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7 Tools to Deal with Stress

Years ago when I was in India without a job and without my own place, I was under a lot of stress. I was eating and sleeping well and generally healthy. But I was losing weight. An aunt suggested that I start drinking Ensure to improve my health and increase my weight. I consumed bottle after bottle of Ensure and was still losing weight. My parents were so concerned that they took me to a doctor and he ordered a full blood report. When the results came back ‘normal’ he said it was because of stress.

When my circumstances changed, I automatically gained weight and looked healthier. Stress is something we downplay in our lives. It seeps in, adds up and before you know it, stress wreaks havoc in your physical and mental health.

Stress Affects your Mind and Body

Stress affects digestion and can cause ulcers and gastritis. It robs you of good quality sleep because stress hormones keep you in the fight or flight state, day in and day out. When you sleep, your body repairs and restores tissues. Without good quality sleep, your immunity goes down and you tend to fall sick more often.

Prolonged stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, leaving you tired all the time. It also affects your happiness and your relationships. You tend to be more irritable and get easily frustrated. Emotional stress can also lead to depression.

Remember our bodies are not designed to be in a constant state of stress. And because stress is cumulative, it is so important to find ways to alleviate stress on a daily basis.

Together, these techniques pack a punch and before you know it, you will be on your way to a happier and healthier life.

1. Eat Healthy

You are more likely to eat junk food when you are stressed out, as a way of comforting yourself. But this does more damage in the long run. So make it a habit to eat healthy every day. Add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. Eat home cooked meals. Some people find cooking therapeutic and relaxing after a long day at work. If this is you, go for it. Stock all the ingredients so you have everything at hand to make a nutritious meal from scratch. Have a good multivitamin every day. Include more magnesium in your diet to combat stress. Drink plenty of water and reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both substances mess with your sleep cycle.

2. Exercise for 30 minutes

Hit the gym for thirty minutes or go for a brisk walk. Dance or do yoga. Just get moving and get those endorphins pumping through your blood. Endorphins make you feel good and exercising regularly improves your ability to deal with stress. Don’t do rigorous exercise right before bed time or you will have a hard time falling asleep.

3. Practice Deep Breathing

I cannot stress (pun intended) the importance of deep breathing several times a day. Especially deep abdominal breathing with slow exhalation. The reason this works is that slow exhalation activates the parasympathetic nervous system which makes the body calm down. Set a reminder on your phone so you remember to breathe deeply and slowly at least three or four times a day. Doing it before an event that you consider stress-inducing also helps.

4. Meditate

Learn to meditate. I think meditation is a life skill. It should be taught to kids so they grow up knowing how to operate from a state of calm. Everyone is different. So the meditation technique that will be a good fit for you is something you have to figure out on your own. Try different techniques and see what works for you. Silently chanting a mantra in your head works if your mind is over active. Some people like guided meditations. Others like to focus on their breathing to still their mind. Nothing busts stress like meditation. It makes you calmer and more grounded. If you are not getting enough sleep because you are stressed or your mind keeps racing, meditate. Meditating for 20 to 30 minutes is equivalent to getting 4 to 6 hours of sleep.

5. Practice Full Body Relaxation

Learn how to relax every muscle in your body from head to toe. Do it before going to sleep. It helps you sleep soundly and you feel refreshed when you wake up. Stress stored in the body causes aches and pains, tight muscles and knots. Practicing deep relaxation techniques helps release the stress at a physical level.

6. Connect with Nature

Nature is the best stress buster. Just walking through your garden or a wooded trail and being conscious of the trees and the flowers around you can lift your spirits. We belong to the earth and sometimes in our busy lives we forget this and stay cooped up indoors (happening more now because of the C virus) all day. We are wired to be in nature and not with electronics. So make it a point to step outside every day and connect with nature. You will feel calmer and more grounded.

7. Seek Professional Help

If you constantly feel stressed no matter what, then it’s time to seek professional help. Stress over time can become a conditioned response and you may have to learn new and positive ways of dealing with stress. A psychologist can give you the tools to manage day to day stress. Energy healing can also help with symptoms of stress that do not respond to medication.

How do you cope with stress? Do you use herbs or acupuncture or EFT? I would love to hear from you.


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Living Life to the Fullest

Imagine yourself on your deathbed. No, really! Take a moment and imagine that. Will you be happy that you lived your life in the best way possible? Will you have a sense of satisfaction that you pursued all your dreams and made them come true? Or would you be wringing your hands in despair thinking of all the time you wasted and the unfulfilled dreams that would die with you?

I came across the phrase ‘deathbed mentality’ in Robin Sharma’s book “The Monk who Sold his Ferrari.” It caught my fancy because a year ago I had a close brush with death. The kind that makes you question your choices in life. It totally shook and dismantled my life. Back then it was scary and unsettling to throw away everything familiar and follow my dreams. But now I have no regrets.

It helps that I maintain a journal and can look back at events from my life and how things unfolded over the years. One of the things I wanted to do post-accident, was to get my book published. I’m closer to that dream now because I wake up every day thankful for being alive but also painfully aware that it could be my last. This mentality stops me from wasting time on meaningless activities.

The second thing on my to-do list was to reach out to people that needed healing and to use my gift to make this world a better place. I’m happy to report that over the past year I have been able to serve so many people—some acquaintances, some old friends, some total strangers who then became friends.

And the last item on my list was to have relationships that were uplifting and nurturing. I’ve been with my parents for the past six months—the longest time I have spent with them since I got married. I’ve reconnected with lovely friends from my past who have lifted my spirits and nourished my soul. My dad visited me in the U.S. and I had him all to myself for a whole month.

My life is not perfect by other people’s standards. I’m stuck in India without my kids and have no idea when I can go back. I don’t have a full-time job anymore. But I wake up every day thanking God that I’m still alive and that I get to pursue my goals with unbridled passion. I’m grateful that I can reach out to so many people and heal them or equip them with tools that will bring balance and joy into their lives.

I don’t waste my time anymore. I create, I serve to the best of my ability, and I honor and nurture my body. And all the while, I imagine myself on that fateful evening, sitting in the driver’s seat of a Prius that was spinning around after being t-boned. What if I had died that day? I had so many untold stories inside me. So many visions that would never have turned into reality. No! I must press on. I have today and I insist on making the most of it.

Don’t wait for an accident to jerk you out of your stupor and reclaim your life. Every living, breathing moment is precious. Take stock of your life. Are you living your dreams or are you simply existing? I’m not asking you to quit your job and become a hippie. I’m asking you to take time every day to do the things that are important to you and that bring you joy and make the world a better place. Love a little harder, play a little nicer, and don’t ever take the life you have for granted.

 

 

 


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Hello From the Other Side and Other Signs of Afterlife

Ganga’s gone. Physically gone. Her obituary appeared in the Manorama newspaper yesterday. So it must be true. I find it hard to believe, because I wasn’t there when it happened. Chennai was in a lock down and Dad and I couldn’t travel to Palakkad for her funeral. How cruel is this life that we couldn’t be with the one person who has been with us through the good and the bad and everything in between. None of her loved ones were with her when she passed away.

As I sat in Chennai praying for her soul, I heard the phone ring. I answered and the person on the ‘other side’ said she was Thankam’s (Ganga’s) granddaughter. I told her that I was also her granddaughter. After talking to her for a few minutes I handed the phone to my mother. Later, I asked my mom who it was, because the lady on the phone had never mentioned her name. My mom told me her name was Indira. Indira also happens to be my grandma’s name.

Later that evening, the Roman clock that was a farewell gift to my grandpa when he left England, chimed once. The clock doesn’t work and hasn’t been wound up in a while. It hasn’t chimed even once since January, which is when I landed in Chennai. Coincidence? I think not!

It was as if both my grandma and grandpa were letting me know that Ganga was not alone and that they were there with her. I also found feathers and saw a lot of butterflies over the past week. An old family friend who also works with energy told me that Ganga’s energy was almost angelic and that she was definitely at peace. I wasn’t surprised because even in life she was a magnanimous soul. The kind that could give endlessly without ever running dry.

A couple of days ago, while sifting through old albums to find a picture of Ganga for the obituary page, I chanced upon a picture of a very close family friend who had passed away several years ago. She also knew Ganga very well. I sent the picture to her daughter and after sending it realized that it was her mom’s birthday. Was she also letting me know that she is with Ganga?

And then someone called me a gem just out of the blue. That’s my nickname that grandma came up with. It was like all the departed souls who knew Ganga were letting me know (in no subtle way) that she was fine. She was not alone. And they were all having a lovely reunion on the other side. Death is not the end. The soul goes on. And love goes on. That love is something I can always connect to. Not through painful memories but through all the love I received from Ganga when she was alive. True, I cannot hug her again or eat out of her hands or smell the scent of sandalwood on her skin. Nor can I hear her laugh till tears came out of her eyes or see her wide smile as she spotted me coming home from school. But I can close my eyes and feel her love well up in my heart and course through my veins. A love so strong that even death cannot dampen it.

I will love you, Ganga, always and forever. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love looks like. May our souls always stay connected through lifetimes to come.

P.S. The title for this blog post was a whisper from the other side. I randomly started singing Adele’s song “Hello” in my head. “Hello from the other side” is the song’s refrain. Also read “Love Never Dies” which is about how I feel my deceased grandma’s presence even today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Runaway

I ran and I ran, not knowing what I was running from,

I thought it was the people in my life I was running from,

I thought it was the place I was running from.,

I thought it was the problems I was running from,

I did not stop until I was several continents away,

Till several seas and mountains separated me and all that I had run away from.

 

I did not pause after that,

I filled my days with chatter and travel and social visits,

All distractions.

Until one fine day I found myself forced to slow down and stay,

Forced to fall into the rhythm of routine once again,

Forced to deal with the demons within,

When I stopped looking outside, the answers came from deep down.

 

I was never the victim,

There was nothing to run from,

Only my delusional mind creating drama in its wake,

I may be far away from home but I am not homeless,

I may be unemployed but all my basic needs are met,

And love, beyond my limited definition of it, finds me every day,

And holds me in its comforting embrace,

For this and more I am thankful and feel infinitely blessed.


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Driftwood

I have a one-way ticket home,

No clue where I’ll go from there,

Definitions of home are blurry right now,

Is it the place you share with people you care for?

Or is it the place where all the people who care for you live?

I’ve been cut loose after being anchored for so long.

Maybe drifting is in order now,

After years of digging my heels and growing roots in quicksand,

I didn’t know I was choosing to drown.

Now I’m thrashing around gasping for air,

If only I could relax and go with the flow,

Go wherever the current will take me.

I feel an invisible hand bending the waves and exposing deep perils,

Gently tossing me against rocks when I can go no more,

At times I surrender to this and feel the peace wash over me,

And sometimes I let my delirious mind spin tales of horror and despair.

Yet again I find myself struggling to keep my head above the water,

I let the heavy thoughts drag me down until I can breathe no more,

And just when my lungs feel like they would burst,

There it is again,

A light hovering above the water, beckoning,

As I look at it, it draws me towards it,

It’s pull is undeniably magnetic.

I emerge out of the water sputtering,

The light flits away and disappears,

I search in the distance hither and thither,

Looking for this unspeakable miracle light,

But fail to find it.

It has done its job,

I’m above the water and breathing,

It will be back again in some other form,

When the weight of the world threatens to submerge me,

Until then I will be driftwood and allow myself to be led,

Home.

 


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30 Days of Meditation

I won’t lie. The car accident left me emotionally scarred. Right after it happened I wasn’t sure if I’d ever drive again. I had a hard time focusing at work and the smallest frustration made me burst into tears. Physically, I had escaped with a few scratches and bruises but emotionally, I was a mess. I took a week off from work to rest and heal. My nervous system was on overload and I felt like one small incident would lead to a breakdown. That’s when I turned to meditation. For thirty minutes everyday I sat down with some meditation music and tried to empty my mind of all the agonizing thoughts it was spitting out by the second. When I was done my mind would start all over again. But it got easier every day. I looked forward to 30 minutes of being free of my mind and it’s depressing thoughts. Some days I did better than others and some days I slipped back into depression.

But something egged me to keep going and I did. Now the lows are fewer and less frequent. I don’t wake up dreading what ugly thoughts my mind will conjure up for me. I found the courage to start driving again. I never thought I’d do that! It felt like the old fear of driving would now overrule all the confidence I had built up in 10 years of sitting behind the wheel.

I quit my job at the end of August and I’m facing another big fear again—finding a job. If you follow my blog, you know how much I have struggled with getting back to work after raising my kids for over a decade. Part of me thinks I’m a dunce to throw away a perfectly good job on a whim. But the deeper part of me that I dig into when I meditate tells me I did the right thing. Again I’m surprised that I’m not freaking out right now. A month into the job search and I haven’t landed a job. But instead of losing it, I’m more balanced and I’m more confident; another result of my daily practice.

Back when I was living in Florida, I used to meditate almost everyday. These were my early days of blogging and I found that ideas would pop into my head effortlessly during the day. Sometimes even during meditation. It has happened rather infrequently after that. Probably because I stopped meditating regularly and got sucked into the busy, busy,  busy, always-busy rut. Now after meditating for over a month I feel like I can hear the whispers of creativity again. Just yesterday when I was thinking about a title for this blog, I tried using my brain to come up with a suitable title. But none of them sounded right. I gave up and then when I was doing something else the title “30 Days of Meditation” popped into my head and I just knew this was the one I’d go with.

Another funny thing happened after I started meditating. I decided to go vegan. This was my second attempt at going vegan and I approached it with a little wariness. My last attempt fell flat because I went cold turkey. I couldn’t drink tea with soy milk. The soy milk didn’t agree with me and left me gassy and bloated. I was looking for support from family and got none. They felt being vegetarian was bad enough! This time I knew what I was getting into. I don’t drink tea anymore and I got almond milk instead of soy milk. I eased myself through the process of giving up dairy. First, I gave up milk and butter, then cheese and yogurt. The last one was difficult because I love yogurt—with rice and pickle or strawberry flavored. But I wasn’t willing to buy a 4 oz. container of coconut yogurt for $1.45 at Traders Joe’s. Chocolate wasn’t so hard to give up because I don’t have it every day. But I’m going to treat myself with a vegan bar ever month. I have to thank Nisha Vora and her book “The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook” for making vegan cooking look so glamorous! And no my family was not supportive this time either but soon realized I’m not backing out and that I had all the support I needed to do this from the inside.

Now, what I experienced is not new. My brother reported not wanting to eat meat for weeks after coming back from a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. And he’s the guy that loves meat, even game meat! And in this book about meditation I picked up, “Success Through Stillness,” the author Russel Simmons, mentions the same thing. He even claims it can help people with addictions. The book reinforced all that I had experienced after 30 days of meditation and that’s when I realized like Russell that meditation is not getting all the attention it should.

So I urge you to start a practice, even if there is seemingly nothing wrong with you physically, mentally, or emotionally. Just sitting in stillness and focusing on your breath or a mantra for twenty minutes a day can change your life. You will feel like a different person; you will feel more alive, creative, balanced, and in control. You will achieve a lot more with little effort. You can drop addictions, lower your blood pressure, lose weight, ease symptoms of depression, and achieve anything because you can now tap into a part of your brain that was shut out because of the constant nonsensical chatter in your head. Move over wrinkle creams! Meditation has been proven to lengthen your telomeres and slow cellular aging. Don’t take my word for it. Go look up studies and research articles online and you’ll have a mountain of evidence that meditation is good for you.

I for one don’t put stuff on my blog unless I have experienced it or benefited from it or if it could be a cautionary tale for others. As someone who has grappled with depression in the past, I know how hard it is to get out of your mind and the looping negative thoughts. I thought after the accident that I was going to have another debilitating depressive episode and it would take me months to come out of it. And I’d need pills and therapy. But I’m out of it and I owe it to meditation. It also helped me reach out to people who were supportive and gave me the strength to get out of it. I do want to say if you need help please seek it but also add meditation to your daily regimen to augment your treatment.

Lastly, I want to say that a lot of celebrities (Oprah, Ellen, Deepak Chopra to name a few) meditate and they have to make time in their hectic schedules to do it. But they do it because like me they have seen an incredible transformation in their lives. So just start and keep at it. If you don’t know how, look up YouTube videos. Deepak Chopra has some good ones. You can also pick up Russell Williams book where he guides you through Transcendental Meditation.

Do any of you meditate on a regular basis? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Here’s to your good health and me landing my dream job!

 


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Energy Healing 101

For most people the body is a solid tangible entity and the core reality of their existence. They forget that everything in this universe and beyond is energy and besides what is visible to the naked eye is a whole other subtle world that influences our reality. Without this energy or life force (chi or prana in eastern traditions) the body would simply be a corpse.

Our thoughts, emotions, and feelings emit a frequency, an energy if you will, that is palpable if you are discerning. Everyone is aware of this at some deep level but often dismisses it for things perceived by the senses. Regular folk who walk on sites that used to be concentration camps or battlefields can sense the pain, fear, and despair because these places are drenched in those energies. On the flip side when people visit a monastery, meditation center or place of worship they can feel the peace and almost always come back feeling good.

Think about it. Some places or people always make you feel peaceful and calm while others trigger unpleasant emotions. So what is it you are picking up on? Surely not the external appearance of things! Someone could be smiling at you and quietly cursing you in their head and somehow you know. You are picking up on their energy.

Apart from the physical body we all have an energy body that is greatly influenced by the food we eat, our predominant emotions and thoughts, all of which are different forms of energy. This energy influences our physiology and as a result our body. This is probably old news. Doctors have been talking about the mind-body connection for several years now. But what is interesting is that more and more doctors and hospitals are offering alternative and energy healing therapies in addition to regular treatment options.

My introduction to energy medicine came at a young age. A Reiki Master came to my college and gave a talk on energy healing and I was instantly drawn to it. I did my Reiki Level 1 with my Reiki Master, Nirupama Prasad. After that I was doing hands-on healing for family and friends and also started meditating on a regular basis. I ended up doing Reiki Level 2 as well, which allowed me to do distant healing. I sent Reiki to my babies when I was pregnant and both my kids were born healthy and through normal delivery. I have this on again and off again relationship with Reiki for several years now. But a few years ago I noticed a great surge of energy every time I did Reiki. My daughter started believing in Reiki after I got Lucky, our cat, to sit on my lap while I did Reiki. She closed her eyes, became very still and seemed to enjoy it. As a matter of fact, animals and plants respond very well to Reiki.

So what is Reiki? It is cosmic or divine energy (prana or chi) that is all around us. Reiki healers can channel this energy through their body and out of their hands to the patient. They don’t draw their own energy. This is important to note because some people worry that the Reiki healer’s energy will get depleted because they are sharing it with others. Contrary to this notion, healers feel energized after a Reiki session. They allow the divine energy to flow through them and fill them up before channeling it to the patient.

Reiki treatments are very effective for aches and pains. After a couple of treatments, the pain subsides or completely disappears. The patient also feels relaxed, sleeps better, and is emotionally balanced after a session. There are stories out there about Reiki curing cancer, reversing hearing loss,  and healing bones. I did Reiki for A when she broke her elbow. She reminded me that the cast came off two weeks before it was supposed to. The orthopedic surgeon was surprised and asked us if she had eaten a lot of cheese!

Over the years I’ve been wary of openly proclaiming the miraculous powers of Reiki or energy healing. Many thought I was weird, out there, cray cray, cuckoo for talking about it. But these days Reiki has become more mainstream and less “out there” and “alternative”. There are doctors in Duke Hospital who are also Reiki healers. Duke even offers Reiki Level 1 and 2 as part of their integrative medicine initiative.

I was surprised the other day when “Saving Hope” a medical drama series that explores near death experiences introduced a Reiki healer talking about the heart chakra of a comatose patient. Usually the media stereotype for spiritual or new age folk is a blundering fool who talks funny and can’t fit in with regular folk who constantly poke fun at their weird rituals. So it was refreshing to see that the surgeon in this serial wanted to give Reiki a shot to save her patient.

Alternative medicine (acupressure, acupuncture, Reiki, naturopathy, homeopathy, etc.) is gaining more acceptance. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that there is more to life than just this body and material acceptance. Also they are tired of popping pills and dealing with side effects. While alternative medicine cannot completely replace Western medicine, it can surely hasten the healing and reduce side effects. And more and more doctors and patients are becoming aware of this.

My aunt can’t pop pills when she is in pain since she is allergic to several pain killers. So I find myself doing Reiki for her whenever she is dealing with pain. These days she refuses to go see a doctor and insists that Reiki will heal her.

After the accident, I plunged into Reiki and meditation with renewed vigor. A month ago I was a nervous wreck – weepy, emotional, withdrawn, and barely able to function. After a month of Reiki and meditation, I feel more balanced, positive, and in control. I drove again for the first time after the accident and wasn’t crippled by fear or anxiety. It’s a miracle! I never thought I’d get out of it. I thought my old fear of driving would possess me, now that it had some external validation.

I decided to offer Reiki to people outside of my immediate circle because I have witnessed its immense power and miraculous results. If you are still skeptical, give it a shot. You’ll be surprised at the results. I always am!

If you have any questions or need more information please share them in the comments section and I will be more than happy to go deeper into this subject.


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The Best Job in the World

The other day while surfing channels I chanced upon a news story that made me stop. A janitor was cleaning floors at a school and the reporter was saying that we shouldn’t judge a person by the work they do. And yet I had made a lot of assumptions about this silver-haired person with a mop in his hand. Uneducated, poor, can’t afford to retire were some of the things that crossed my head. I was in for a shock when the reporter revealed that the unassuming janitor was actually part of a team of engineers that sent astronauts to the moon!

So what was he doing cleaning floors for a living? He had suffered a stroke which impaired his cognitive memory. So the former electromagnetic engineer had to give up his career of choice and took up a job as a janitor to stay  healthy and keep himself occupied. In the process he has struck quite a rapport with the students, who love hearing about his mission to the moon and give him hugs and high-fives.

When posed with this tricky question, “Would you go back to your old job if you got your cognitive memory back?” the former engineer said that he loved his job and would not trade it for anything. “These kids say – I love you and thank you – not something I heard from NASA as far as I can remember,” said the old man.

Watching this reminded me of my short stint as a teacher and being associated with children and schools in any capacity. The pay wasn’t that great but I loved every minute of it. Kids are unpretentious and genuine. It is a gift to work with them and for them. After that it is always difficult dealing with adults.

Hugs, laughter, games, cards, and flowers are given freely to show you that they care. I remember when I had to leave a long-term substitute position because I was moving (story of my life!), the whole class made cards for me and I had only worked with them for a month! If the schools in my county did not require substitutes to complete a mandatory training, I very well would still be working in a school. I look back at those days and see all those innocent faces, the laughter, the tears, the skinned knees, the hugs and the sweetest compliments, and it warms my heart more than a fat pay check or a promotion.

I feel incredibly grateful that the universe gave me the opportunity to work with children, to touch their lives and to be touched by their grace, beauty, wisdom, genuine love and affection.


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So I’m Bossy Now

The other day my husband remarked, “Of late you’ve become so bossy.” I told him I was tired of being nice because I never got anything I wanted. The kids keep telling me to stop yelling and I’m like if I ask you nicely you just don’t do it,  so I have to yell to get you guys to listen to me. I’m just sick and tired of us women being told to be nice and quiet while every Tom, Dick and Harry steamrolls over us and hands us a cartload of patriarchal nonsense.

I stopped caring about what people thought about me and started thinking about me and what I need to be happy. I think it’s called taking charge, being in control. If you find me loud and obnoxious – I don’t care. Just like you didn’t care about anything I wanted or expected out of you!

When men do it, they are applauded for strength of character and leadership skills and when women so much as raise their voice they are bossy, intimidating and unlikeable. Well sorry! We’re done with the all cute and cuddly purring kitten types that are dripping honey and hanging on your every word. You stepped on our tails more than once and we’re lashing out with our teeth and claws.

You wax eloquent about your stressful day and how much you have accomplished while we straddle corporate careers and motherhood, cooking gourmet meals and coding and so much more that your testosterone-filled veins can handle for a day.  And yet WE are the fairer sex? The weaker ones needing your patronage and protection? Why don’t you hulks try birthing a child or nursing twins or even trying to fend off nausea for a week. Or maybe try, just try to make dinner every night after work.

So if I yell when I come home and the entire kitchen island is filled with everything you ate from breakfast cereal to tortilla chip crumbs and the sink is overflowing with dishes, its because I just finished my day job where I get paid and appreciated and now I’m at my second job that is thankless with no pay.

I don’t like microwave meals myself or I would have abandoned kitchen duties the day I started working full-time. Or stopped packing lunches for the kids and asked them to make do with the gross school cafeteria food. And with cooking comes mountains of dishes. I’m thankful for the dishwasher but unfortunately it doesn’t load itself. I don’t think it will kill anyone if they loaded the dishwasher every night after I was done making dinner.  Again everyone would rather I do it, till I make a scene and ask the kids to do their chores.

Then again why is dinner my responsibility ALWAYS! Why do chores have to be gender based? All of this churns through my psyche and makes me yell every once in a while. You have a choice to not cook or clean and I don’t? That really makes me yell dude! And since it’s my kitchen, it’s MY RULES. Obey or be prepared to be shredded to fine saw dust.

And  you can shove that unsolicited advice you know where! If you aint helping, I don’t need your suggestions for improvement. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I think I qualify as an expert! So there you go. I’m bossy and unapologetic. They may promote me to a manager at work for my much sought after leadership skills!

 


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22 Days of Gratitude and Counting

Like promised, I kept a memo pad at my work desk and every day I jotted down what I was thankful for in the time it took my laptop to switch on. On weekends, I stuck my gratitude notes on the refrigerator. The notes were not as thoughtful and deep as the ones I did last year, when I had all day to think about what I was grateful for. Also, this year a little prayer for those who are living in pain or poverty accompanied most of my gratitude notes because memories of not being in a place of abundance are still fresh in my memory.

At the end of October we moved to our own home and I am really enjoying the space and the views of the autumn-kissed trees from nearly every window. We have been living in apartments ever since we moved from Boston and I have longed to give the kids their own rooms and a backyard. My son used to kick a ball around inside our apartment in Florida, knocking down knick knacks in the process. The people who lived below us used to bang their ceiling with a broom every time we made some noise. And I’m talking about me rolling some dough for dinner! I’m guessing they did night shifts and were trying to get some sleep when we were up and about.

We moved into an even smaller apartment when we relocated to Redmond. Thankfully it was on the ground floor and close to the playground.The pictures the leasing office sent us were misleading and made everything look bigger than it actually was. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a trip just to look for apartments because of the distance.  Only when our furniture arrived did we realize that the place was way too small. The dining table almost pushed against the patio door, the couches filled pretty much the entire living room. The kids room had no space for their desk and so it ended up in the already cramped living room.  So much so that it was impossible for my son to play ball inside the house.

And now we have all this space and no furniture! But I’m grateful that we are slowly building back our lives. It’s like we got a fresh start.

Another friend who went through some great upheaval in her life also had a major breakthrough. She quit her job (which wasn’t paying her much) because she had to deal with a chronic illness. Her dream to find a job where she is appreciated and well-paid started off as a summer internship. The culture, the people, and the work were all a perfect fit, but the internship was going to end. Impressed by her work and can-do attitude, her manager created a position in the company so they could hire her full-time. I repeat, CREATED a position. How cool is that? I am so grateful for miracles like these that show up around me. It gives me hope when things aren’t looking up or when fear grips my heart.

Just today I read an article on how gratitude changes the energy around us and raises our vibration. It also acts as a magnet for more good to come forth into our lives. So this Thanksgiving remember its not about the food, the football game or shopping deals. Remember to give thanks for all you have and also pray for those who are not as fortunate as you are. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and do share what you are grateful for in the comments below.