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.

Returning

My sleep cycle is totally and fully back to normal. I have hesitated to accept this sooner, because I was so sure it was just another blip in this up and down year, and that it wasn’t going to last. But it has been about 7 weeks now, of having a more or less consistent (but loose) daily routine that involves sleeping at a decent time (read: pre-midnight haha) and waking up at a time that allows me to get in a morning workout of some kind, and still have time to tend to chores and have a full day, if I so choose to.

Some return to “normal” since everything went upside down in March. And it feels good. For many of us, daily habits and routines are essential keepers of rhythm for life. Making sure there are enough nourishing elements to every day has always been important for me, but when I began to approach this with a consciousness that was previously missing, I have gone full circle from being a slave to routine, to breaking it completely, going very very off-track, and coming back to some normalcy, but with balance.

You know habits have changed in a deeper way when they remain, without much effort, even when you’re on a break.

One year ago: True
Two years ago: You’re still young and that’s your fault
Four years ago: Moarrrr books

On trees and roots

Old-but-renewed fascination with watching age-old trees surfaced some weeks ago, aided by morning wanderings in parts of Bangalore that are beautifully shrouded in a tunnel of treetops. I recollected and shared Mary Oliver’s meditations on Tress some days ago on Instagram and D pointed me to a Larkin poem I have somehow never read before. I don’t know how I could have missed this absolute beauty through 5 years of studying English Literature, in which Larkin featured pretty frequently.

Better late than never, I suppose. Because this, today, speaks to me at so many levels. And maybe that’s why it’s stayed, the words dashing about in my head, playing a game of squash, ever since I read them two weeks ago. Making me look at trees longer, slower, and persuading me to listen in.

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full-grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Delicious, no?

It’s hard not to see that my obsessive draw and deepening connection to all things green, to having and growing them, to enjoying their company and being surrounded by them has only grown over the last many months. It’s safe to say it very literally gives me a space to ground myself in, and to find real, dirty, hands-on parallels with my own emotional journey and process.

These days, I have my most calming epiphanies and those quiet life-changing aha-moments that make me smile stupidly to myself, when I am running/exercising or gardening. This is why it has also been important and easy to include these two activities into my daily routine, and not just for when I want to have some fun on a whim.

When something takes root, deep and strong, there is a space of anticipation, waiting, uncertainty that comes about. On the one hand, you cannot see what’s at work underground, and it’s also too soon to tell what will happen above. The only thing to do is wait, with faith, and continued dedication to nurturance.

Evocative possibilities can come to life in that space of nothingness. Promise of so many possible futures that can unfold, unravel, that will push through like literal life. Possibilities of thriving, surprises. Stories of death and resurrection. Literal cycles of life in full display within this microcosm.

It’s a place where dreams are real, and unreal all at once. Where possibility is both suspended and in-waiting, but also impending and somehow certain.

That space of seeming emptiness is potent, it is fertile. There is nothing to see, but I have felt it, when I have waited and let the emptiness touch me. And nowadays, when I listen closely, I feel the rootedness saying to me;

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

This morning, I remembered something very sweet and powerful that S said to me in a casual whatsapp chat many, many moons ago. It was such a simple articulation of a very profound thought about leaving people behind as we grow into our own. A thought she had had but we were both beating around the bush trying to catch, pickle and put down in words — and failing.

Until she said;

And this leaving people behind that you talk about is how a tree leaves the ground behind.

Even in the profundity of the moment then, I didn’t see how eminently crucial roots are. In the process of growing. Of transforming. Of gathering wisdom and understanding. And of leaving. Of grasping opportunities to beginning afresh.

Three years ago: Grow
Four years ago: Morning moods

Run, run, run

I’ve been running consistently for the last two weeks now, and it has given me some respite from the exercise rut I was in. And now I’m running everywhere. In my neighbourhood, around my neighbourhood, beyond my neighbourhood, and taking myself to the park for longer run as often as I can.

As usual, humbled and amazed at how the body adapts and responds, still. It took about 12 days of being dissatisfied with my pace (because I am nothing without my unrealistic, gold-standard expectations of myself) and feeling so much regret for all the lost stamina, for my pace to improve. When I noticed that tiny sliver of an improvement, I behaved like I’d run a full marathon, of course.

***

Then last week, just as I was reminiscing my days of training hardddd with B and R in Goa — literally the only thing I still sorely, sorely miss about my life there, and the one thing (yes, even more than than the beach) I could go back for in a heartbeat — B messaged me to say hi after almost a whole year. And it turns out they’ve moved to teaching online, much like the rest of the world. I don’t know why I didn’t think to reach out sooner and get in on it, right from the safety of my own home. But, I managed to sneak in two sessions last week that injected me with energy and excitement about working out differently again.

It was a good reality check too — to see that I’m not nearly as badly off a I imagined and I haven’t quite lost all that good form from three years ago. I was stunned to have finished the class in one piece, even though I has collapsed into a ball of sweat and endorphins by the end of it.

One year ago: Rest
Two years ago: Not yet lost all our graces

The hidden life of trees

So, I decided to break my boredom with home workouts and desperate missing of the gym, by braving the outdoors and resuming running again.

It’s been three days and one whole day of severely sore legs, but I feel so good.

It’s more than what running does for my body, which in itself is a whole other story. But I’m also beginning to see why being outdoors in an enveloping tunnel of trees, that are overwhelmingly old and large, surrounded by eye-hurting green views, even as small and limited as they are in a city park, does for me.

It’s a reminder to keep growing. To keep going. Of how strong roots are the key to talk trees. Of age and wisdom. Of a silent judgement-free witnessing. Of the cradle of mother earth. Of the place that energy and the elements have in giving life. Of fertility even in times of destruction. Of survival and enduring.

On Sunday, practically my first real long run since March (because I’m not counting the two failed attempts in May and June), I had a mini cry behind my mask even as I had just entered the parking and started my run. I just felt overwhelmed to be outdoors, for one. But I was also just taken by these large, old trees. Just standing there, watching the world go by, as they have for years now. I also felt a surge of endorphins, and while they’re usually known to induce extreme highs interpreted as happiness I have noticed that they heighten whatever emotion I am allowing myself to feel. That day it was overwhelming gratitude and aliveness.

I have not appreciated trees enough in my life. And that day I realised I have probably not appreciated the trees in Bangalore enough in my life.

They’re becoming reminders for me. Of life and growth. Of swaying with lightness and tenderness, while being powerfully rooted. Of grounding. Of joy and life. Of air and breath.

In the inimitable words of Mary Oliver, who I have realised has woven beauty in words for every goddamn experience, it’s simple.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Stay. Awhile.

One year ago: Brain noodles
Four years ago: Wandering, right here at home

Things I miss

I’m officially maxed out on the home workouts. I’ve exhausted my entire source of inspiration/motivation — within, and online — and I just miss the gym.

I miss running far. I miss lifting heavy weights. I miss mixing things up.

I realised on the weekend that because I’ve only been doing hard cardio and interval training, and absolutely no stretch and conditioning, I have gotten lean some, but I have lost significant amounts of strength.

My legs and core feel much stronger. Probably stronger than when I was regular at the gym. I see this in how easily I am doing things I dreaded even at the beginning of the lockdown when I began working out at home. Like burpees, like mountain climbers, like knee tucks. Easy-peasy and I have gradually built up my reps.

But, I can no longer do a push-up. I was never good at them to begin with, but the weight training and conditioning at the gym helped me stay in touch. I can’t even sustain a plank for as long as I used to. I feel a definite loss of upper body (arms and shoulder) strength. This, I feel in just lifting regular shit. Like groceries. And water cans.

And I feel sad about that.

This whole loosening the grip on exercise — rather the grip the need to exercise had on me — and shifting the focus from cosmetic and appearance-based outcomes, to performance and health has been good for how I am able to go with the flow, it has meant getting in touch with the true nature of my energy. Which is not uniform. Neither is my motivation. It made me realise that all these years of regular exercise was only sustained because I had an unnatural standard that required going against the grain of my intuitive energy, my instinct, to make myself do it.

It’s interesting that at one time I was naive enough to consider some years in Goa, when I surrounded myself with a lot of fit, badass women, to be my fittest. Because I worked out super hard, six days a week. And didn’t see even half the results I have seen after I relaxed and found my own rhythm. It was terrible for my mental health and sense of self. The ideals and notions of fitness I absorbed weren’t the best.

Now, I take days off when I need to. I eat with balance. I have found what works for me by listening to my body. Most importantly, I allow myself to fall off the bandwagon. And somehow I am leaner and healthier than I have ever been. Even more than when I went on a massive shred.

I find different ways to exercise, because I have realised I need a new form every 5-6 months. Accepting all this has made a huge difference to where I am mentally. Because it means I have had to come to love the natural ups and downs that come with it. The jumping off and on the bandwagon when it happens naturally. Being okay with the effects that has and how it shows in my body. Managing the health implications of it all.

And being in agreement with that.

Because whatever I was seeking from working out the way I did, is now being fulfilled elsewhere. In a healthy way. And I feel more in tune with myself, with what my body needs in order for it to work for me, as a result.

I am at home in my body.

I feel like we are allies, where earlier I had to hack my body and be at war with it, beat it to shape ad make it do things I couldn’t do.

That same intuition is what tells me now that I am done with working out at home. I need a treadmill. And a rack of weights.

Two years ago: What good is it to live, with nothing left to give
Four years ago: About home

Same same

Still here, finding the tiny silver lining in the midst of a pandemic that’s raging out of control and has our authorities foxed. Focusing on staying well, staying safe, staying indoors and staying positive.

And it’s a tough ask. I mean last week the health minister just threw his hands up and said only God can now save us from this message. Today he says he alone can’t be expected to do the work.

Then why for you became Health Minister, saar?

Even WHO videos are now pissing me off with how absolutely wishy washy, unreliable and ineffective they’re beginning to sound. Just so much hand-wringing and nothing more. Even seven months since this thing broke out. How is this a 2020 reality?

Virus aside, though, I’m still intermittently in awe of alllllllll the ramifications of the way in which life has been toppled over and all that we are having to contend with.

There’s so many things I hope I never take for granted again. Hugs, for one. Sunlight and fresh air. Just human presence, is what I miss the most I think. Poor VC is bearing the brunt of all my need for human contact, facing frequent assaults of love. But yeah, I can’t unsee some of the fundamental ways in which life has shifted for me. Fourth month of doing all home chores by ourselves and we’ve stacked up a whole load of lessons learned but also tricks and hacks to make this work. I don’t think I can go back to the old ways of waste and excess (in so many little things) in a hurry. Eating meals at the table has been such a joy. Working out at home has been a revelation. And I’m only just scratching the surface. A lot of the changes we have made are small and private and I don’t want to be virtue signalling by talking about them at length. Also, I know this has been the process for many, many people. Everyone has had their own set of learnings and have changed their lives in important ways.

So I’d be lying if I said this painful time hasn’t been without gifts.

It’s just taken me a while to assimilate, look back and acknowledge them. Despite feeling fully the privilege it speaks of to be even doing this. For too long I let the guilt of that privilege stop me. Until I recently realised privilege too is a gift and I’m wasting it by letting the guilt paralyse me. I can instead acknowledge it, own it and let it move me to actually do things.

I ranted about just wanting to go out on my Instagram the other day, and it took absolutely no time for someone to point out that staying in is a privilege! like I was ignorant about or hadn’t possibly considered that truth. That presumption aside, it reflected exactly my own thought process around this. How stuck I have felt from just acknowledging my privilege. And what a shift it has been to accept and own it and instead move on to thinking about how I can use my privilege positively and constructively. Even if just for my own life.

(Also, acknowledging and agreeing with an inherent privilege doesn’t make the feelings of wanting to leave, any less true. Why do we insist on existing in stark binaries so much? The two states can absolutely coexist!)

Heard this Pico Iyer quote the other day on a podcast, and it hit home why some times, some parts of this shit show begin to make sense. And some times it feels good too.

Going nowhere, as Leonard Cohen would later emphasize for me, isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.

Three years ago: In which I end up without a phone
Four years ago: Rainy day feels

At home in my body

Last evening, I spontaneously snuck in a workout because I had just as spontaneously skipped it in the morning, in favour of spending the morning being very, very homey. Even though I’m doing the same workouts, my energy is about the same, the same struggles persist and most else remains the same — something subtle but important has changed.

It hit me like a tiny pin dropping in a silent room, last evening. Sharp, cutting clarity — My body feels much more like my own. I really feel how I inhabit it.

My body feels different in the way it moves, and I feel much more connected, and in tune with how it moves.

What has been conscious and intentional over the last few months is a shift in how I approach my physical practices — exercise, and all the other body-focused habits I keep. I’ve become much, much more loose, comfortable and fluid in how I keep them. Even so, I can’t pin point one thing that made this shift happen — it’s a combination and culmination of some mindfully cultivated aspects, but also some surprise — and I can’t say when it has happened either. My sense is it was a gradual flow, a loosening or melting perhaps.

In the moment that it hit me, I was bouncing around my living room, freestyle. Eyes closed, enjoying a loud AC/DC song. Previously, even “freestyle” has been rigid, where I come from. Lines, points, beats, bars. This is what I know, and I feel it is also what I have absorbed deeply.

But yesterday, I felt a flow that was definitely surprising and new. Fluidity, like a splotch of paint that’s running amok and cannot be corrected or fixed to stay within the lines. An unruly, unfettered energy that coursed through not just my limbs — that I usually associate as aids of movement — but my whole body. My neck, my chest, my waist, hips, torso. Even my eyes, closed, felt warm and full of energy.

What I do know is, the past few months have made me befriend my body in a new way. It’s shown me a new level of faith and gratitude for my body. Gratitude for everything that it endures and allows me to do — the stretch and the misuse included.

But also faith, that it is mine and on my side. I’ve found this in a truly embodied way, and I feel it in how easily I have been able to slip and slide through the energy ups and downs, listening keenly and leaning in to whatever my body wants and asks for. Conversely, having it respond with ease and grace when I need it to. I feel so firmly that it needn’t be punished, tamed or moulded harshly into being something else. Just what it is, will do.

It’s my inner gaze that’s shifted — a little softening in how I see myself. Tender, where I was once rigid. Gentle, even as I feel strong. Easy, with how I use restrain. More welcoming of the idea of human fragility, even in my body, where I once chased a strange notion of invincibleness.

All of this was never part of my plan. I didn’t even know there was healing to be done as far as my relationship with my body goes or how it impacts so many other things in my life. I’ve always held the physical somewhat separate from the emotional, despite ample training and experience that has shown me surprising links between the two. I didn’t think I “needed” a deeper connection between the two in myself. So in that sense, this was not part of the plan.

But that is just it: healing takes surrendering to the process as it happens. Minus any pre-planned notions and ideas about how to proceed or what to focus on.

At this point it’s hard for me to say if surrender has brought me here, or if getting here has shown me another gift of surrender.

Of course, the regular exercise has made me leaner and more toned than I have been in a long while, and I will not deny how good I feel. Confident, healthy and happy in my body. But there has been something more. A sense of oneness. Like arriving at a meeting place between the infinite world inside of me and the finite body that holds it. It’s a feeling of having yet again come home. And it feels very, very whole and contained this time around.

Rooted and fluid at the same time. Strong and tender at the same time.

And it’s inspired a kind of revelling and enjoying of my body. A little more unabashedly than before.

One year ago: Days like these
Two years ago: Always somewhere, miss you where I’ve been

Happy in my belly

It’s been a little over a month of going over the edge, letting go fully and enjoying it fully for what it was. Eating all the things — and I mean allllll the things — guilt-free, without rules, without any restrictions; and allowing for little routine as far as exercise goes. It was great while it lasted, and I have fully recognised my need to go off the bandwagon every so often, as a very vital part of staying on it for the greater part. I can only sustain something, if I have the window to let go now and then.

But, now it has begun to show. On my skin. On my energy. On my sleep. And so quite naturally, as it always does, my body has brought me back to the middle path, by simply asking for what is needed. Cleaner food, a little discipline and regular exercise.

So, I have turned the corner again. Bringing back into moderation that which I had let run amok, quite deliberately for a while.

It’s been a week of just simple changes and returning to some old habits. I feel so rewarded, with the ability to listen to what my body is asking for — whether it is to let go the rules, fearlessly, knowing that I will be guided back when the time is right — and doing what’s needed, giving my body what it needs and is asking for, and watching it respond so quickly. With wellness, with balance, with centredness.

That I have been able to flow with this, in and out, without effort, just through listening in keenly and being in tune with my body and the cues it’s gives me all the time, is a true gift.

One year ago: Mush
Two years ago: Slowly drifting, wave after wave
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: Sunday lunch edition
Four years ago: Like Nike, but better

Peace, within and without

First thing in the morning is my most preferred time of day for exercise. In a perfect world, my energy and willingness would be right up there with that intention. But that isn’t always the case. And it is only very recently that I have come into agreement with this fact, without feeling like I am somehow useless for not always meeting that standard.

I don’t know if it is just an outcome of ageing that I am me seeing how my “morning person” energy is shifting, as it does, mostly towards a natural slowing down, or if this has always been true and I am only just getting more comfortable with my inherent patterns of energy.

I am also at my most energetic, nimble and supple in the few days right after my period, while at my least energetic and not desiring movement in the days right before my period.

Today was that kind of day. Slow, blobby, body not entirely willing even though head and heart were. So even though I woke up early and had a perfect window to workout, I found myself moving in a very measured way, doing everything else except getting ready to exercise.

I nearly cancelled out the workout entirely, even. But pushed myself just a wee bit. Because I have rarely never regretted a workout once I have finished, no matter what the circumstances before I began.

This is also a part of rolling with the punches — the willingness and ease with breaking the plan, with doing something rather than nothing at all, going as far as is possible than not going at all, not being exacting and demanding with my expectations of myself.

Picked a short, quick, high-impact workout today. There is quite nothing like that burst of energy, even for a body that not so long ago felt unwilling to move. Invariably, it takes all of 5-7 minutes for me to feel like I can move. And so I am glad I pushed through with whatever I had to give and however I was able to show up today. Because by the end of it, I felt bliss.

Bliss is just the word for it. Have you ever felt bliss within your body? Like the sun shining out from within you? I felt that way this morning, despite that feet-dragging start. And so I felt instinctively drawn to step outside, to the little sliver of sunshine I get and feeling one with the world around me.

It has to be said that even with the ups and downs in my emotions, in context to what’s been going on around me and the world at large, I feel very much at one with myself lately. A sense of togetherness within me. Peace inside of me. Quite anchored and not wanting to uproot anything — a sense of everything being in it’s place.

Earlier, when this contentment showed up, it would come with a desperate need to hold on to it. To bottle it. To keep it for a rainy day. I notice now that there is a new ease with just witnessing, experiencing it in the now, now. And letting it go. And welcoming all experiences and everything that they bring, alike.

This is so new, and I suspect a major reason for the peace, even in the face of feeling low sometimes, quite a bit of grief sometimes, physical distress from being restricted too.

I want to acknowledge this experience I’m having, of seeing and knowing emotions, without being hijacked by them, getting swept away or losing my footing when in their effect. Is this possibly a brush with inner peace?

***

Today, this also made me really happy.

***

Looking back at posts from July one year ago, and again balking at what a different place I was in, in my head and in my life. It seems too distant to even process, like reading the words of an entirely different person.

This year, with the coming of the monsoon, that expected and predictable yearning to be in Goa is all but missing. A fascinating development. I mean, I would love to be there in the monsoon, but every year since I have moved away, this time of year used to bring an aching longing and FOMO, which hasn’t come this year.

One year ago: The rain
Three years ago: I need to sit with the quiet, I know that much
Four years ago: The rain, the rain

Saturday morning done right

When it’s raining outside.

…and err, inside also.

Four months of very, very regular working out, right after a whole year of running more than I have in many, many years means I now need new training shoes. This is the quickest I am having to replace a pair of sneakers.

One year ago: Decompress
Two years ago: Did we fly to the moon too soon?
Three years ago: Back to base. Almost.

Outdoors

In the midst of all the madness last week, I managed to wake up early, put my mask on and head out for my first outdoor run in over three months. I swear, I cried a little.

And because I felt so good, I went again, the very next day. It was raining, a typicaly Bangalore morning, feathery drizzle all the way through my entire run. It felt so great to be outdoors, and so good to be running in the rain.

It’s all the exercise I could manage. But it gave me a burst of energy and good hormones I so needed. I took the weekend off from volunteering, and lay low. Feeling feels. Journaling, painting, listening to music. Eating greasy Chinese take out. Crying and laughing. Sleeping. Not exercising. Just listening.

Then Monday came around, and I knew from the moment I woke up and stepped out of bed that it was going to be better. This week, I’m looking forward to gently getting my exercise and cooking routine back on track. Infections are spiking in Bangalore again and I’m not feeling so safe to head out again for a run. It was short-lived joy, but I think I’ll pass for now. Back to those home workouts that I’ve not done in two weeks now. My fridge was a mess, overstocked, but chaotic with nothing cohesive to make a meal from. I cleared it out and set that right over the weekend and already, I feel so much better.

As much as I am raring to get going, I clearly am not ready to dive into the deep end, so I have had to reign myself in and stay with what I can do and what my body and mind is allowing for. This whole experience has been a live lab for all my learning in boundaries, empathy, holding space for the other while also making space for everything that it rakes up within me. And I’m quite pleased with how I have pulled myself through it. Not punishing myself, but staying very close to what I need and taking it when I must.

Two years ago: Love on the weekend   
Four years ago: I’m only procrastinating to avoid the discomfort

Lovely day

Highlights:

My tuck jumps have gotten steadily better. I’ve gone from not being able to do more than 2-3 at a stretch in February, to being able to do a slippy cheat version for 30 seconds (cheating was the only way to endure the interval) on my birthday, to today doing them really bloody well for the entire interval.

I felt seriously stoked. Working out within the physical restrictions of a 4x5ish space in my living room at home has upped my game. Who’dathunk?

Vc had a light work day and so we spent it together relaxing, just doing our own thing. It is a seriously underrated luxury.

I cooked lunch today as opposed to eating leftovers from dinner the previous night, which is usually the strategy. Sindhi kadhi, methi aloo and some crispies on the side — perfect for the threatening-to-pour-any-minute-now day that it was.

Then it came down finally. It poured the fuck out at sunset and things have cooled off considerably.

I went the whole hog and made Biryani today. Friday onions, a separate meat curry cooked in coconut milk, half cooked basmati rice. Layered and cooked on the dum. It was divine and I even took a picture, which I looked at much later, only to discover it’s a perfect depiction of how good the biryani smelt and looked because I was clearly in too much of a rush to dig in.

Two years ago: There’s still time for another
Four years ago: On the calmness of being at home

Wild and free

My mind feels well. And by well I mean in tune with the rest of me. My body hasn’t felt this whole in years. Supple, and just this comfortable in my skin, this alive. My skin has really benefited from this lockdown. Between the clean air, home food, measured indulgences, regular sweaty exercise and a mind that feels well too, it’s really all cumulatively showing on my skin. Not just my face either.

The hair, though. That’s a whole other story. It’s just going out of control doing it’s wild thing as it would, two months over the usual stipulated time. It really hassled me for a while. But I am just going with it now. Also, let’s not talk about body hair right now.

Emotionally, I’ve had really good days, and really shit, shit days too. It’s been especially hard to not have anywhere to run off to, literally and figuratively. But somehow that is exactly also what’s needed? Sitting with the full gamut of all the feels. And I know that that has been extremely beneficial. Painful, but essential.

My dreams have been crazy. Frequent too. Not the unbelievable/imaginary kind of crazy, but the very real, featuring people in my life, revisiting places I have been, in a very surprising way kind of crazy. I’ve been journaling my dreams too. And I know this has been beneficial too.

There’s a wild and free feeling in my being these days. Ironic, no? Given our existence is anything but wild. And the farthest thing from free.

This is the mid-week look of having smashed out a workout I nearly didn’t do. I realised this morning that I may have literally never regretted a workout once it is done. Even when I’ve procrastinated or had starting trouble, once I have pushed through and finished it, I always feel good. It is always worth it.

I’m not happy all the time. I’m not productive everyday. I feel uncomfortable, uncertain and anxious a lot. I notice very keenly these days when I am not alright, in fact. When I’m not happy. When I’m restless. When I’m angsty. And I notice when I long for an escape, and when I am able to just observe it and let it pass. I notice how I’m turning to my usual rescue team a lot less. I see that it l eventually passes. I see a change there, in all of it.

Even through this very up and down time, something’s working, something’s shifted, something’s right.

One year ago: Vulnerability and validation
Four years ago: Birthday weekend in progress

Just now

It gave me joy to do something for just myself yesterday. 90 minutes spent alone at home, by myself and with myself. At two points when we were required to place our palms on our heart centre, my eyes welled up profusely.

Practicing a form of yoga that isn’t about the physical body as much as it is about the emotional body. No getting sweaty and breathing heavy. No complex poses. No challenging the body physically. Just steady, mindful breathing for a whole 90 minutes, while observing what comes up emotionally, when the body is placed in certain ways.

As someone who has a strong physical practice that is all about the challenge, rigour and stretching my limits, and most definitely performing better, this is a challenge but surprisingly, as I discovered yesterday, also a delight.

***

Things I am desperately craving:

  • A really cold, crisp beer
  • A run in the park. Heck, even around the block would be good, right now
  • A good, meaty burger
  • Cool, crunchy papdi chaat, with cold dahi and pomegranate on top

Things that are making me really happy right now:

  • My plants (I’ve started to call it a garden) are thriving again, the hibiscus flowering regularly, all babies growing up very quickly, new shoots and leaves and buds showing up in places they haven’t before
  • Thums up
  • Mangoes
  • The silence

One year ago: Slow and steady
Two years ago: The times, they are a-changing
Four years ago: Go far, they said