Chill

Notes to myself that serve as reminders in this very strange period within this absolutely bizarre time. Reminders I still need, every so often.

  1. Take your time
  2. Find your rhythm
  3. Make space for play
  4. Get out more often
  5. B R E A T H E. And H Y D R A T E.

Most times in a crisis, until I figure out the big thing that is needed of me, it is the small thing that has taken me through from one moment to the next. Small things like taking a moment. Stepping back. Taking a long breath. Getting out if I have the space and opportunity. Drinking a tall glass of water. Lying down. Speaking softly, unhurriedly.

And yet, I forget the simplicity of it all. So very, very often.

Off colour

Still no laptop. No idea when or how I’ll have one again. Still very much in this tug of war between what I can’t and can (hah, I wish!) control. STL trying to not give a shit. Still kind of not always winning at it. Still getting on. Somehow.

The silver lining, and what has made it a touch easier? Many, many days at the beach.

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.

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.

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

Unsafe

Been turning this question around in my head all of today: Who is really safe in India?

As a woman, I’m officially (literally, now) living everyday in terror that something will happen to me. That I will be targeted in some way or another for the way I look, for how short my hair is, for the way I live, how I dress, where I am seen.

I feel palpably like I am next in line, and they can and will come for me. I know it’s not just me that has started to feel a physically clenched way of being every time that I step out. I have noticed this in my body lately. I feel terrified in my bones, petrified in the sinews of my muscles.

It’s not just me.

Just going by the events of the last 6 months, it couldn’t be clearer: If you’re a woman, you’re unsafe. If you’re a muslim, you’re unsafe. If you’re an activist, you’re unsafe. If you’re a writer/poet/painter/musician/artist expressing yourself honestly, you’re unsafe. If you’e a journalist, you’re unsafe. If you’re vocal about your beliefs and values, you’re unsafe. If you feel like a minority in anyway, you’re probably unsafe.

If your work involves doing any kind of good for human beings, bringing justice or being involved in doing what’s right by citizens, you are most definitely unsafe. If you speak up against the powers that be? UNSAFE.

And then I think about people who live lives I haven’t been in touch with. Only read and imagined the levels of fear and lack of safety they must feel every single day. Doctors working through a pandemic? Unsafe. Kashmiris? Unsafe. Farmers? Unsafe. Skilled labourers? Unsafe. Dalits? FUCKING UNSAFE.

Our money isn’t safe. Our jobs aren’t safe. Our children aren’t safe. Our data isn’t safe. And none of the stakeholders we ought to be able to turn to for safety, for accountability, for reason and justice — are safe. Not the media. Not (mostly) the judiciary. Not the police. And certainly NOT our politicians.

So where do we go from here?

One year ago: Take the time
Two years ago: Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity

Sneaky thrills

Living on the edge, at the fag end of 2020 has come to look like this.

Going to a favourite breakfast joint, but refusing to enter the crowds to eat breakfast. Instead, lurking in a corner of the parking lot, drinking a coffee quickly and enthusiastically. And leaving leaving feeling like you’ve carried out a drug delivery successfully.

This is as far as excitement levels can go.

One year ago: Step-up
Two years ago: Some things will never change
Three years ago: Back to base

Twist

I’ve been in a tizzy today. My otherwise lean daily existence that involves not doing more than 2 things on any given day was thrown off by an Instagram tag that sent a dozen folks into my inbox, ordering the coconut oil I have on offer. I’m happy for the flooding requests, but because they all came in at one go, I spent the morning fulfilling them all pronto. That’s all it took to throw my day askew — having to fulfil a bunch of orders that I had to organise and send off through Dunzo. I overshot my stipulated screen time by 3 hours because of it, and scrambled to do the other regular things I had to do like cook lunch, finish a submission, take two readings and catch a nap — in between it all.

There was another majorly development that caused massive disappointments for VC and me this morning, and I got my period, which also threw a spanner in the overall mood. I was in pain and in a tizzy, and sad all at once. At the end of the day though, said disappointment was reversed, and I momentarily felt the compressed collapse when your heart dives deep into your tummy, on a rollercoaster ride, and things were alright again in my head and in my world.

But I have ended the day overwhelmed. I’m glad days like this are the anomaly these days and not the norm. Because I cannot function like this anymore. I struggle to multi-task and I feel really stretched when there are too many asks of my time and attention.

Ended the day with this sweet cotton candy sunset, just as things were returning to happy around here.

One year ago: Satisfaction
Two years ago: I don’t know if it’s even in your mind at allI don’t know if it’s even in your mind at all

On moving ahead

I have phases where I feel very together, solid, self-assured and at peace with where I am and how I am moving forward. And then I also have blips where I lose ground. I feel self-doubt, sometimes fear, and uncertainty is hard to embrace unless I have something with which to get a hold on something, anything, in the future.

A misplaced goal. A borrowed aspiration. An unnecessary benchmark.

I have noticed that when I am on shaky ground about where I am at, the following things happen:

  1. I get judgemental about the lives of people around me
  2. I can be extra critical of myself, and people around me
  3. It’s hard to be empathic
  4. I begin to “borrow” ideas from people around me. Things I see online, or “inspiring” folks around me, and I very easily imagine that these are things I aspire to
  5. I feel the tug to perform at being someone that lives and cares about those ideas

Noticing this has really helped me stop and think a lot of times, before I post stuff on my Instagram. It’s that middle step between points #4 and #5, where I’m able to stop, breathe, step back and remind myself what I have that account for, and what the post I am about to make is actually seeking to do. And then ascertain whether it’s necessary or not.

But what it’s really made me see is how shame is an old story that shows up in so many sub-narratives, rearing it’s head in so many different avatars, begging me to return to status quo. By kindling the critical, judgemental, insensitive parts of me, it somehow tries its hand at keeping me where I am, encouraging me to resist growth. By inducing fear, but also quickly giving me a false (and frightfully temporary!) sense of superiority and bravado by making me feel like I’m somehow better than everyone else, and where I once was.

So I might as well be happy with where I am no? Where’s the need to move ahead?

The question I can I move ahead, level-up, without this compulsion to run my current state down?

One year ago: Unhappy independence day
Two years ago: New way, new life
Four years ago: Sunday

Coming back to life, again

Taking a break from the Monday Tarot Message this week. Because, I’ve had a very challenging past week, and weekend too. Just dealing with a lot of emotions — like I said here — and trying to stay with it, rather than disconnect and float off into fantasy land where everything is changa si. Things weren’t good. But it is the way it is when you confront challenging emotions, make strides with accepting discomfort and internalising difficult realisations.

I was excessively sad. Grief is too small a word for what I was going through. And there was also anger, as I mentioned the other day. So much anger at being gaslit, and what that did to me, unconsciously baiting me in to a process I could have sidestepped.

I was on edge, irritable and lashed out on everybody and everything, very, very easily. And so to avoid doing that, I went under a bit. Incommunicado.

I’ve traversed a world of emotions in the last seven days, and with an intensity that I haven’t felt in a while. What’s more, it brought a feeling of being unmoored, which I haven’t felt since about 2016. The thing about unraveling and diving into the grief pool is that it makes everything watery and dilute. I lose sight of where I’m at and how far I’ve come. And when the present is clouded, the past takes over so easily.

The incident at class triggered something so deep this time. I confronted really old, old narratives that my logical brain knows I have moved past. And yet, there they were, dragging me down again. I had a surge of memories from wayyyyy back, like years 1-6 in school. Some that I had buried, some that I didn’t even know existed. Painful, not too pleasant ones. Worries around success and money, that I absolutely certainly have a much more flexible, soft and clear approach towards now, surfaced in their old avatar. I felt extreme lack in so many fronts. And almost all of this attacks my self-worth. Cumulatively, I went nose-first into the pit of self-pity, beating my own worth down with all I had. Between Monday to Friday, I had gradually pulled my life apart and was on the way to convincing myself it is all for naught.

Its also been excessively rainy, and while the sun comes out we haven’t had bright, sunshiney days in over ten days now. The weather has officially crossed that fine line between sexy and wonderful to downright gloomy.

When I don’t see the sun for a considerable time, I get the blues, I do. VC snapped this picture of me just hanging out in the balcony, watching the daily 4 pm rain, wishing for just a spot of sunshine. Basic, everyday comforts like chai that VC makes for me, and creature comforts like home-delivered sourdough croissants have really gotten me through.

The weekend was a good transit, a slow moving from what felt like a very unanchored and chaotic state in the days before to today which has me back on solid ground again. The coming up for a breath of air, letting my arms and legs relax after a week of flapping them around to stay afloat while a storm of emotions raged on within and around me.

The good news is my laptop got miraculously fixed, very, very easily. Leading me to believe it was but another text the universe sent my way, in what was a very..ahem..testy week. I leaned on got very clingy with VC in a way that I haven’t in a while, the poor thing. After trying to stay on top of things, and failing, all week, I took the weekend to just stay in. I did work some, but mostly we just rested, I cooked and got the house in order, which is all very grounding for me. Things I wasn’t very successful with doing during the week itself.

These days I feel the waves of emotions come and go, within my body. The more tuned into to my physical body I become, the more I see how my emotional body impacts it and vice versa. By Saturday night I felt the weight literally lift. My eyes felt bright, open and my face less pressured and compact. My breathing that was shallow, was open and easy again.

Cumulatively, it’s been upwards of two weeks since I have been wallowing in the dumps, in varying degrees of distress. It goes all the way back here and here and got progressively harder as the days when on, as you’ll recall seeing here and here.

But that was last week. And then the weekend brought fresh energy. VC and I had some spontaneous but important conversations that I didn’t know needed to be had. Some words I needed to hear, some pieces falling into place. Some reassurance, some support I needed, but didn’t realise it was right here for the taking. On Sunday, I just took the time to savour the return of energy and normalcy. We spent the day with VC’s family, which surprisingly was a good break for me.

It was only over the course of the weekend, when I relaxed and quit literally returned to my body, that I realised I’ve been feeling quite emotionally knackered the past few days. So I eased up, and went to bed with a belly full of good homely food, having spent a few hours setting up my old-new laptop again, and knowing somewhere in the pit of my being that the new week is going to be different.

Lo and behold, I was right. This morning I felt alive again. Like a butterfly that’s emerged out of a pupa. We focus so much on the flourish and beauty of the emergence, not realising that the process of coming out is preceded by so much physical distress, thrashing around, exercising new muscles that will enable flight.

I felt freedom in my body this morning, a new energy. New wings. New light. New day. It’s easy to think of growth as a peachy, honey soaked journey where you move from milestone to milestone all the better for it. Yes, we’re largely always better from our experiences of growth, but they are never without their share of stretch and deeply painful challenges.

It’s also very easy to deny myself the allowance of feeling and being challenged in this way, because of the assumption that doing self work somehow makes me immune to it. It’s a constant process of reminding myself how human I am. That in healing means opening up to feeling things more keenly, allowing for a lot more emotional onslaught, but learning to handle it with gentleness and care.

I am only human. I’m coming back to life. All over, yet again.

(Monday Tarot Messages will resume next week.)

One year ago: This way or that
Two years ago: I request another dream
Four years ago: I’m reading again, so books

Mehh

It’s been a really stupid day. And a stupid week. Testing my patience and resilience to the max and I’m happy to report I didn’t allow myself to be tested and come out on top, rather gave in to the overall shittiness that has ensued.

I a bit stumped (and also angry) to think the personal upheaval of being in class last week might have triggered it all, making these slightly challenging (otherwise normal) circumstances a bit more exaggerated in my experience. I’ve gone from being okay with the ebb and flow of everything to totally resenting and resisting the slump I’ve found myself in this week.

There is a definite grieving of an ending. Of this phase of learning finishing and having to leave the nest. But there is also immense grief of being consistently gaslit through this experience. And such sadness at the realisation that I have spent so much energy in gritting my teeth and getting through, energy that could have been spent in being fully present instead.

At first I thought it was the energy dip that I usually go through after three days of intense work in class. But it’s persisted. Stayed and stayed and stayed. I’ve struggled through working out, I’ve been largely unmotivated, extra emotional. It’s never fun when I’m in this sort of a funk, but at least my work and the general state of togetherness I have managed to gather in the past months takes me thru.

That seems to have been turned upside down over the weekend. And a part of me is fucking pissed. Mad at events that transpired for triggering this spiral. Mad at folks. Mad at myself even a little bit.

Today, on top of all of this, my laptop has gone silently into the night. Dead. Third laptop in about 6 years. Which is ridiculous considering the amount I spend on them.

Overall it hasn’t been a kind week. It’s been hard to be happy even with the sparks I have had here and there.

This was one such:

First-time blooms on this most unsuspecting plant. It mostly looks like lush grass,of the wild sort. And I like it because I much prefer greens to flowers. But I least expected to see such a dainty, elegant bloom show up suddenly on this otherwise reedy plant.

It made my morning.

Other than that, I’m mostly wanting to just go underground for a bit and not come up till I don’t know when.

One year ago: Wash-out
Two years ago: July
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: Kinship, quietude and becoming

Go dark, go deep

It’s been hard to function optimally today. Just one of those days when the news feels heavier to take than I anticipated. Even though I haven’t looked at it much, the idea of what’s happening in the country today is giving me a physical reaction. An experience in my body that I have no words to explain.

I have had a busy few days. Lots of demands on my time but it’s been difficult to stay on top of things and accomplish any of it. My body keeps slowing me down and asking for pause. Perhaps to listen? To pay attention to what I’m feeling? And when I give in and pause, like I did today, I have been overwhelmed to the point of just wanting to lie down.

Today I feel heavy with accumulated grief. And broken, from the pain of this land I’m supposed to belong to. I feel disconnected within.

I was flabbergasted and simultaneously pacified when I found this today, trying to read up on Jung’s work around the divine feminine and the deep shadow. Flabbergasted because it’s resonates what I expressed in my post yesterday. Pacified because it makes sense.

I know that collectively working in the depths of the shadow is not a possibility. Not with the levels of hubris our leadership displays and emboldens in our people. The kind of bigness that leads us to believe we are the self-proclaimed benefactors of an imaginary God? When did we get so omnipotent? More than the divine source, protector of all life itself?

Is anyone else having a hard time processing this reality? This grotesque celebration of what is essentially the demolition of peace and hope, in the name of a building a structure that literally has no roots in reality, and exists on a purely mythological context? This ugly statement-making, evil message-sending like rubbing salt in still unhealed wounds, that is doing this on a day that marks the abrogation of 370?

How is this even happening?

I feel like the lights are turning off slowly. We’re going dark. I just hope some part of this means we’re going deep. Deeper into the shadow because I believe that is the only place from which the real new days, better days, hopeful days and peaceful days may emerge.

If I am being honest, I don’t feel as hopeful and optimistic today, as I’m trying to be.

I just hope I can be proven wrong and that we live to see a better day. To celebrate them in a better way. Laying the foundation stones on a legacy of hate and fascism, is not something I thought I’d see in my adulthood. And it doesn’t give me much reason to believe either.

One year ago: Content
Two years ago: Hold on to this feeling, when dreaming of leaving
Three years ago: Book ends
Four years ago: Stack overflow

Broken

I’ve spent the day feeling a bit heavy and sad about hitting the one year mark since 370 was abrogated. Thinking about how even one year down things are far from hreturned to normalcy, but slipped further into chaos, actually makes my eyes well up. That it is all just shrouded in silence, an entire state silenced, forgotten brings up so much grief for me. It hurts deeply, somehow.

I went for a long walk this evening. It wasn’t planned. But I needed the quiet and the time to be by myself and to just let my thoughts flow as the tears did.

I don’t know where we are going as a nation. This thought is not just troubling but very unsettling. I think of myself and how little time I feel I have, and wonder if I should be wasting it away in a country I no longer feel is my own.

The desire to leave and find elsewhere is real. Sure, every country on the planet has issues today, but I can think of at least a dozen where I feel safe, on the basis of my priorities in life at the moment.

I watched some videos of Shaheen Bagh today, feeling terrible that I didn’t make it there to witness it in person when I could. I cried watching the women, smiles on their faces, using their bodies to resist. How long will women continue to be the most vulnerable? How long will women have to stand in revolt, starting with our own bodies, within our own homes and further out into our streets and cities and lands beyond?

I know a fearless state is potentially nonexistent. I don’t know if I can ever be completely devoid of fear, but I like to dream of a land where these basic fears won’t chase me. A fear of speaking my mind, because I think differently. Fear of believing in things opposed to that of the status quo, the majority. The fear of looking, living and feeling differently from what “I’m supposed to feel”.

Fear of carrying my life around in a woman’s body. Fear of not conforming. Fear of letting too much show, having said too much, or feeling too much. A very real fear of never being able to live unguarded — physically, emotionally.

***

This is the reality we live in. The country is being ripped to shreds in every way possible. If you’re tuned into the news, you’ll know in how many, many, many ways. So many ways, it hurts. So many, many ways, it feels impossible to even think about how we’ll begin to make amends. It feels like an attack, and it feels very, very personal. Even I in my privileged bubble, feel afraid. And I feel rage. And I feel helplessness.

 ***

Most of us live in constant conflict with our shadow selves, whether consciously or unconsciously. It’s that deep dark place that holds all our vulnerabilities, our triggers, our fears and shame safe from being out in the open for all to see. And so we live in a way that denies its very existence. But that only amplifies and strengthens it. That which is kept under wraps, finds all kinds of ways to surface and be seen. And I think this is what is happening in this country. Generations of keeping our hypocrisies, our chasms and the fault lines of our sick, sick culture under wraps is what has brought us to this point in history where our shadow side as a nation is on full display.

As with any churn, a deep unsettlement ensues, bringing up both the sweet and sick, the benevolent and maleficent, the good and evil in (un)equal measure. In my personal journey, I have seen how working to excavate my sense of wholeness or personhood has required me to sit with my shadow. The dark spaces that hold these not so pleasant parts of me. And I wonder if as a nation this is our time of reckoning. To sit with the ugliness, call it what it is, not wish it away, not side step it, but sit right with it, name it and wait for the great churn to complete its tide.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is this. There is no getting to wellness without discomfort. Similarly, there is no getting to healing and wholeness, without first experiencing the many ways in which we are in fact broken.

On the eve of the day that marks a year since we snuffed out an entire state, erasing very specifically the experiences of millions of a certain community; on the eve of a day when this country will celebrate the inauguration of a temple whose very foundation is steeped in carnage; I feel broken today.

I feel broken.

Four years ago: So green

Grumps

Having a grumpy week and not feeling so good. I’ve turned to my cards and plants for solace. And I haven’t felt inspired to say very much.

Bleargh.

One year ago: New
Three years ago: Bangalore: a graphic novel
Four years ago: Interwebzy things

Strange days

Having my monthly enough-of-this-staying-in-nonsense vibes, but also this time it’s come amidst a really busy set of days, and just ahead of getting back into the classroom. A daunting three days of being in an online class, in front of a screen for about six to eight hours. Something I have long forgotten how to do.

It’s just one of those days where I can’t wait for the week to be done.

And by now I know the cycles that these kind of days are keeping. I know the loop, and so I’m riding this one out too.

Four years ago: 2016 monsoon earworms