On being

Very quietly, I stepped into a new life and into a new role — that of a practitioner and helper (as we call ourselves in Hellinger’s system of Family Constellations) very early this month. First with putting out my website, then with inviting tarot sessions that flew in thick and hard, and finally with two Family Constellation workshops on consecutive weekends these past two weeks.

Even though I very silently slipped into this new space some weeks ago, and it has been a busy time since, I really felt like I had landed in the very centre of the space that is this feeling like a whole new identity for me only yesterday, at the workshop.

One of the threads of Hellinger’s Family Constellation philosophy, is the idea of a spiritual conscience. And even though we have defined it in words so many times over the years in training, and I know in my head what it is, I have struggled to really understand what it is. I have had no counterpoint or marker in my outer world, in real life to pin it to and say Ah! Yes, this is what it is.

I have over the years understood it as many things and concluded that perhaps it is all these things at different times. A spiritual realm, a twilight zone between that which is known and that which can only be experiences, a sense of flow, a connection with ones higher conscience.

Yesterday though, at the workshop, I really landed — and I mean to reflect the deeply visceral experience that I had facilitating a full day’s work in Family Constellations — in this new space. I felt firmly in my mind, body and heart, that I was in the space of a helper.

It felt like safety.

It felt like alignment.

It felt like all was well with everything around me.

It felt like everything was as it should be, in the right place, in the right way.

It felt like a great sense of harmony flowing within and out around me.

It felt like intense satisfaction and intense purpose simultaneously.

It felt like perfection.

It felt like grace.

It felt like flow.

It felt like I have hit solid ground, and yet floaty and airy like I could fly endlessly.

And I realised at some point, for a brief moment, mid-work, that perhaps this is what the experience of the spiritual conscience is. The dance of the movement of one’s spirit, when it is unencumbered and free to move in the way that it needs.

When I get out of my way.

When I surrender, over and over, to the call from within.

When I find a deep inner connection that feels in my outer world like I am being guided mysteriously.

I also realised that this experience of the spiritual conscience is not an end point like I have imagined in the past. It is an experience that will come, when all things are in alignment, and go, when it must.

Yesterday was a blissful, immensely satisfying and rich day for me. I can only hope some of it translated to the group of folks that attended. And I ended the day just so grateful to have found this work and to be sharing it with the world in my own small way.

One year ago: Learning to let go
Two years ago: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Three years ago: 2017 book beginnings
Four years ago: Perspective

More feels

Oh how far we’ve come. How low we’ve fallen. How depraved and deranged a time we now live in. How despicable and desperate everything seems.

In contrast to a time like this.

Watch Bismillah Khan sing praises to the spirit of Benaras, reliving his days and life there, where the duality of Islam and Hinduism found peaceful coexistence in one of the holiest cities in the country.

A reality that seems unbelievable and impossible to retrieve today.

SHAME.

One year ago: Winter joys
Two years ago: You’ve been on my mind

Things that have punched me right in the gut

Right up in the feels. Full blown emotional reactions. Some tears. Some swelling pride. Some solace. And still some despair.

Will this go down in history books as the Revolution of 2020? I sure hope that at least from the digital documentation and all the spontaneous, raw and brutal art coming out from it, it does. Because the news channels aren’t getting the full force off the ugliness off it all. Not even a little bit.

And with the way things are going, I don’t think we can depend on the history books to provide any degree of accuracy to the actual goings-on of this country and the dark times we are traversing.

Sab kucch yaad rakha jayega. By Aamir Aziz, of Acche Din Blues fame from some years ago. If you haven’t heard it, you need to. Now.

Mere paas bechne ko kuchh nahi so bech raha hun ghaflat,
Daal bohot mehengi hai so log khareed rahe hain nafrat.

And then there was this: Vaastvik Kanoon, by Naveen Chourey.

And then this grooooovy sample from a Cubbon Park anti-CAA/NCR Cypher. (We have cyphers now?!? Woooot.)

Ah. I have never witnessed joy and pain sit in companionable silence together like this before.

One year ago: The morning after
Two years ago: Video killed the radio star

On anger

I have been confronting ideas of anger, lately. Anger that’s held in my body. Anger as a mere idea, and how my family has felt about it over the generations. Anger as something I have not been very much in touch with at all, growing up. Anger that I only mistook for rage. Anger and shame. Anger and guilt. Anger and permission.

Anger as a woman.

Anger towards the injustices we’re facing as a country. Anger at basic, everyday disappointments and rejections. Anger at the personal level, as well as the level of the collective.

It’s also been up in the air, around me.

Personally too, at therapy over the last many months, I have visited that place of anger, really opening the door, laying out a red carpet and allowing it to enter my mindspace in its full potency. Airing it, fanning the flames and sometimes letting it billow into a huge all-consuming fire. Sometimes watching it erupt, but fizzle out quickly, leaving a spot of singed skin. Raw, asking for the comfort of cool breath.

In the process I’ve had to examine my relationship with anger, and how much the ideas of anger, and the beliefs the adults around me held about anger, have shaped my own. How much that has made me either turn away from my anger, or bury it the moment it has raised its head. And consequently how much that has caused repressed, festering wounds that would just be gone if only I was in touch with my anger.

And now, with frequent entry-points into my anger, I have learned to go back to points in my life where anger came up but didn’t find a way out, and tell myself that that then, was the experience of a child who didn’t know better. A child who had to choose between being herself in the full flow of the emotion she was feeling, versus being accepted and loved.

I have had to reconcile with the fact that I have grown up believing that my anger is bad. Sometimes, the unsaid message has been that anger, in women specifically, is difficult. Other times it was that my anger makes me too much for people around me to take. That my anger has been a huge burden.

As I have processed much of this, and in turn built a safe container in my adult self to give room to that anger to find it’s way out, I am now, slowly, seeing a mellowing down in my current relationship with anger. I am angry, but I don’t act out as often. I am angry, but not rage-y or vengeful in that misguided, out-of-control way that I used to be. I respond, more than I react.

I am angry, but with purpose. I am angry, with energy.

And it is entirely because I have tapped into my anger as a life-force. Anger, that actually warned me when I felt unsafe. Anger that actually cued me to claim my place. Anger that made me realise when I was let down, disappointed and dejected. Anger that signalled something I was deeply passionate about.

Anger that kept me safe.

Anger that should have had a significant, life-giving place. Anger that didn’t find a way out.

And when I numbed that anger, I also numbed joy, passion, energy and purpose too. I numbed life itself.

Historically too, women have been taught to keep anger under wraps. It’s a centuries-old tactic to keep women in check. To keep our emotions locked away, to keep our power diminished. However, the greatest revolutions and steps forward that women have made, have been born out of moments of blinding anger and often destruction. Even culturally, essential female archetypes of death and destruction such as Shakti, specifically Kali, embody anger, red hot power and strength.

She embodies that heart of anger that is the umbilical cord to out full power, and our emotions. She is life, as much as death. Birth and fertility as much as rebirth. Her demand of us, is to be vivaciously alive, passionate and deeply committed to truth.

We know this all very, very intimately. And yet, we continue to give anger the bad rap it doesn’t deserve. I know this because I am suddenly so, hyper-aware of the great levels of discomfort around anger (especially in women) in my own family. I also understand that some of it is well-intentioned and modelled around wanting to be better human beings — more gentle, loving, forgiving, kind, empathic and peaceful.

What I know now, is that the only real way to be all of those things, is through feeling anger if and when it comes up, and not side-stepping it. Through realising that anger is a life-sustaining energy, primal force, that it comes up to signal danger, cueing preservation and safety. It is impossible to make those choices and move forward, without fully accessing anger.

For generations, women have had to bypass their anger in the effort to be more pleasing. Palatable. The kinder, fairer sex. For generations, even those of us who have talked of anger through our myths and legends and religious archetypes, have simultaneously managed to never feel it ourselves.

So is it a wonder that expressions of anger are then seen as the horrible, ugly things that they’re made out to be?

***

Here’s another thing I’m working hard to rewire: my relationship with anger. By accessing it fully when it comes up, freeing myself from beliefs and reactions coded in my childhood, and navigating through it in safe, adult ways.

And so, it is no surprise at all that I am having anger come up in so any different conversations around me. Speaking with VC two days ago, I told him I have been feeling deeply angry on his behalf, because I noticed and paid attention to something that is brewing in me. To notice it, allow it, acknowledge it and let it play out its natural course without judgement or panic that the world is somehow going to implode because of it, is a huge step for me.

Yesterday, my mother mistook my emphatically and emotionally voiced opinions to be an angry lash-out. It absolutely wasn’t and not too long ago, the mere mention of anger might have triggered off a fit of rage. However, I surprised myself by a spontaneous chuckle that escaped from my chest, and the surety with which I was able to say I am not angry.

This post in fact, is an outcome of many meandering thoughts that have been swimming in my head for months now, but that somehow found bright crystallisation this morning, in a chat with my aunt.

Later in the afternoon, my sister shared with me an insight about how she has noticed how she holds anger in her body and wonders how to process it as an adult.

Anger. It’s in the air. All around me. In so many forms. Asking to be seen, to be held and examined closely.

This kind of synchronicity, when things repeat and show up again and again, are my markers. Deep affirmation that what I’m on to is really important for me.

***

I’m learning to love my anger. To touch it when it shows up. To see what it has come to teach me, before I bypass it in a rush to feel better.

But anger rarely comes alone. It often brings along its friends fear, judgement, guilt and loneliness. But as I am also learning to sit with all of that, simply as it is, it has been a revolutionary idea: to love my anger. To drop the weight around it. To allow the adult in me to redefine what anger means to me now.

Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.
The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.

Rainer Maria Rilke

One year ago: New light
Two years ago: Block rockin’ beats (Wayanad, 2017)
Four years ago: Come undone

Of another new beginning

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin might very well have been speaking about the hate filled bigots that walk amidst us today, when he said this.

Some more protests down, more feelings emboldened within me, fresh art on my walls.

Still, we’ll rise.

Every time that I am at a protest, I feel like I belong. Like I can stake my claim on this country and refuse to be pushed to the corners and feel like a victim.

As a woman, this fight feels particularly raw and cuts very close to the bone. It has touched a dormant nerve so deep, that has triggered that generationally old place of oppression. Women know it best: if they get away with this, it won’t be long before they turn on us. And our children.

This is the very nature and established pattern of institutionalised subjugation by people in positions of privilege and power.

However, I feel a wave of newness. A fresh breath of hope. Politically too, I believe that the end of the year brought things to a new, barely ever seen before crescendo. I am firmly of the belief that this is going to be a long, slow and perhaps painfully violent march to a new freedom and a new beginning. Things turned when people got out on the streets and have continued to, in unimaginable numbers, back the idea of freedom and love that currently has no single face steering it. For over a month now. No political party affiliations. No single religious groups agenda. No single faction leading this. A true melting pot of unison, and a fight for love over hate, more than anything else. The older generation doesn’t know what to do with this because it provides no answers to their endless whataboutery.

And I find this immensely hopeful.

One year ago: Breathing space
Four years ago: People puzzles

On emptiness

Committing to a life of getting to know myself a little more intimately has meant consistently peeling back layers and layers of protective fluff that we as humans tend to gather around our hearts. As I told someone in a reading today, this is human nature — the need to protect and keep the heart safe at all costs. Even from seeing the truth that needs to be seen, before we move forward. This process also takes us further away from the core of our humanity as well. Creating layers between our outer and inner worlds, keeping us away from our own  selves.

So then, to commit to a life of getting closer  human to try and confront whatever it is we are seeking protection from. To do it in a gentle and compassionate way, that facilitates integration and forward movement in life, is super important. The goal then has been to be more touch with that which makes me human. What lies at th core of my spirit, when all the layers have been shed.

I have been thinking a lot about this — about the very core of humanity, and what it is that makes us the way we are. And the process of getting there through constant cutting of fat, peeling of layers, letting go of all that doesn’t serve me, processing all that does, often requires culling away and gracefully shedding many things. People, emotions, beliefs, ways of being and living, even. And very, very often, staring at the emptiness that remains.

It has taken me to the depths of understanding the heartbreaking, but liberating, price of living in a way that deeply honours the needs of what lies at the core of my spirit.

I have been witnessing emptiness in my life so often, in so many places and forms, these past couple of years. But the simultaneous process of filling myself up in a healthy way, of finding inner solidity of and from myself, has made all the difference.

This mornings edition of the daily aha moment while on my run was this: that I have discovered the difference of looking at emptiness from a place of emptiness, versus now looking at emptiness from a place of being quite filled up.

It means I am less compelled to be uncomfortable as I once was, by that emptiness. Less troubled, less thrown, less inadequate because of it. And I am less drawn to immediately fill it up with something else. Less inclined to do anything at all, actually. I have somehow found the ability to just see it and acknowledge it for what it is — emptiness. Necessary emptiness. And I am able to hold it as it is, more often than not. And the discovery thrilled me no end this morning.

One year ago: Solo Saturday night
Two years ago: Obscured by clouds (Coonoor, 2017)
Three years ago: Two new pieces
Four years ago: Lessons in letting go

Full moon, moon shine

Full moons are already times of release, of purging the old and making intentional space for the new. With a lunar eclipse added to the mix, it makes for a really potent time to let go of the past, remove self-imposed blocks and barriers, and re-evaluate and release beliefs we’ve held (with good reason) but that perhaps no longer hold good or serve a meaningful purpose.

This first week of the new year has already been such a sharp and steep contrast to not just the last year but the last many years, for me. It has been like going from sleeping to standing up tall and taking strides ahead.

I keep saying it has been sudden, that I woke up in January and suddenly everything had changed. But this is untrue. It is also doing myself and the work I have slowly and steadily done over the past many years a huge disservice. The truth is that the last couple of years have been a time for germination. Of slowly chipping away at myself, getting to the core and seeing how I can nurture and nourish what makes itself seen there.

And like with all germination, it happens slowly and in a hidden way. Beneath the surface. It’s hard to tell from above the ground what is at work or how things actually change. And then “suddenly” after many days of nothing, and staring at plain crumbly brown ground, there is a tender shoot that pokes thru.

I am that shoot today. January saw the beginning of that waking up and emerging into the world. And I can’t help but feel the sacredness of all that is already so new and different from before. I am heading in ways that are drastically opposite to what I have thought good for me in the past. And to be moving thru steadily, slowly chipping away, with a quiet confidence and clarity every step of the way is proof. Change takes time. A heck of a lot more time than we are usually willing to give or notice. But this process of letting go of the old and welcoming the new. It is such a special journey. Sacred. Important. Life giving. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

One year ago: And so it’s done
Two years ago: A hazy shade of winter
Three years ago: Happier: perpetual WIP

Rework

Had what was probably my first, full, real and intense experience of strength in vulnerability today. I say first, full, real, even though it is something I have known (and had a knowing of) for so long now, what happened today was a circumstance abd solid proof of what it is to be in touch with a fault line that deep. A vulnerability otherwise kept under wraps and away from the world. And how being in touch with that, actually foster’s deeper connection.

It is true what they say. Vulnerability is strength. We’ve got it all wrong and I’m happy to be putting in the work to rewire this notion in my mind.

One year ago: This being human is a guest house
Two years ago: The hardest part

On listening

In a full tilt turn from last year, 2020 is already off to a very full beginning. So full that I am making good use of the delightful little planner that S got me as a present for the holidays. I didn’t see this coming. At least not this soon, even as I was planning and making motions towards directing my energies towards a new kind of work. I didn’t anticipate this. So even as I am trying to work the pace, I am also consistently reminding myself to listen to my pace.

It’s easy to get carried away in the first flush of the new year. That squeaky clean energy of a new beginning, a new shot at trying this efficiency thing out once again. That gust of enthusiasm to go, be, do, that we all feel at this time of year. Sure, it maybe all of those things, because it has well and truly begun in full josh. But, what I have also been feeling quite intensely this past week is that a lot of what’s coming at me now is a reflection, a rebound, a return present of energies I have been consciously and unconsciously putting out for months now.

I am in receiving mode, now more than ever. And what a paradox it is, because what’s brought me here is actually putting myself out there in service of others. What I am receiving is the opportunity to work with and for others.

Since the very next day after I returned from holiday I have had packed days. Not the kind of busy like the headless-chicken and aimless-hustle I usually associate with packed days, but the slow, deliberate, intentional packed.

I’ve done multiple readings every day, sometimes with follow ups. And there’s another change that occurred to me today. I am suddenly also in listening mode. For years now, my healing journey has been about making my voice, my mind and myself be heard. Incessantly, selfishly and singleminded-ly so, sometimes.

It seems as that need finds more and more comfort and integration, I do have a largely undiscovered and untapped capacity to also listen. And I mean, listen deeply. Doing readings for absolute strangers, speaking to them for the very first time and having them often immediately share a vulnerability or a deep difficulty means listening first, and speaking minimally, but thoughtfully. It has meant listening respectfully. It has meant remembering that this is not about me, that I am in service.

Professionally, I have always been in the business of words and communication. I have always prided myself in doing the “speaking” in that way. In giving voice to unsaid things, shaping words where none exist. And now I am learning to listen. Between the words, beneath the words. And to hold all that I hear with care and compassion.

It occurred to me today that there was no way to learn to listen in this way, without working on building a container to hold and all that I have been hearing. And to do that, I have had to learn to have myself be heard fully. Within and without myself. I have had to do enough honest talking in my outer world, as well as to myself in my inner world, and integrate and accept every kind of response I have received. In the process I have encountered contradictions, disappointments, difficult dualities and discomfort, as much as I have the joy and jubilation. I am beginning to see that there cannot be one without the other.

When I listen carefully, I am able to do it because I know that I am, and I feel, heard.

One year ago: Changing seasons, changing reasons
Two years ago: I’m just too good at goodbyes
Four years ago: On waiting

Clear

Just taking a moment to acknowledge how much clarity has emerged so quickly and suddenly from seeming nothingness. To know what I want to do and have the avenues emerge and show up, and have the sudden confidence to walk the path — this is a big one for me considering where I was even just six months ago.

Every day, in at least two different ways, I kind of surprise myself at how I am conducting myself in conversations, relationships and how certain dynamics in my immediate world are changing because of it.

It is a bit astounding. And sometimes frightening. But I realise that’s my old brain always ready to kick in, bringing back the fear and diffidence. I am quicker to check myself lately and listen to the old voice that rears its head every so often, but also confident in firmly but gently telling it to bugger off.

This has been a refreshing change.

One year ago: I am the universe
Four years ago: Shiny new guiding lights

Sundry work updates

Okay folks, it’s time for some plain and simple work plugs. I’m starting off my work as a Family Constellations practitioner with a series of workshops. Two in Bangalore, in January and one in Mumbai in February.

If you have read this blog closely for the last few years and wondered (or reached out to me asking) what form of therapy I have been using for my self work, it is this. I began with attending workshops in Family Constellations, before I decided to do the level 1 course which is a deep dive into the work, followed by the level 2 course that trained me to be a facilitator.

So this post is going to be some housekeeping. First, I’ve added a page on the blog to reflect the new work developments and my new offerings. Second, some fliers for both workshops. IN case any of you in Bangalore or Mumbai want to connect to understand more, possibly register for these, or reach out for tarot card readings, you know where to reach me.

1) Workshops in Bangalore:

  • 12 January, 9.30 am t0 5 pm | SMArT, Ulsoor | Rs. 1500 (including morning and evening tea)
  • 19 January, 9.30 am to 5 pm | SMArT, Ulsoor | Rs. 1500 (including morning and evening tea)

To confirm your place at the workshop/s, please reach out via the contact form or any of the contact numbers on the poster above.

2) Workshop in Mumbai:

1 February, 9.30 am to 6 pm | Santa Cruz | Rs. 4000 (including morning and evening tea)

To confirm your place at the workshop/s, please reach out via the contact form or any of the contact numbers on the poster above.

3) Tarot offering, via telephone:

A short, 15 minute reading for guidance and clarity going into the new year and new decade. This could be either in the form of a question/s (I’ll take up to three questions per reading, for this one), or just seeking guidance/a message for an aspect of your life as you step into the new year.

15 minutes, or 3 questions at just Rs. 400. Please get in touch with me via the contact form so we can schedule a reading.

Please see my page on Tarot Card readings to understand more.

Going forward, I’m probably going to be making a couple of such posts a month. If you’re here just for the posts and words, you’ll have to bear with me!

It would be great to meet some of you — especially those who have written to me expressing interest in therapy and healing. I do hope that you’ll reach out and we can connect one way or another.

Four years ago: Sometimes, I draw

Recharged

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year, really.

It’s been a week since I left home, and it feels like a lifetime has passed in my mind, during this time.

Feeling at home so deep in my bones, in my place, with a solid sense of belonging, is a truly unparalleled experience.

There have been worlds of thoughts marinading and being very slowly processed in my mind.

Thoughts about the power of truth snd conviction.

Thoughts about being impossibly heartfully connected, even as I find healthy separation.

Thoughts about how months of cultivating a healthy container seems to be giving rage a new kind of outlet.

Thoughts about an all new adult kind of definition of settlement.

I hope to unpack this slowly for myself over the next few days.

Thank you to this corner of Wayanad we now call home. Thank you for filling me up on ways I don’t yet have words for. But I will get there. For now, I’m Back on home turf, recharged and raring to go.

Two years ago: Here I go again (on my own)
Three years ago: 2016
Four years ago: In-bloom

Ways of seeing

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We’re know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet there knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.

— John Berger, Ways of Seeing

I’m really enjoying the newness of this ease in the not knowing, in seeing and noticing the relation between what is and what I know, and that which may never be “settled” in the way my mind might desire.

I don’t quite have the words for what has altered, but something has shifted within me yet again. Altering the way I am seeing things around me, just a wee bit again.

Ending the first week of the new year in yet another home away from home, in such deep levels of peace, has been everything.

One year ago: Boombox updates
Two years ago: Going by the book (and all that I read in 2017)
Four years ago: Love letters

To Mysore and

…back to the wild.

In four vignettes.

8 am at home.

11 am on the road.

1 pm at Mysore Railway Station.

4 pm en route back home.

Mandatory picture of parental unit, as seen in my adulthood, on a road trip rushing through just-planted paddy fields in that golden 4 o clock sunlight.

It’s a bit overwhelming, that I get to enjoy this peace and quiet, right here in my life without having to getaway or make space for it in anyway. I do have to physically get away to get here, but that suddenly my life is somehow fashioned so this is possible, and possible often kind of amazes me. Even now.

What a privilege and a blessing it is.

One year ago: Inhale. Exhale.
Two years ago: What is life
Four years ago: Reminders and notes to self.

Where focus goes, energy flows

I have to say it was lovely to be so off the grid (my phone has zero network and I bum my father’s hotspot to post and send messages a few times a day) that I didn’t have to spent yesterday morning making and answering obligatory calls. Those that I wanted to wish, I did. I received way more than I have this new year’s day.

Despite not having connectivity, I made a small step in a new direction with an offering of the work that has held and helped me find my feet and know myself a little deeper these past few years.

It’s ridiculous how I got into this without the faintest clue I would be here today — sending out messages into the world about taking on clients. It’s surreal, but also very happy making. And a real-life testament to the power of this work, how deeply it has touched my life and how much movement it has introduced for me.

I spent much of the day looking out. And it hit me that I have left the life of the hustle far behind. Or at least the hustle the way I used to know it, driven by the idea that I have to struggle to make a mark or get anywhere. To be sitting in the boondocks without network, and yet be able to send off my humble little offering out into the world, receive enquiries, messages cheering me on and excitement all round, felt like so much momentum from minimal, but intentional, effort.

There is power in quietness too it seems.

It’s true. Where focus goes, energy flows. And I have waited a long time to see and feel this.

One year ago: Food and friendship
Two years ago: Gratitude. That’s all.
Four years ago: Love