Greens

All the different kinds of greens I’ve seen.

This was lunch one afternoon. Everything on my plate was home grown.

Evening walk pitstop. So green. So chill.

Morning walk abandoned quarry explorations with these two.

Kind of ridiculous that this is our backyard. Alternating between pinching myself to come back to reality and feeling very, very grateful.

One year ago: Mediocre
Two years ago: Take a deep breath
Four years ago: Control issues

Making gardens

This past Sunday, right after my weekly thorough home cleaning, my sister and I cooked a giant brunch that we ate lazily with my parents. We followed it up with coffee, carrot cake and pain au chocolat. Then, when my parents retired for naps, my sister and I got down to dirty business.

Just like the old days. When Sunday lunches were had together, lazily, in that post weekly-oil-massage-and-bath haze. And as soon as my parents would turn in for a nap my sister and I would begin some serious afternoon play. In the garden, mostly getting our hands in the mud, mixing it up with all kinds of nasty stuff (I remember atta and talcum powder, amongst other things) making concoctions and serving it up to imaginary guests at our imaginary restaurant or home or whatever else.

Except this past weekend, we embarked on some overdue repotting of some of my large houseplants that had long outgrown the pots they were in. Same, same, but different. All these years later, getting our hands in the mud is still our idea of fun and play.

The alocasia has been sprouting leaves furiously and consistently for over a year now, but I noticed some weeks ago that the leaves were beginning to get a tad smaller than usual. I’ve had a larger pot ready for it since December last year, so it was about time. The fiddle leaf fig, that I’ve named Salma, is doing well, but I read up about FLF health and it turns out they require well drained, loose soil, and infrequent but predictable watering patterns, in order to sprout those large waxy, shiny leaves we love. For some reason the nursery gave it to me with some compacted, hard-packed soil that I was convinced wasn’t working.

So we made a session of it. Mixing compost mix, cocopeat and garden soil with neem chunks and what not. Transferring things from one pot to another, uprooting my plants — which seriously gave me so much anxiety — and repotting them. And while we were at it, I also managed to separate some Alocasia babies that had sprouted by the sides of the main plant, and got two more plants out of it!

The propagation got it’s weekly bath in the kitchen sink, all the various receptacles got a thorough wash, and the cuttings were placed back in delicately. Next week they will find home in the earth, far, far away from this ledge the’ve been perched on for months now where I have been rooting them for my father.

***

There’s a definite increase in the number of butterflies and bugs and bees that visit the balconies of late. The other day a massive Monarch butterfly flew into my living room, wandered around for a bit, flitting from one plant to the next, even though none of them are flowering plants, settling on my armchair for a few seconds and left. And then, last week out of nowhere, we had a swarm of dragonflies passing through. They hung around for a good three days, but I noticed that at night, groups of them would cling to my pink bougainvillea, hanging upside down, asleep.

The garden is doing its thing, me thinks.

It feels like sigs of life are cropping up around me everywhere.

(I’m sorry this has turned into a full-on commentary about plants at large, and is probably not what you signed up for. But it is what it is. For now. Oh well.)

One year ago: It was all yellow
Four years ago: Empty

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

Nourish

Feed your desires.

Keep your heart warm.

Stay grounded. Grow. Thrive.

These pictures were taken sporadically, across last week. I like when the picture reel on my phone tells me stories when I look back at it on a lazy Sunday evening after a busy week.

I see in this triptych, for example, this sequence that is a pretty accurate summation of what I have been feeling and staying with. The need to cocoon, go inwards, to listen closely to the whispers of my being, and tend to the heart of it all with unfussy basics. Vitalising food, plenty of water, any thing that takes me to my roots.

It’s been such an up and down week, but the weekend was utterly fulfilling and has me brimming over. Winding down today with a light hum of gratitude reverberating within me.

One year ago: Running updates
Two years ago: Walking high on the wire
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: making friends edition
Four years ago: Down and up again

In-between lives

Every time that I think this one’s life is over, she shows me, almost defiantly, that it is not. Her leaves have been strangely compressed and perpetually curled up with no flowers to be seen for months now, and nothing I did seemed to help. Moved her around to a different spot in the balcony, loosened the soil as bougainvillea like, added fertiliser, reduced watering greatly — still nada.

I know bougainvillea much prefer bright, hot sunlight and don’t care much for the rain, and this is a problem in my home. I get adequate sunlight throughout the day, but it’s not direct and it’s not the fresh morning sun that flowering plants love. Also it’s been consistently rainy here in Bangalore for the last few weeks now. So that could be one reason she is seemingly not doing too well. However, this deduction wasn’t accurate because my other bougainvillea is doing fine. Great, even. With bushy, light and feathery, graceful fronds of white blossoms billowing in the monsoony winds, right next to this one.

Anyhow, last week I said out loud that maybe it’s time to just let this one go. Put her to rest, and use this large pot for something else. Almost immediately, within the next few days, she burst into this profusion of the salmon-est-salmony blooms, reminding me of the reason why I picked this plant from the nursery, in the first place. This exact shade of orange-salmon-blushing is what I imagine “the pink of life” is.

I’m growing to see more than meets the eye with my plants, and I’m revelling in how they respond to how much energy I direct towards them. And this whole episode spoke to me at so many levels.

One year ago: Stay and stay a while
Two years ago: I want the truth to be said
Three years ago: Finding life again
Four years ago: Lines and dreams

We’re going through changes

So it’s not just me. The Economist has this amazing piece on how Covid has changed lifestyles significantly. It’s safe to say this is not a mere passing trend, but change from within that is here to stay for a while longer than just the next fad. It was very comforting to read how the world over, we have turned to cooking, cleaning, DIY and home-making, craft and arts, gardening, pottery, baking, embroidery and knitting and the like to find some semblance of peace amidst the chaos, and our centres in the face of being thrown off kilter completely.

I realise that this too is global. Not just the destruction and chaos of the pandemic, but also the troubling churn that is also an opportunity for transformation that it is offered us all.

This impetus to find different ways to be has been triggered within us all partly from realising how undependable the current ways of the world are. How fragile and illusionary they are, how little support they offer. And most importantly, the gaping holes of inequity that have been exposed.

We were never meant to slave away like cogs in a relentless capitalist wheel in the way that we do. Running on the hamster wheel endlessly, chasing after one milestone after another, like mirages in a vast, desolate desert. But we were willing to cash in on whatever it offered, in the belief that it will somehow remain forever. This was the road to happiness. But how quickly all of that went to shit. And how quickly the discomfort struck each and every one of us, in some manner or another.

I wonder if the changes I am seeing — and I truly am seeing them in folks around me — are in a small manner coming from an awakening. A slow, slow return to the certain primal ways we were meant to exist in. Working with our hands, nourishing ourselves, finding pockets of rest, looking for joy in things other than making a living, doing the things that matter to our lives first, before feeding corporations became the only means to making a living.

Thinking about living and life first, and allowing the means to organically emerge from there. Rather than retrofitting the means to a living, to the kind of life we are then saddled with.

In my own space, I know that the slow down that this has caused has permeated more than just the pace at which I function. I have been more observant, more aware, I feel more in-tune with the world around me, I feel fiercely about certain tenets I now want to live my life by, I see the ways in which my internal and external worlds echo and mirror each other, and therefore the need to find balance, moderation and sustainability.

This didn’t just come out of nowhere. It came from getting down to the basics again. From literally getting down on my hands and knees to clean my home, chop veggies, grow plants, dig the soil, water fresh blooms, wash my loos, clean the dustbin, mindfully stock and store groceries amongst other things.

It made it impossible not to observing keenly what it takes to live life, and what (and how much!) I lost from dissociating from the acts of basic living completely. In outsourcing, I severed that connection to the very hands-on acts of living life. Putting food on the table, keeping a hygienic home, being curious about how much I consume.

Somehow, this made me aware of the plurality of life around me. The diversity in resources. And the pressing need to bring back balance to our relationship with it all. Watching nature, whether in my little balcony garden, or at the vegetable and fruit vendor, or in the millions of thought bombs I have read about these things (because everybody is talking about it now more than ever), has really made me realise the need to pause. Pause before I act.

Now that I am back to running outdoors, I catch myself literally watching, observing, looking up at the trees more, noticing blooms, catching unlight speckling through the leaves, smiling to see flocks of parakeets rushing from tree to tree, finding joy in withered, yellowed trees as much as lush, verdant ones. Watching, seeing keenly has shown me what natural resilience looks like.

Isn’t it amazing how it is the trees, birds, water, animals and insects that are thriving in the middle of a pandemic, while we are perishing faster than we can keep track of. We’re cowering into the corners of our homes, shrouded in masks and scarves to keep safe, while something else, something outdoor, stronger and more resilient than us is enduring.

There are lessons in survival in natural cycles. In balance and organic timing. In patience and timely growth.

The more I notice and become aware of these things, in the quiet moments when I am catching chai on the balcony, or running in the park, or simply watering my plants for the day, the more it percolates in some way into my life, my actions, my habits, my beliefs.

I cant unsee the glaring evidence that balance fuels survival, harmony breeds joy, equity births prosperity. So, in my own little way, working with my hands and doing the work has been an attempt at bringing balance back into our lives. A practice in adopting a more benevolent attitude, a slower rhythm that runs in respectful pace alongside my world, not trying to always get ahead.

And it is also impossible to ignore the joy that has come from it. You’ll know by now how much being involved in gardening has been the mirror I held up to my own internal processes. The clarity in thought, the ability to hold the murky days, keeping my head up even when inside I am going under, finding space to hold the sadness and pain that has come from all of this, working with a focus on what I want to do and why the work is important to me — I believe it is a function of returning to who I am. All thanks to stripping down to the bare necessities, and surprisingly finding inexplicable satisfaction in doing mundane chores.

The tide is turning.

***

Post title lifted from old favourite song that has an apt sounding line, but in totality has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

One year ago: Gratitude fix
Two years ago: August

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

Gifts

I just want to remember this as the day I was having a truly flat, unproductive morning wandering about my home; when I noticed this. This exact red flower that showed in a powerful image in a dream-like state during a visualisation I did at therapy last week, was suddenly real, and within grasping reach. It bloomed out of seemingly nowhere, because the plant has been in hibernation for a while now, after profusely flowering through summer.

N called it the “wondrous ways of the self and the universe.”

I called it a gift.

PS: Also, can we just acknowledge that this is now an infinite scroll of pictures from my balcony garden? Okay? Okay.

One year ago: Naked
Two years ago: Talking about worries and problems, people

Green reflections

I have indulged in my plants a lot more lately than I have even last year, when this bug bit me. This was not a pandemic-induced habit. I have really given of my myself to my plants lately — losing track of time and spending endless amounts of it just absorbed, my hands dirty and trimming, pruning and fixing things, making of it an entire day’s activity and feeling utterly satisfied at the end.

In the plants I have seen natural cycles of birth, death, rebirth and hibernation with humbling proximity that has comforted and supported me.

As much as I have given, I have received in return.

Today, I took all my indoor plants out for their periodic couple of days in the sun. And I looked around the home and realised how sparse it all looks minus the green spots.

There is true life in plants, in how easily they lend that live to the spaces around them, wherever they may be placed. And I mean life more than the stuff that makes leaves sprout and shrivel.

As the author of this piece in the New Yorker quotes Sue Stuart Smith, the author of A Well Gardened Mind; I was interested in the unconscious aspects of gardening—the symbolism, and the level of metaphor.

There has been plenty of that. If you have read the blog recently, you’d know how much I have spoken about my plants and the reflections they offer of my life and process. The unconscious, the symbolic, the metaphors, and how much I have looked to them for meaning.

When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility.

It is what I have gained the most. The spots of green are a bonus.

One year ago: Run
Four years ago: Friyay

Life around here

Today, I had a full-on domestic day. I mean full-on, from the moment I woke up. Gloating about or feeling like the domesticity is special is so passé because, well it’s been too long now. We decided to do without domestic/household help and we have been at it on our own since April. We have found a rhythm, and we workaround energy ups and downs, lazy spurts and there is division of labour and a method to our madness. Mostly great things have come from this change, and huge realisations of what we actually need to survive, and everything else that is a luxury has made it much easier to cut back on the latter and lean in to the former.

Today’s spurt of full-day domesticity was thanks to a much-delayed pest control treatment. I first realised we needed it in April. But of course there was no pest control to speak of then, and somehow we forgot and pushed it, until it became unbearable. Probably several generations of them had spawned by then and the colonies were obviously overcrowded because the buggers had started venturing out looking like they’re in the midst of an existential crisis, in broad daylight.

Anyhow, so we had to empty out our entire kitchen the night before. The contents of which lay neatly strewn all over my dining table and chairs. The actual treatment involved deep-spraying the kitchen first, then a surface treatment, and spraying some parts of the rest of the home. It’s the worst because the creatures begin to crawl out and die slowly. There’s also chemical residue all over the house, most of all in the kitchen and I didn’t want to put anything back in order in a rush until the house had been ventilated and the stuff had had it’s time to blow off.

Also, VC was out all day in meetings, and I wasn’t going to do this all on my own. So I quarantined myself in my bedroom. And we managed with take out for a full day, eating meals in bed. It felt like the day we had just moved in when there were boxes all around the home, and only our bedroom was liveable.

So today, we had to reset and chores included sweeping up about 300 cockroach carcasses, literally scrubbing the kitchen down with a brush and soap and Dettol water, then wiping it down once again, resetting all my utensils and appliances, and throwing away a shit ton of junk in the process. And then doing the dishes, and getting to the rest of the home that also needed to be sanitised.

We were at it from 8-12. VC did his bit and went on to take some calls and get some work done, while I kept at it, taking the opportunity to spring clean and declutter some stuff that had piled up since our last such overhaul in May. It’s crazy how quickly junk piles up.

So yeah, cleaning and domesticity is really not special anymore. We’re both just found an auto pilot state of mind that helps get things done, around the other stuff we have going on in life, pitching in for each other when one of us is having a flat/busy day. I thank my stars that this has happened at a time when we’re both anyway at home, a lot less interested in being madly busy as we once used to be, and so we have the space and inclination to make this choice. I plan to keep at it until something changes and maybe other interesting things might have our fancy instead.

I even think about too much on a daily basis. Except when I realise that somehow even with being cleaned a lot less than when I had daily house help, the home is cleaner, more organised and feels more lived in. This added domesticity has been a safe haven for me, I’ve said before. And I have frequently turned to the rhythms of keeping a home, cooking our meals, gardening and sprucing things up around the house as a means to stay grounded and in touch.

The gift in all of this has been realising just how much of a homebody I naturally am. I really do thrive in keeping a home. And I mean all the allied parts of keeping a home, not just the part where the home is lovely and nice, but everything that goes into making it so. I have denied this part of myself for a very long time, even when I’ve had phases where I have dipped in and out of it many times over.

Today was that kind of day. Come down from the skies, land your feet on the ground, remember where you are kind of days. I have been floating off in an overly emotional space for several weeks now, processing many things, and generally having my mind and body a bit hijacked by it all. A full day of domesticity always gets the old gears moving back how they used to.

Somehow, the big reset moments in my mind, when I return from having gone full circle, moments that feel like inflection points of transformation, like washing out the interiors of my brain in anticipation of something new — these phases are always marked by a day or two of real-life cleaning around me. My nesting tendencies peak, I get very eager to throw out junk, strip down our lives and minimize the clutter, make our living spaces warm and comforting. It’s all very metaphoric for the inner process too, and I don’t ever take that coincidence for granted.

There have been some important and big shifts happening for me internally. But for the last couple of weeks, I was in some sort of limbo. Like I said yesterday, at a threshold of pain — having walked through the door but not yet fulling moving in, rather still tempted to bolt back out the door. But that is slowly changing. Slowly. And days like this are balm for that state of mind.

Earlier in the week I did a good load of garden sprucing up too. Watching how the old is making way for the new there too. Schefflera doesn’t sprout new leaves on a regular cycle like say, my syngonium or monstera. And I haven’t quite figured out the cycles on the schefflera as yet. But that morning, I realised somehow it’s time. The old is on its way out, the new is blooming and beaming out, making itself seen.

It’s hard not to see the parallels and feel very reaffirmed and assured by it all. Like seeing 11:11 again and again — something that never happens or happened to me.

Until this week. When it happened three times.

So yeah. Things are stirring.

***

Post title inspired shamelessly lifter from one of my favourite James Blake tracks, in collaboration with one of my favourite rappers — Chance.

Here, have a listen.

One year ago: Love actually
Two years ago: I want to thank you for giving me the best days of my life

More growth thoughts

It should come as no surprise that I have revelled in growing things, with quite the vengeance since the start of the year. A pre-existing interest peaked and kind of ballooned into not just an obsession but a necessity and a source of solace and grounding during the last five months.

It’s been kind of poetic growing all kinds of different plants. The process of tending to them and watching them respond, understanding what works for one plant and doesn’t for another and tweaking things a little here and there as I go has been fun, but also enriching.

Sure it’s given me something satisfying to dig my hands into during this dreary time, but it has also been enriching. Making room for error, watching natural lifecycles and destruction, and learning as much about the plants as myself somehow, along the way.

Something about allowing for age and change to unfurl in just its own time, noticing the delicacy in how life blooms forth as gracefully but with determination, and slowly, unabashedly as it fades out has moved me several times over.

I am touched every day by something or the other that I see in my little balcony garden(s) that have grown significantly thanks to Covid. (Oh the irony.)

What I see in my plants, many times I also see in myself. And observing life in this way has helped me make space for imperfection, taking time, and enjoying moments of bounty when they come. Knowing full well that no magic worth its salt will last forever. Is meant to be fleeting, yet devoured when it presents itself.

My garden has taught me that growth involves putting in the work and just patiently waiting and watching for the most part, having little to no idea how it is going to flourish and show up.

In my plants I’ve noticed beauty in erratic edges and non-uniform results. It has shown me how much growth is about making space for opportunities and outcomes of change and stretch in whatever way they may emerge.

Growth work is a dance between understanding and acting with intention, upon what is, and surrendering to what absolutely isn’t in your control. No two seasons are the same, predictability is for machines and growth takes its own sweet time.

And then there is the role of death. Without the act of dismantling, crumbling, decaying, pruning, peeling, culling away and letting go, without the presence of the old leaving, growth is not encouraged to continue. That is the cycle. The energy of this turning gyre. The way in life life itself endures.

One year ago: I can laugh
Two years ago: They paved paradise

Home is where the heart is

2020

This cosy little nook of ours has really filled out. Enveloping and dragging us into a comforting hug. I don’t think I’d have made it through lockdown and corona times in a home in which I didn’t feel like I could be myself.

And I don’t mean that lightly or superficially. This is the home I’ll always remember as the space that housed me through these important years. And in the corners and crannies of the home, I see transitions, changes and improvement that shadows and echoes the changes I, and we, have gone through as we lived here.

From living a bare bones, minimal this-much-will-do life, to growing into allowing ourselves indulgences, believing we are worth the spoils of a full, lush, lived-in home that gives expression to who we are as people, has been such a trip.

There is so much life in so many more ways now, in this home, than when we first moved. The plants, the colours, the walls, the refrigerator, the transformation of entire rooms.

It’s home, but is home really ever just a home of walls and windows and doors? I have lived in several homes now. This is my seventh, in fact. This one is special.

And I see why they say it’s where the heart is.

2017

Crazy trip seeing this picture from 2017, taken in week one of moving into this apartment. I posted it and wrote about setting up home (and other things) here.

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: finding new comfort in old places
Four years ago: Wayanad things

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

On grounding

When I’m faced with challenging circumstances that cause inner conflict, my tendency was once to be quickly lured back by an older self that preferred to shrink away from spaces that felt unwelcoming. To choose inauthenticity in being and in words to avoid the discomfort. To allow the pain to fester and turn into unexpressed anger. In the hope that this would keep the peace. It was always much easier to do this than to push through and emerge on the other side, not knowing what the consequences of owning my truth would be. Because there are consequences. Authenticity, and being true to myself is precious, it comes with a price.

Circumstances may change, but this essential dilemma — of whether to move forward (and pay that price) or give in to an older state or way of being (and return to the status quo) — seems eternal. This week, I practiced actively grounding myself, when faced with it.

I grounded myself as a way to remind myself of where I am now, how far I have journeyed and of what I am capable of. Not to wish the discomfort or the recurring pattern away. In fact it was a means to welcome it. Make space for it, allow it and fully see it. To realise that the confusion and conflict is as much a part of my reality as is the capacity to see it and hold my ground without letting it uproot me.

To realise that growth doesn’t mean challenging circumstances won’t come my way, but that when they come like the whirlwinds that they are, I can bend and be flexible, but not lose ground.

The two states — of feeling the tension of the challenge while knowing I can be steady — can coexist it seems. Not without causing internal chaos momentarily. But when I ground myself in thoughts of the now, I bring myself back from fears that are mostly old. I root myself in what I know to be true. And it helps me find strength in seeing and acknowledging what is, as it is.

I’m in constant awe of the wisdom basic, natural building blocks hold. Roots, plants, trees.

To root. To take ground. To recognise where we are. In the now. Is to find a state of balance even in shaky circumstances. Is to acknowledge everything as is, in full honesty. It is to allow a new possibility to emerge.

David Whyte has some beautiful words on taking ground as a means to feel at home in yourself and your body. He says it better than I ever will.

Ground is what lies beneath our feet. It is the place where we already stand; a state of recognition, the place or the circumstances to which we belong whether we wish to or not. It is what holds and supports us, but also what we do not want to be true; it is what challenges us, physically or psychologically, irrespective of our hoped for needs. It is the living, underlying foundation that tells us what we are, where we are, what season we are in and what, no matter what we wish in the abstract, is about to happen in our body; in the world or in the conversation between the two.

To come to ground is to find a home in circumstances and in the very physical body we inhabit in the midst of those circumstances and above all to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be; to come to ground is to begin the courageous conversation, to step into difficulty and by taking that first step, begin the movement through all difficulties, to find the support and foundation that has been beneath our feet all along: a place to step onto, a place on which to stand and a place from which to step.

The realisation that making space for what is, just as it is, with nothing to be done but simply accept and witness, rather than trying to get over whatever it is, feels like breaking new ground.

And to do this in an embodies way, literally finding my roots, and feeling rooted in my body, seems to have made the difference in taking me across the uncertainty of having to make that choice between the old and the new.

One year ago: Reboot
Two years ago: There’s glitter on the floor after the party

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