots of water, enjoy ice creams and multi coloured shakes because you would not want to have heat stroke in the middle of your summer vacations.

And yes, last thing, keep sharing your ideas and plans and what you all do and did. And if I get delayed in my response, then understand that I am away from home and will join you soon after my summer vacations.

Wishing you all a happy and amazing summer vacations !!

Are You Too Suffering From Ostrich Syndrome?

OS

Credits : Google Images

I have suffered from this syndrome many a times. I am sure you too would have. Now what to do?

Simple.

Diagnose the problem. Confront the situation. And solve the issue.

But before anything else, let’s see what is this Ostrich Syndrome and what to do with it?

Sticking its head in sand, the ostrich imagines itself safe from its predators. By doing this, it remains in the comfortable position and imagines itself to be safe from the impending danger.

Although this term is a myth now, but we, as individuals suffer form this syndrome in many ways. Instead of facing the challenges, roadblocks and issues in our day to day life, we apply this passive approach called the Ostrich Syndrome. We hide. We escape and we procrastinate until the danger or the problem comes too close.

So, be it our personal life or professional life, relationships or health issues, financial decisions or spiritual crisis , we have one area or the other in our life where we do not take the right actions required at the right moment. We wait. And we imagine that the problem will be sorted out automatically. We delay finding the root cause of the issues. Result. We all suffer form this syndrome called the Ostrich Syndrome.

I have many personal anecdotes which will explain my this tendency, but for today, I have one such incident, it is of the time when I was in grade XI. The Year was 1999.

It was my biology exam. I had always loved this subject but due to my unexpected poor performance in class X, I developed Exam Phobia. Since I was extremely afraid of exams after the results of class X, I got so scared of this paper that I decided to be down with fever. I did the worst. I behaved as If I had some neurological disorder or some psychotic trauma.I did not eat, nor did I turn the pages of my copy or the biology text book.

The entire purpose of this episode was not to appear in the exam. All I wanted to do was to escape from it and did not sit in the exam. It was according to me a situation where I suffered from this Ostrich Syndrome.

Yesterday was also one such case, details of which will be shared in coming posts, but the point is, I could now identify this syndrome. In this syndrome, instead of taking hold of the situation, we react or over react, we avoid or escape but do not respond to the situation.

So, now I hope that you too would be able to identify the areas in your life which calls for your action and proactive confrontation with the dealing of Ostrich Syndrome.

Therefore based on my recent confrontation with the problem and suggestions from my friends, here are the 6 steps that we all can take to avoid this syndrome and take hold of the problems and situations in life.

1. Zoom in and look for this syndrome. Just like we zoom the camera and focus the object to take the image, in the same manner we must zoom on the broader areas of our life which need our immediate handling of the problem or the situation. We need to be our own inspector and detector.

We must focus on finding out the root cause of the issue or the problem. If we could reach out to that, the problem could be sorted out soon, without much delay.

If we find ourselves too emotional or inefficient to deal with the challenges or the issues, we must seek the help of our mentors, parents or friends. Their experience can be of great value to us in diagnosis of the problem. Ask. Ask and Ask for their help.

2. Ask the Right Questions. Asking questions is a great way to propel yourself straight into the core of your problem. You win half the battle if you know what are the right questions.So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ask questions such as: What is holding you back from taking the control of the situation? Whose help you can seek to solve the issue or the problem? What strategy you could use?

Ask questions related with why, what, when, where, who and how. Dig deep into them. You will surely get the pearls of your answers.

3. Focus on the Outcome. Imagine of the time when the situation will be solved and how happy you would feel. Focus on the outcome and the time when the situation will be under your control and how relax and fulfilling you would feel.

If that outcome is truly rewarding and fulfilling you could push yourself for the action rather than hiding your face and escaping from the situation. This focus will force you to take hold of the situation and take immediate action.

4. Make a commitment. If the issue is too important in your life and you have been avoiding it since very long then you must make a public commitment.

By making a public commitment and talking to people about it, you will be forced to work on doing the project or solving the issue or the challenge. If not, then your own integrity and public image can be at stake. At any cost, you cannot afford to spoil that.

5. Take Action.  Taking action is a must. Don’t think for too long. Consistent actions will give you confidence and faith to move on the right track. Don’t wait for the right time or the right moment.

Because as Napoleon Hill says that “The time will never be just right.” So, make your each moment right. And take action.

6. Check your  own progress and revise it if needed. After taking consistent action for some time, it is important for you to keep a check and momentum of your progress. For this, analyse your actions taken, ask for the feedback and if needed, revise the whole plan.

If you feel alone, join the group of like-minded people. You will be motivated and committed to take consistent actions with the group then. Accountability will be important here.

Take little steps each day and do not get exhausted. If something is not working, change the technique or the strategy and be flexible in your moves. Once the results start showing up, keep going.

You will be happy to walk on the path that will make a big difference to your own life and the life of others. You will feel amazing when you see yourself confronting the real life challenge and see them contributing to your life.

Why Is Communication With Self So Important?

Dream

Credits: Google Images

Communication with others is easier but communication with self is the hardest. With others, it takes initiative, but with self it requires our inner strength and courage.

And today I am going to share with you one such communication.

Communication with self.

I am sharing with you how hard I struggled to write this post of today. It was unlike my earlier posts when I had felt Writing Muse being kind and happy with me and guiding me through the deluge of thoughts. It was unlike my earlier posts when I had always felt myself being the controller of my mind and thoughts . It was unlike my earlier posts when I had felt my creativity friend being sitting by my side and helping me to write playfully what all I had wanted to write.

But today was a different day. No matter how hard I tried to focus on the topic at hand, I was unable to pour my heart and soul into it. I felt my creativity being kidnapped and kept on hostage. I felt my ideas being arrested and jailed. What all I could do was watch my own tameless mind wandering from one point to another, and not allowing me to focus and concentrate on the single point on which I wanted to work and write so much.

I felt my WILL being chained and dragged in multiple directions. Sometimes, I even enjoyed its nomadic paths, while other times I felt frustrated and anguished. I failed miserably to work and produce the content for the post.

I saw myself stuck up in the bottle neck thoughts and the huge traffic snarl up. I got impatient. I felt frustrated and disappointed to look at the chaos and traffic of all thoughts around. And then, trying to force myself against all the wandering thoughts, I decided to concentrate on my writing of today. And then I felt:

Is this how people feel when they face the writer’s block? Is this what happens when people are not able to write despite their consistent efforts? Is this the reason why mastering of one’s mind is so important to get the desired results? Is this the reason why Lord Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita to discipline one’s mind with the practice of regular meditation?  And is this the reason why we all must engage in knowing thy inner self more than trying to know others ? I think  that answers are obvious.

I realized It takes time to clear the traffic and move ahead. I did the same. I waited for the other vehicle of thoughts to pass by and then moved forward with this post at hand.

I shifted my focus from my wandering mind to my purpose in this post. I analysed that I was not my mind at that time. I focused on the task at hand. I focused on you, waiting for my this post to come. I focused on my message. I focused on my discipline. I focused on the moment.

I then felt free. I allowed my mind to roam. Soon after it came to my rescue. I wrote word by word and moved bird by bird. For this I found to be the will of God.

I found my purpose. My purpose is to share with you one message through each post. My purpose today is to convey to you that spend time with your own self and engage in meaningful communication. And in the process know thy self and explore thy inner-self.

In this running of everyday affairs, we get so busy that we forget to communicate and spend some time with our inner selves.

And thus my messages to you in this post are simply these:

  • This weekend, promise to spend some quality and quantity time with your own self and retreat with your inner self.
  • Take out time to read your own thoughts, anxieties and fears. Spend some time to see your own flaws, vices and follies. Take out time to listen to your long latent projects, dreams and purposes and spend some time by writing your own story and plot of success forward.
  • Observe how when we communicate with self, we understand ourselves better and this helps us to understand others better. This allows us to connect deeply with our own selves and all around us. Our communication with self improves relationship with others.
  • When we interact, observe, analyse and reflect, these allow us to inspect the inner areas of our life which need work and renovation. Once we know the areas. We must start our inner work.
  • This communication will help us to reveal that our inner self is the richest source of eternal peace and happiness.
  • This communication will help us to see the inner richness and abundance in our life which we often chase in outer world.

Because as Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita says, “Self-knowledge alone is the means to the highest bliss.” And knowing this, shouldn’t we leave behind all the pity worries of the world and enjoy this rain of blissful knowledge everyday?  As Lao Tzu says “Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force. Mastering the self requires strength.” And then shouldn’t we bask everyday in the glory of this wisdom and muster our own self mastery strength?

So now, let’s walk on this self journey together and remember to master our inner self first.

Suggested Readings:

Collection of Free EBooks by Swami Vivekananda