All in a day

Today, after many weeks, I had a content, memorable, uniformly happy day that was blemish-free and without surprise chinks.

Woke up rested after 8+ hours of sleep. Had a killer workout (as I have this whole week) and relived the absolute joy that is working out in humidity levels of over 80%. With every passing day that I workout with R I realise I’ve missed this more than I realise. It’s not just the perfect kind form of exercise, but the addition of weather conducive to maximum sweating and the fact that nobody has ever pushed me the way they have (mentally for physical benefits).

Finally, today I had a breakthrough with the consistent string of things-not-working-out and a big, important thing that was causing significant stress, worked out. After much back and forth, painful paperwork, multiple trips to Panjim and what not — it got done.

I felt overwhelming relief. And so I allowed myself this.

Then wandered around previously unknown parts of my backyard in search of this divine chocolate cake we’ve been told was sourced in my neighborhood.

This short cycle of grinding down calories in the AM and using the entire day to build them back up has really worked for me through these particularly challenging emotional times haha.

Put down the weight of your aloneness

There is something about being seen/witnessed by the quiet power of nature — whether in the presence of an immense mountain, a roaring river rolling by or the great wide ocean — that gets the big thoughts going and puts them in small perspective.

Thoughts on friendship and aloneness abound once again. And I notice I didn’t say friendship versus aloneness. Because I see finally that I don’t have to choose. I can have both.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing

even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots

have left their arrogant aloofness and

seen the good in you at last. All the birds

and creatures of the world are unutterablethemselves. Everything is waiting for you

— David Whyte

Bheja noodles

The last straw in the camels back of recent challenges in the shitfest that has been the last few weeks of my life, was my laptop dying on me a week ago. Second time in two months, at what is probably the worst time ever to put me in a space where I need to consider another expensive purchase.

I was distraught and annoyed of course. But mostly, after being wrung thru the grinder in similar fashion for weeks now, I found myself oddly calm and numb when it happened. It was like I’d forgotten what to feel. A switch inside my brain went off. And I decided to just give it up, stop trying to fix anything anymore and just give in to what’s being asked of me.

My work and my workout are pretty much the only two essential things I need my laptop for, both of which can be serviced on my phone. And so I just packed my laptop away and decided I’ll be without one. (hence the lack of posts)

Until a viable solution makes itself known, I decided I wasn’t not going to break my head or throw any more money at this. And I told VC to do the same. In the interim we’ve been to the beach three evenings (so far, I’m making good on this intention) in the last week. So of course I have had ample time to sit back and ponder. To churn up a cocktail of thoughts about this strange strange few weeks in what is anyway one of the strangest years of all time.

2020 is really giving 2016 (the last truly shitty year I had) some time stiff competition.

***

How is it that we want to succeed and reach great milestones, but we’re also afraid we’ll fail?

How is it that we crave intimacy and long for deeper connection, but we’re also afraid of being let down by people?

How is it that we seek heartful vulnerability and honesty, but we’re also guarding ourselves against shame and heartbreak?

Maybe the goal shouldn’t be to want to move from one to the other, in a way that casts away the old, but navigate the in-betweens and know that experiencing both (sometimes simultaneously) is 100% true for all of our lives.

***

A thing I’ve had to contend with lately, through the thick of these challenges: the notion that I have to “make it” on my own. The hardest part of it has been understanding that sometimes I need things that I can’t give myself, and I have the option to articulate my needs so that the people I depend on can show up and help me.

It begins with understanding the need. Beyond the physical, and digging a couple of layers below to see what situation from my past I am recreating, and how I can serve that in the present.

I have much work to do in this regard.

***

It does not strike me as a coincidence at all that in this most challenging month, I have had to in my my work with clients, keep reiterating the fact that growth involves coming apart, falling down, feeling undone, very often. Again and again.

It was clearly a message I needed to reopen force within must. It’s not an easy truth for anyone to embrace. And in the frequency with which I revisit this with clients, I found reaffirmation of the very nature of this process for myself. Timely reminders to handle myself with a little more allowance and kindness.

Over the years I’ve come to understand how much personal growth is non-linear, and I’m looking for a new word to replace Growth. One that doesn’t inherently imply upward/forward movement as a marker of success. One that doesn’t even infact look for a “marker” of “success”. One that is gentler and allows for flow in any direction. Because that is what the process has asked of me: gentleness, fluidity, and grace in picking myself up every time that I have fallen. All these years on, I am only just about learning this.

Soft

Sometimes when we make the choice to venture into the unknown—to break the old spells & quit dancing the old dances—we find distressing mental experiences waiting for us there. Fear, grief, shame and rage. All waiting to twirl their tendrils tightly back around our hearts. Hearts that have just freshly been cracked open, still raw from the experience of letting the hurt down.

Much of my personal journey has been in again and again meeting the experience — past and present — that trigger the same old responses of clamming shut, building that wall and shortly swiftly back to that solid heart that will not breathe free. The work has been in learning how to go soft. How to be soft. In showing myself again and again that it’s possible, safe, that I am not weak for choosing it, that I can do it. that in fact, I need it.

And because I have been at it for literally years now, I can recognise and I have a full body experience of moments where I feel thawed completely. Where my heart blooms open and life bursts forth, coursing through my veins, uplifting me.

This was one such moment. Lying in the sun in the driveway at home, one sunny afternoon after days of grey, grim, rainy weather. “Eating sunshine” with my blood women. My mother pacing about digesting her lunch, my sister catching the warmth on her face. Someone said something utterly ridiculous and it was funny, but not that funny and it set me off. I went I to a tizzy and a loop of endless giggles that rushed out thru my lungs, pushing my ribs apart. Coming out in gusts that made me shake and lose my breath.

long after the moment had passed I was still laughing, breathless, with tears running down my face. It felt for a moment like I wasn’t laughing anymore but that it was the laughter that had taken over.

I felt alive. Soft.

I recently came across a French word that struck me as delicate and beautiful. Not just in what it means but in the way it sounds and the form it takes — letters standing up tall but with a softness that shows a give. Touch it and it’ll bend, almost.

S’épanouir

It means “to bloom”.

And this moment here is a moment of épanouissement that I will remember fondly for some time to come.

Because, je m’épanouis.

Missing

Do you sometimes miss (parts of) versions of yourself from long ago? Even when you’re happy and content with how far youveoved and grown?

Like missing fragments of a time that came before. A view from a phase, a kind of day from a season long gone? A street you once roamed? A city or home you once lived?

Specific days and moments? Events you would do over a hundred times again if you could?

Goa brings this longing back in me like little else has in recent times. I sometimes miss the carefree girl that I was in 2010 who threw all caution to wind and wrapped up my city life to move here. No prior experience living alone or outside of Bamgalore. Not a soul known in Goa. And how wide eyed and curious I was to figure it out.

I miss how easy and spontaneous life was. How fully and hungrily I went at that new life and all it threw at me — the joys and pains alike.

***

Some parts of September and all of October have been brutal. I use the word very consciously because I’ve been slowly but surely reaching the end of my tether with the general ups and downs of thispandemic year. I’ve been feeling worn out from the constant grief cycles and feeling all the feels. My personal work has taken me to the darkest depths that I have stayed away from. Cumulatively, it has been hard. It has been a lot. And yet I have had my periods of ebbs and flows and mostly I have gotten by. But lately I have been feeling like I can’t do this much longer.

The uncertainty has made me feel frail. The despair and darkness has made me afraid. I feel deep loneliness even just thinking about a life “after” because in my head every single person in my life from before has moved on. And there has been crippling aloneness, inwardness and wordlessness.

VC and I have had consistent life challenges throughout this year, but along came the last six odd weeks, throwing a jackpot of woes at us. Too fast and too thick for us to even keep up with. I’ve spent way too many days during this time feeling completely untethered and unmoored. Bringing to question many of the crucial changes that I have embraced lately. I’ve felt tested and stretched in many ways and much of it has been unpleasant to experience.

It was hard to kick back and enjoy the first few days of being in Goa too. Much as I wanted the break, getting here to terribly stormy weather while a whole other storm was raging in my was not fun.

But then that familiar longing came along. Thinking back to times past was good perspective on where I am and how far I’ve come.

There’s other fragments like that that stick out from all the years done and dusted. And I enjoy the experience of looking back with this semi-yearning-semi-content space where I’m not missing much else.

I realise the upgrades to my inner systems have worked out well. The ways in which I’ve strengthened my framework has stood the test of time and the growth plan I opted for has kept me moving ahead, through many a challenge. perhaps not exactly quite as I’d imagined, but definitely exactly as I have needed.

This is the bittersweet way of life I suppose. This constant up and down movement. A test of grace and delicacy, demanding softness even when facing the the most jagged edges.

***

The longing for parts of older versions of me from my life in Goa definitely feels regret for not going to the beach more often. This time, I’ll do better. And I’ll do justice to living closer to the beach now.

Going within

I’m in what seems to be an enduring phase of inwardness, aloneness, quiet and solitude. I want to say it’s another phase, yet again. But the truth, as I have been coming to terms with it, is that this is what I have been for the greater part of this year. I almost feel unable to be with people at this point. I find myself retreating even when I feel a covert urge not to.

One year ago: Surprises
Two years ago: I been moving calm, don’t start no trouble with me

Out and about

It’s been a whole year since we left Goa last. This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to visit every couple of months. But then 2020 happened. And here we are a whole year later.

Strangely though, it doesn’t feel like such a long gap. Probably because it was pouring down even then, like it is now.

We came with plans for this trip. A lot of random odd and ends of pending paperwork to be closed, the house to be sorted one way or another, a visit (or three) to the beach and meeting our friends and THEIR DOGS.

But the rain has other plans, and we’re being forced to go with the flow. Much like it happened last year at around the same time, when we came with an agenda and ended up staying for nearly a month just waiting for things to clear up so we could get to work. Last yer we were stuck indoors because of the crazy rain. This year it’s the crazy rain layered over a pandemic. But I’m at that point where I feel my paranoia and my willpower both fading. I realise it’s a gamble, but life needs to now open up and get going. I’m also fully fed up of this limbo, it is making me all kinds of disoriented.

So today, I treated myself to my first solo lunch out at one of my favourite restaurants. Because it was the only place that met the two criteria I was looking for: safe and open. It was good to take my mask off and have that un-rushed feni cocktail, roast pork, and they even let me use their wifi on a day like today when my cell network went bust at 8 am, and they played the Buena Vista Social Club the whole time that I sat there.

I realised how much I have missed having time to myself. All to myself. All alone. Solo. As much as it has been lovely to be stuck at home with company I love, there is something about solo time, unencumbered and easy, when I’m not answerable to anyone, that I have missed. Without realising how much.

My fish thali joint will probably be out of bounds this time around, but I do hope we at least make it to the beach. For a sunset or two, if not a swim. And I hope that our list of to-dos gets knocked off.

This trip feels different from trips before. For one, neither of us lives here anymore. But so much has also changed in Goa in the year gone by. Some good, some not so good. I feel a strange sense of homeliness, but a whole lot of distance and like I’m a visitor again. I haven’t felt this since 2009, when I was last here on holiday.

One year ago: Milestone
Two years ago: All along this love was right in front of me

The rain, has come again

Like half the country and their mom burdening the rural health care system here, I am in Goa. It’s been pissing down so much more than I anticipated (or would have liked). And I’m wishing for some sunshine so I can at least get to the beach and sit (socially distant) in the sun. It took us a full day to get the home back to normal from typically Goan monsoon mildew. This morning I thrilled in visiting the neighbourhood supermarket I love and stocking up. We’re already having our first home-cooked meal. Home, so quick. It’s a small joy I’m super duper glad for.

One year ago: Like hitting reset
Four years ago: New eyes

Refresh

We have to dust things off every once in a while, let fresh air in, change the water in the flower vases

— Haruki Murakami

(Thankful for what little opportunity I have for “travel”)

One year ago: Where love and wonder meet
Four years ago: Silver linings

Time out, in service of moving ahead

The end of something usually means it’s the beginning of something else. No? In this year of massive endings, death, loss and grief, I’ve held on to this simple thought just to get through the days. Days that were mostly filed under “I-don’t-have-a-fucking-clue-what’s-going-on-anywhere-anymore.”

Like much of the world, I have spent a greater part of this year in a state of Not Knowing. A stage that has felt decidedly like an incubation for What Comes Next. Nothing like the stage before, yet not fully inhabiting what lies ahead.

Like an em dash between all that I have experienced and learned and everything that is yet to bloom from it.

It’s been a stage that’s asked of silence, solitude and stillness of me. Retreat, reflection and rejuvenation, for a slow marination of a new sense of my world, my place in it and a desire to bring forth new expressions of my voice.

It also felt like a culmination of the last few years that I have steadily, relentlessly shifted the focus from Doing to Being, in an effort to move my axis, find a new centre of gravity to anchor my life.

This transition now though, has gently slipped an invitation to bring in a some Doing again. A crystallisation of the work I feel drawn to. More aligned to a new sense of myself.

I’m taking a short break from Monday Tarot Messages on here and on Instagram, to rest and to reflect, in an unencumbered way. But mainly to soak, in some of the ideas for Doing that have been brewing. The need for integrity to myself is high and I feel a great desire to bake in it.

I realise in retrospect that accidentally skipping the reading last week was not entirely an accident. It came from a need that I have felt grow during this week.

It seems that this topsy turvy time is potent or personal work. Providing tarot and family constellations sessions has not only kept me grounded and going, but also been the guiding light through it all.

I plan to resume weekly readings in November. I will continue to consult and take private sessions though. If you’re curious about or would like to book a tarot or family constellations session, please reach out to me.

One year ago: Mornings
Two years ago: They’ll be making sure you stay amused
Three years ago: Things change
Four years ago: When the going is crazy

Brave

Every healing journey of self exploration will bring you to the ironic realisation that growing and moving towards a life most aligned with your inner calling actually requires you to do the exact opposite of all that you did to stay safe thus far.

The work isn’t so much in the outcome, but the processes that create an alternative safe space. One within, removed from external sources of validation, reassurance, love and acceptance.

A lot of this, and my work around and towards building it, has been brought to question this past week and I’m sitting with a slew of thoughts. Contradictions, conflict, an inner tussle between the enigmatic philosophies that (ironically) help me make sense of real life, and the hard realities of life itself that need culling, like picking wheat (the stuff of life) from the chaff (said enigmatic philosophies). I’m again trying to find middle ground. The space between being and doing. Between resting and moving. Between out and in. Between stillness and chaos. Between solitude and loneliness.

One year ago: Cold but happy
Two years ago: Wandering through life will love come home to you
Four years ago: Escape

Up and down and down again

I’ve spent a greater part of this week breathing deep.

In and out.

In and out.

It really brings me back to the now, holds me down and soothes me. I’ve needed that a lot this week. It’s been a challenging one. On many fronts. For the first time in many, many months — probably years — I felt helpless to the point of just utter despair.

It’s not that things aren’t “good” or that they’re down in the dumps. But it has been a while since I had a steady number of days that are uniformly harmonious and with things in sync. Which is not to say only goody-good, but rather where I haven’t felt caught in the undertow of something or another.

For months now, there is an emerging pattern of one/few good day/s, an upswing, and then a number of challenging days, then the light shines through again, I emerge on top of it all and go with it, but only very briefly, before something else comes at me.

This is stuff on the personal front of course, but it’s also a combination of many things that seem to be taking turns to go up in smoke. If its an internal challenge of some sort at one time then it’s followed up by a string of emotional ups and downs, when that just about settles there’s a physical or practical aspects of our life that needs our attention, something or the other just constantly is on the verge of bursting or going up in smoke. I feel like we’re (and I count VC in this too) being thrown one oddball after another, and I JUST WANT TO CATCH A BREAK.

All of this is of course 100% more aggravated in the environment of complete uncertainty and zero guarantees that seems to have become the norm now..

I’m just so exhausted from existing these days. Even the good days seem to be emotionally high for me, leaving me somewhat spent. I’m thinking back to phases in my life, even from just earlier this year, when feeling good and being well didn’t mean just for a day. And when there was certainty.

However, the universe works in such strange and complicated ways. I would say yesterday was probably one of the hardest days I’ve had since 2016 — which was the last time I felt this very apparent lack of steadiness in state of mind, when every day was a new emotional whirlwind that presented a new challenged. The worst day in one of the hardest weeks of recent time. That we’re in the midst of a pandemic ridden world is just the perfect context for it all hahaha.

But, I’ve had the best work week ever, since the start of this year. A sudden surge in interest greater than any upswing I’ve experienced since I started doing personal consultations. So good and filled with promise that I’ve done 15 sessions in just the last 5 days. And by the end of tomorrow, I would have done 18.

I wanted to do a mid week tarot reading to make up for the missed one on Monday. But I’ve directed all my energy work-wards. Honestly, this has been the bright spark in a week like this one. Because it is work that energises and me, makes me feel alive and gives me reason to keep going.

Striving, as VC called it today. As low and down and out as I felt for the last two days, I have found the energy to show up at sessions. And I’ve ended every one of them feeling a bit better than I did before.

One year ago: Come rain or shine
Two years ago: Try to remember the good times
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: revisiting old haunts II

Looking out, looking in

Wordless state of mind yet again.

One year ago: Out and about
Two years ago: It’s dark and I think that I would give anything for you to shone down on me

That neck of the woods

Love yourself. Then forget it. Then love the world.

— Mary Oliver

There was something very different about the way in which I observed, enjoyed and engaged with nature this time away. It wasn’t conscious, didn’t inspire any effort and not something that came from a place of deliberation. It simply happened, and I noticed it in retrospect.

There is something very richly moving about being amidst overwhelming nature — whether in the size and stature, or the saturated hues, or simply the awe and power — when it towers over and shelters you. Perspective shifting. Life giving. Steady making. Love inducing.

After years of being drawn inwards, within myself, working on and learning to love myself, I feel a distinct draw outwards. A very real and specific desire to be in love with the world again.

One year ago: On ordinariness
Three years ago: A good life is a life of goodness
Four years ago: A picture

Dreams

Been thinking today about how we have slowly, gradually, very slipped into a state of existence where we get to have severe, exacting expectations of women. We get to, on daily basis, demand of women their loyalty and worthiness to belong, by ay of meeting A Particular standard (that is slowly feeling stiflingly monolithic and featureless).

I’m getting so sick of how day in and out, in the public domain and in private, women’s character is questioned, and the proof of our “goodness” is demanded in many, many ways. Again and again, in innumerable ways we are shown and made to feel like our independent choices are not good enough. That our choices make us crazy, hysterical, excessive, difficult, emotional. That to be all of these things is somehow negative. Not good enough. Out of character.

It disturbs me that I see and her of examples of this on a daily basis.

I’m tired of the boxes we still have to fit and labels we have to carry. And I dream of a day when I can put this burden down. Fully.

When I can be me, wholeheartedly. Without my character being questioned, my appearance being reason to slot me in a box. Without my choices being scrutinised.

Sigh, a girl can dream.

One year ago: On alone time
Four years ago: Too many words, so here’s a cop out