Punctuate Life

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Blogging: My Road to Self Discovery

I still can’t believe I’m a blogger. I knew writing was in my soul but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine owning a blog. It was my cousin who led me down that path and before I knew it I had a website and was doling out my existential angst and advice by the bucketfuls. Here’s what a year of blogging taught me.

The First Step is the Hardest

I know that’s a cliche and has been done to death but anyone who ever had a major breakthrough in life would shout it out from the roof tops. The first blog I ever wrote and published as a note on Facebook was totally on a impulse. I didn’t fret about it and plan for months in advance. I just sat down and typed it all up in less than an hour and then published it. If I hadn’t taken that risk I wouldn’t be a blogger today.

Something Better

You get what you ask for or something better. I didn’t ask to be a blogger. In 2011 I was looking for writing gigs and met with no luck. At one point in my life I even questioned my ability to find a job – any job! I applied for jobs at banks, day care centers and preschools. I finally got a part-time job at a Kumon Center. It wasn’t my dream job but I felt I still had something to offer. Like I wasn’t worthless. A month later I had to quit and stay home because my daughter broke her arm. I was back to square one. I had no time to feel sorry for myself because my daughter needed me 24/7. A few months later I started blogging and a couple of months after that I had my own website! Now if I could only get paid to share my opinions!

Walk your Talk

It’s easy to give advice. Ever tried following your own advice? I couldn’t write about “Living Fearlessly” and be afraid of driving (outside my comfort zone) or salons anymore. I couldn’t preach about the universe and “Signs from Above” while I ignored all the signs that were appearing in my life. I had to align my life to be in sync with everything I believed. I had to live the life I was telling everybody about. Since writing the post on fear I’ve taken the wheel when we went on road trips and made two trips to the salon!

The Bigger Plan

In hindsight, there was nothing accidental about becoming a blogger. The Universe was nudging me all along. When I was foolish enough to question it, alarming and unmistakeable evidence presented itself.  It showed me that I was just an instrument and a higher purpose was being fulfilled through the blog. Case in point – my post “Love Never Dies”. I wrote it and didn’t publish it. The very same night my brother wrote to me saying his friend had lost her father. She used to read my posts and find comfort so he asked if  I could suggest one to help her grieve. I published the post and sent my brother a link. This has happened more than once. What can I say?  I’m blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I’m deeply grateful to be given this opportunity.

Expansion and Connection

The most rewarding thing about blogging is connecting with like-minded people. My experiences are not unique in that atleast a dozen other people have been through the same thing. The more I blog the less lonely I feel. I have kids, a spouse, neighbors and friends. Yet a part of me always felt lonely. The part that stayed under wraps for far too long. It’s this part that finds solace through my blog. The sensitive soul, yo-yo optimist, facebook activist and the many other sides of me that people never get to see. The parts of me that I am no longer ashamed of because through my blog I can reach out to some who can totally relate to my different avatars!

Blogging vs Venting

Blogging got me into the habit of writing every day or writing without the intent of posting. Why is this important? Because I almost ended up using my blog as a place to vent. By journaling regularly I could weed out stuff that wasn’t blog material even though it was cleverly disguised! It also got me into the habit of keeping a prayer/gratitude journal. This one habit has transformed my life.

It’s no surprise to me that my first post was “Experimenting with Miracles”. My blog is a little miracle to me even today!It has sown many seeds near and far. Seeds of magic, hope and possibility. It reminds me that miracles happen every day, we just have to believe!


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Can We All Get Along?

I’m not a black mother or a white mother. I’m just a mother. I’m not a black person or a white person. I’m just a person. With a beating heart that can break. With blood that runs through my veins. With a sense of right and wrong etched deep in my psyche. The very same psyche that screamed injustice! when George Zimmerman was pronounced not guilty.

I live in Florida, just an hour way from the place where Trayvon Martin was shot dead by an overzealous neighborhood watch citizen. It seemed like a clear cut case to me. Boy was unarmed, not trespassing or causing any trouble. Gets into a fight with Zimmerman, who decides to follow and then shoot the teen – when in the first place he should have simply waited for the police to get there. Clearly guilty, right? Atleast to me it seemed that way. So I didn’t really watch the trial in its entirety. On the night that the jury delivered its verdict I was up. I stared at the television screen and at the word ‘aquitted’ which my brain processed as ‘guilty’. That’s how sure I was that Zimmerman would pay for snuffing out the life of a child! Then it slowly sunk in. I was shocked!

Let’s go back in time. To about a decade ago. 1992 to be precise. The Rodney King case involving police brutality. Yes, the guy was a criminal on parole. Yes, he did not co-operate with the officers. Did he deserve to have most of his bones broken? No! 33 blows to get this man arrested ? No! All the officers were aquitted and then when the case went to the civil court two were pronounced guilty and two were aquitted. Maybe you felt Rodney King deserved it because he was a criminal. Maybe you sympathized with him. Maybe you were enraged by the whole thing. If you were Afro- American you told your sons to be cautious when approached by a police officer. To simply put your hands up and co-operate or get beaten to death!

Let’s go back to 1955. That is the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. Did you know that there was another woman by the name of Claudette Colvin who also refused to give up her seat on the bus and was dragged out and arrested? Do you know why they withdrew her case from the federal courts? She was pregnant and unmarried. Quoting from the book Rosa Parks : My story – If the white press got hold of that information, they would have a field day. They’d call her a bad girl and her case wouldn’t have a chance. So Rosa Parks was the chosen one – the one who would rid America of segregation on the bus.

Go back to the 1800s when the Ku Klux Klan was terrorizing the Southern States. You don’t even have to go back that far to arrive at a place in history where a black man could be shot by a white man for simply being sassy. The law did not protect the lives of black men, women or children.

I could keep going back in history to prove how much injustice has been meted out to the black people. But that would not help any of us. I just wanted to show you how far we have come and how much more work needs to be done. Going back to Trayvon Martin, and I think his name is no coincidence (just like Rodney King), I was amazed by the strength and dignity shown by his parents. They are aware as I am now that their son was part of a bigger plan. A plan to take a good look at the law books and change things that are not working. We also need to take a good long look at ourselves and see where we fall short as human beings. Where we let inequality, labels and sterotypes to govern our judgement. Where we let the vestiges of the past take control of our actions.

Why am I writing about this? I owe it to fellow blogger Eva who said – I’m plagued today for the same reason so many black parents are: we just watched a jury in the lawless state of Florida acquit George Zimmerman in the senseless and blatantly racial murder of Trayvon Martin…and we have children that by now we’ve had to explain it to.

I may not be Afro-American but I have read enough of American history to know what race is. In India it’s the caste system and other countries have other systems in place that reek of segregation. When President Obama was elected in 2009 it felt like America had taken a huge stride toward liberty and equality. But we still have some cob-webs to clean and some fine-tuning to be done. Many people are disheartened by the verdict and feel like things will not change in their lifetime. Imagine if Lincoln gave up on the 13th amendment! Imagine if only whites could vote today would Obama be our president? We cannot look back, we have to keep looking forward and we have to stop segregating the fight for justice. It’s everyone’s fight. Not just the black people! It’s not just America’s fight. It’s every nation’s fight for justice and an end of discrimination based on your skin color, nationality, caste, immigration status, gender, disability…the list goes on.

I’m not black and I’m not white. I’m a mother and I feel the pain of a mother who has lost her son. I ask each one of you to reach inside yourselves and really try to relate to this case. Put aside the facts, the media hype and the 10,000 analyses. Just ask yourself and you will know right from wrong. Knowing isn’t good enough, you need to start a conversation and get people to talk and take action. I just did. Now it’s your turn…

 


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Dear Universe…

I have stayed positive, written in my gratitude journal, prayed every day and tried to be one with your flow. And nothing! Zilch!

I know you hate it when I live in the past but I can’t help it. Just look at last year – 2012. It was nothing short of magical. You got me writing again after a long hiatus and people were actually reading my posts! You egged me on to start my own website and I did. It was scary but I got all the support I needed thanks to you. I even got my posts published in other websites. I started off with zero confidence in my skills as a writer and by the December of 2012 you had me thinking that I could write a book! I felt free, fully alive and at the height of my creativity.

Magical meetings with old friends, a trip to India at very short notice to attend my cousin’s wedding and miraculous healing – you made all this and more possible! The new year 2013 looked full of promise and I happily jumped headlong into it. And then splat! I fell on my face! Without any warning. It was painful. I felt abandoned. The magic was gone. The creativity barely trickling. I had a good mind to quit and go hide in the bowels of the earth where no one would find me. But I had kids who looked up to me and I had readers I was accountable to. And then there was my baby – my website.

It took all of my strength to keep myself from sinking into dark despair and deep depression. Everyday I told myself that things would get better. I just need to keep at it. The creativity will flow again. This dry spell will pass. Month after month went by in banality, half-alive, hanging by a thread.

You sent many distractions my way to shift my focus. People who needed support, prayers and healing. It was your way of preventing me from having a meltdown. As much as I appreciate what you did I can’t help asking – where was the support I so badly needed. Why were you holding it back from me?

It’s July now and things haven’t changed. I wanted a fresh start, something different but you thwarted it. So I’m back to where I started. Sometimes I just want to scream till I can scream no more. It’s like every cell in my body is calling out for help. But you turn a deaf ear to me.

Yes you keep sending me signs – pennies here, clover leaves there, butterflies everywhere. Just the other day I was walking in the mall and having a conversation with you. I give up. I can’t take this anymore! I look down and I see a penny. Very funny!

You know how patient I’ve been. You know how long I have waited to finally do what I love and then you just expect me to give up the binky cold turkey?

Maybe I should just write off this year. It’s sort of like a ‘test year’ isn’t it? You are watching me and watching my every move. You want to know if I will throw it all away when the frustration peaks. Or do I want it so bad that I will keep on going on even though it feels like I have iron shackles on my feet. You want to see if I have truly overcome the demons of the past that keep dragging me down away from your light. Will I still be able to spread the light, despite fear and doubt gnawing at my heart.

Are you happy with the way I dealt with everything you threw at me this year? I think so! The struggle was under the surface. Outside it was business as usual – kids, blog and everyday life. I watched others struggle with major crises in their lives. The drama in the world escalated. It was hard to wake up every day to the constant chatter of death, injustice and despair.

But through your infinite grace you sent little rays of light in what would have otherwise been an endless tunnel of darkness. Although the magic had temporarily left my life I could see it unfolding in the lives of many a friend. Friends who had waited patiently for many years, praying and hoping for something to manifest. Folks in a slump who found renewed strength and pulled themselves up to face the world again. It made me feel so happy and thankful to finally see them have breakthroughs.

On a final note, I have no idea what your plans for me are. Why don’t you just surprise me? In the mean time I have enough evidence from my own life and  from friends and family to simply sit tight and wait it out. I know you are busy working things out for me now. In your own way. In your own time. All I can do is trust and stay open until you work your magic again.

 


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You have the Universe and All its Treasures at Your Feet

We all grew up with a lack mentality. The illusion of not having enough. Even if you were well-off you had to face a world of inequality and injustice at every level. Poverty, illness, death and disease was the fate of the unfortunate or so you believed. Like the Gods didn’t favor them for some reason.

Of late I’ve come to believe that all the inequalities we see, all the injustices and blatant violation of human rights are all created by man. Grace, abundance, love and joy are freely available. It’s like the sun which shines on all, no matter if you’re rich or poor, saint or sinner, fat or skinny, healthy or diseased. God’s grace is shining on every soul at every moment. Then why is there suffering you ask? Because you have this thing called the mind that can play devil’s advocate from time to time. You filter the world through your mind, based on your past experiences.  After all, you don’t absorb much of the sun’s radiation if you sit indoors with the windows shuttered and the drapes drawn. If your mind shuts out the grace and healing that is available to you every moment, then who is to blame?

The mind is a tricky entity to deal with. I’m still irked by how it sneaks unwanted thoughts and beliefs into my psyche. One night I was up watching TV all by myself. A beautiful actress with long hair and perfect skin appeared and I mentally sighed. I’ve had issues with my stomach, skin and hair for sometime now. I’ve tried creams, shampoos and diets but nothing worked for me. This Hollywood beauty had top dermatologists and hair stylists at her beck and call. Poor me, what could I do? I’ll just have to suck it up and make peace with my not-so-perfect health!

I’ve had this limiting thought so many times but this time I realized how it was preventing me from finding solutions to my problems. I felt I needed to be someone else, somewhere else in order to be healed! It’s all there for me and everyone else who wants it. I was just pushing it away with my mind and its irrational thoughts. This reminded me of the clip-on mosquito repellent ad. It was like I had a giant bubble around me preventing me from soaking up all the healing, love and abundance I needed.

As a Reiki healer I have felt these bubbles or blocks energetically. Reiki is a healing technique that involves laying your hands on a person and requesting Reiki energy to flow through you from the cosmos to the person to facilitate healing. People who have a mental block or don’t trust that they can be healed don’t allow the energy to pass through them and in effect prevent their own good or healing from happening. Remember I said cosmos – the air around us is full of prana, chi or life force. You can tap into it right now even without being attuned to Reiki. Breathe it in and allow it to heal you. Stop the constant chatter of your mind and allow your highest good to unfold now. Yes now! You can be whole, perfect and abundant in an instant.

How else can you explain classic rags to riches stories? Homeless people winning lotteries and becoming millionaires. Orphans growing up to be great spiritual masters. Miraculous healing beyond all odds. They all tuned into the love and abundance of the universe and tuned out the illusions created by the mind. The Tao teaches us to become one with the universe in order to be whole and complete. To be one with the universe is to be one with love, compassion and abundance. Then you want for nothing and everything is freely available to you. The universe gives freely of its abundant, inexhaustible resources. When you give with the same spirit then all the abundance you can imagine will lay at your feet.

In order to be healed you must give up thoughts of being imperfect or broken beyond fixing. Of course you will need to make changes to your diet or lifestyle as guided. But your success largely depends on your beliefs about whether you can be healed or not. For years I felt healing was something that came from the outside. I could help others feel better but when it came to healing myself I had little success. A bad case of throat infection that refused to go away with antibiotics got me anxious. I was to travel to India in less than a week and I had no energy to pack. I wanted the healing and I wanted it bad! So I lay down and placed my hands on my throat. The old doubts about self-healing surfaced and tormented my mind but a wave of trust placated it. In a few days I was out of it and felt much better. I went on to have a fabulous vacation in India.

Louise Hay says in her book, “You Can Heal Your Life”, abundance is like the ocean. Some come to fill up tiny cups and others come with tankers.

So what will it be for you? A tiny cup or a tanker. Do you want to be out soaking up the grace or in a room with the doors and windows locked and shuttered? It’s all up to you, for the wealth of the universe lies at your feet!