Life goes easy on me

There are currently fewer things that really, and I mean reallllly, hit the spot for me than

  • a day with no plans
  • cooking an utterly barebones meal
  • and sticking my hands in mud first thing in the morning

Today, I hit the jackpot, because even without intending or planning to, I waltzed through all three things, spontaneously today.

It certainly helps that it is a gorgeous morning here, with dappled light, a steady drizzle, with the promise of more rain. So gorgeous that it inspired me to indulge in that rare occurrence –breakfast. And chai on top of it.

And then I began sorting through my plants. Repotting some stuff, putting some babies that I’d propagated too long ago into soil, cutting and pruning some, and snipping off a large bunch of new babies, and making a giant mess in the bargain. I didn’t realise it, but three hours just passed by this way.

Thankful for the gifts my little balcony keeps giving. Literal and metaphorical today, because I was moved to tears seeing the root growth on a wee spider baby plant that I have ignored for longer than I intended to.

I’ve been easily moved and emotional lately. But the comfort with the emotions welling over isn’t always uniform. Sometimes there is extreme ease, and sometimes I feel taken by surprise and quickly begin to analyze where it may be coming from. Invariably, I conclude that it doesn’t matter. What matters is to feel it out, one way or another. I know that writing is one way for me to feel, but I have been trying to choose less fixed, cognitive, obvious and “presentable” ways to feel in recent times. Watercolours, watching the rain, gardening, sitting in silence. And I wonder if this has made it easier still, for the emotions to flow, without reason. Filterless and free.

Life goes easy on me today.

Friday feels

Can’t get over, or enough of, the brilliant weather we’ve had this past week. Consistently moody skies, pleasantly refreshing drizzles in the day and nourishing downpours by evening.

I’ve taken it easy this week thanks to getting my period, but also the fact that it occurred happily right when the weather got so good. I’ve wanted to do nothing but stay in, so I took the readymade excuse that was offered up on a platter.

I had a mini catch-up session for my course, mid-week, but my mind was entirely elsewhere this time around. Amongst the rain laden clouds. The glistening wet streets. The cool air, beyond. In thoughts of picnicking somewhere outside Bangalore. With being in the hills elsewhere. Amongst this random dream of a cottage with a farm where I’m growing my own veggies.

That’s the only spot of work I managed to get myself to do. Readings have been going on, and they don’t tax me or demand a lot out of me at the pace at which I’m operating currently. So it doesn’t even classify as work. There are a few plans or side projects I have that I could get going with — logically this is the right time — but I haven’t been able. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait like this for the right moment but it feels like the only thing I can do right now. I can seem to only push myself this much. Going against the grain and pushing through in the name of “getting shit done” just because an empty spot of time opened up is not only hard, it feels impossible now.

Today after cleaning chores, though, I shuffled things around at home. In anticipation of our new living room furniture that’s arriving soon. We decided to break the rule and not get a set, or a couch, but two single armchairs instead, in the hope that it opens up our cozy, tiny living room up. I bathed my plants and moved them around. I took the babies that have been inside outside, and brought some new babies inside.

The whole time it drizzled. And I cleaned while listening to Continuum, which threw it all the way back to to yonks ago, to a time in the years when I had just started to drive in Bangalore. When listening to my best music, driving around in the rain, with no plan or agenda, was a legit thing to do. Most times, I didn’t even need company.

This whole album is GOLD. And perfect for the rain. And is loaded with all the feels. It was a serious trip today that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I can’t believe another week has just whizzed by. I feel like I’ve been horizontal for the most part. I can’t complain, but I am just in shock at the pace at which time seems to be moving, even with deliberately doing so little. And just like that another weekend rolls along. The days are certainly blurring, weekday/weekend, nothing seems to matter anymore and I’m just floating through the continuum.

One year ago: Stay in
Two years ago: June

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.

Something like life

At least a couple times a week, I have a moment of astonishment and awe at what a crazy, crazy time we’re living through. And I don’t mean just the existence of the virus. Today was a day it happened again.

On the one hand while I may have gotten used to a new routine and a new life, I don’t think this will ever feel normal. Or like a new normal — hate that term so much. I don’t know what’s normal anymore actually. I just know that a couple of times a week, when I pause and stop everything  am doing, the utter batshit ridiculousness of the entire sum total of our lives at this point in time hits me. And it doesn’t feel like I am anywhere close to okay with it. It still brings up distress, and a sharp need to quickly flip a switch to return to some past time and place.

***

Went out today. Far, far out into, by current standards. Felt deliriously happy. Like I wanted to stick my head out of the car, wind in my non existent hair, tongue dangling off of my gobsmacked face, like an ecstatic puppy. (I didn’t because, corona.)

But my GOD. The blueeeee skies. The light shower on our way back. The empty-ish roads. The ease and willingness to go all the way to…ahem… Electronic City for what turned out to be a three minute affair. I HAVE MISSED BEING OUT SO MUCH. It did annoy me a little that this felt like a tease because it’s not like really being out and about as yet. I’m scared to go all out. This was just a tantalising, long  car ride, with the world splayed out in front of me, beckoning. AND I CANNOT GO.

On the way back, we drove past Koshy’s WHICH IS NOW OPEN — *weeeep*. But I cannot go. So I glanced lustfully while we pulled along, and spontaneously decided to make a quick stop to pick up mince puffs and egg puffs from the bakery instead. I made it back home right in time for teatime, with the perfect accompaniments in hand. Chai time is becoming a serious production, I tell you.

Yeah, new normal, abnormal, hyper normal, whatever you want to call it, I’m certainly missing some specific parts of what my life used to be. And it really pains me to think about how I have to still wait some more, and that much of it is so irrevocably changed.

One year ago: The powerlessness of love
Two years ago: It’s just the thing that seasons do

Rolling with the punches

Woke up at 5.50 am this morning. By woke up, I mean first opened my eyes. I texted the relief work group, forwarded some important updates too, and then dozed off back to sleep. Then, I actually woke up, eyes wide, not-going-back-to-sleep at 7.30. I planned to get out of bed, get going, work out in the morning today. I like doing mornings that start early, because I can work out before the rest of the day gets ahead of me.

So, that was the plan. VC left for a meeting far, far away at about 8.30 am today. At close to 10 am I sent him this picture, with the words: Still here.

Today, I moved very little. And slowly. It’s fine.

My idea of productivity, and planning, is slowly but surely being tested and dismantled in the minutest way, on a daily basis, these days. I am loving it.

Today was a good, do-little day. I am getting better at being okay with them, when they come. Even if unexpectedly, throwing my plans completely out of whack.

I notice this because even just six months ago a day like this would have been classified a bad day. Now, they’re just different kinds of days. Days that I need to approach differently. Let loose my plans, let go my intentions.

I’m noticing the words I use to describe my days, and all that it tells me about how I really feel. The words are loaded sometimes, and if I look beneath the surface, they tell a story of what I actually mean when I use them. Sometimes when I say I had a “full” day, I don’t just mean that it was chockfull with activity. I also derive a certain sense of usefullness and worth from that fullness.

Today was that kind of day. And it came on the heels of a full-on full day. Yesterday, I spun around like a top, quite unintentionally. I didn’t have a moment to spare. It wasn’t planned that way, it just spontaneously ballooned into that kind of situation. But it made me notice the different in how I see a full day now. It doesn’t fill me up in quite the same way that it used to. I don’t even look to it like that anymore. When I couldn’t wait to get into bed to wind down and chill for a bit after, it hit me. I have slowed down, a lottttttt. A lot more than I planned to hahahaha.

What yesterday looked like:

  1. Woke up
  2. Morning chores about the kitchen
  3. Put a load of laundry on
  4. Shopped for veggies
  5. Cleaned out the fridge and veggie tray
  6. Swept, mopped and dusted the whole house because it was jhadoo-poccha day
  7. Cooked a very basic lunch
  8. Dried out the laundry
  9. Ate lunch
  10. Went out with VC for what was meant to be a very quick jaunt to see A couch, it turned into a three hour venture (spent mostly driving around because there’s still not as much traffic out, and we took the opportunity to finish seeing all our options rather than step out again and again)
  11. Came home in time for tea, made some tea and sat down for the first time all day to enjoy it in peace
  12. Marinated some meat for dinner and did some other preps
  13. Cooked dinner with VC and was looking to Dunzo some food to a friend, to no avail
  14. Made the quick decision to drive over myself. Thankfully it’s not too far from home
  15. Came home just in time to make some rice. Niyu was making the salad as I walked in, bless her
  16. Ate dinner and finally got to relax

Finally, when I had the opportunity to get into bed, like I so wanted, it began to pour. So I felt tempted to stay up a bit. I have grown to love my home and my solitude in the post-10 pm glow of my living room. VC turns in early most nights these days. I get to be by myself, in silence. So yesterday, I sat up and painted/journaled for a bit.

It was that kind of full day. And today was so different. Of course I also realise so often that I am blessed to have a life that allows me this. I mean, imagine cancelling and giving in to a slow day if I had a child? Or a pet? Or a day job? I am so grateful for the life that I have cultivated such that I can allow myself this, without feeling entirely useless.

I’m enjoying the varying and growing sense of ease in rolling with the punches that is my mental and physical energy see-saw. This is probably normal. We’ve just been conditioned not to look at it this way. Even now, there will be a day when all of this chilling will catch up with me and amount to a body slam to my self-worth, when I’ll deem myself useless and unproductive and wasted. When my life seem pointless. But that too is conditioning that I am trying to slowly dismantle and rework. It is crazy that I do not look at full days like the one enumerated above, and feel like I haven’t been productive. Isn’t it crazy?

One year ago: Warm
Two years ago: Take a minute, I’ve been sitting here and wondering
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: seeking solitude

Things worth remembering (part 1)

The last two weeks were an emotional landslide, to say the least. I constantly felt the undertow tugging at me, dragging me down and asking me to slip and slide and go under. I was torn between giving in to it and letting to, or flapping my arms around to stay afloat. I did bits of both — neither with very much success.

At some point last week, things began to turn ever so slowly. Then the weekend came and I noticed an observable, significant shift. Yesterday, I felt anew again. I’m getting better at witnessing the natural (and maybe necessary?) ebbs and flow in my emotional energy. I also see how, often, the movement is aligned with either the moon, or some planetary movement that’s on the cards. I just notice, there’s nothing to be done. But it helps be lighter and easier when the shifts and slips and slides come, as they do. And it helps mark the moments when things aren’t spiralling and feeling well isn’t so entirely out of my grasp. Moments when I can breathe deeply and fill myself with life-giving air. When I can smile softly, subtly. When I can stretch myself and take up space fiercely. When I can enjoy life’s little gifts, however minute. I like remembering those moments.

Cooking and allied kitchen/domestic activities have taken me through the last three months of uncertainty. Giving me that window of groundedness and familiarity — predictability — in a time where things are anything but predictable. And after consistently leaning on this habit for over three months, my hectic schedules the last two weeks meant planning, shopping for, cooking and consuming wholesome meals was the first thing to fall to the side. This was the first proper meal I cooked after cleaning out my fridge last week. Mixed veggie stir fry in oyster sauce with broken red matta rice.

Been stalking these critters twice a day, everyday, for the last 10 days or so ever since I spotted them. Watching their every move ever since, as they are fast growing out of the gutter where they were birthed. Also exercising massive amounts of self-control to keep from giving in to my own achy heart that wants to take the dusty brown one in, and also VC’s incessant chatter about this spotting of puppies is the last in a string of “signs” that we should get one.

A surprise Sunday morning video call with the nugget/rosogulla/dumpling/firecracker of a new niece. It’s all kinds of surreal, yet somehow acceptable, that I have barely any smidgen of an ongoing relationship with so many of my cousins, but one of them has a baby this cute and suddenly I want to video call them?

The “new normal” featuring a live Kunal Kamra show via Zoom. It was more like hanging out in a room with a comedian and a bunch of random people, listening to the comedian talk about a realllllyyy random collection of things and being funny some times, and less like a live show I’d catch on stage. But it was interesting, and I stayed up later than usual for it, and I laughed a lot.

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: Bangalore sky porn
Four years ago: Kursi ki peti

Love and magic

…amidst all the hopelessness, it shines through sometimes.

I am now convinced that this country only runs on hope. When all else fails and the paltry systems we have are exposed for how broken and dysfunctional they are, it is only hope that takes us through.

That and the goodwill of regular, everyday people.

I don’t know where we’d be without either.

One year ago: This is now
Four years ago: Work things that make me chuckle

Everything hurts

Stepping up to claim space means waking up to many, many, many old hurts. And I’m currently underwater in hurt.

One year ago: These days
Two years ago: Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
Four years ago: About yesterday

Meeting ground

My mind has been swimmingly full of thoughts about everything that’s going on in the world. The great divisions, the poles we exist in, the massive grief of all the events that are just snowballing one after another.

what else is life,
if not loneliness and silence?

I watched Nasir (it was available for a limited time only on the We Are One youtube film festival) on the weekend, and I’ve been trying to encapsulate what it made me feel, but I just don’t have the words. In fact after the film ended, I just went quiet. Shut my laptop and sat in silence for the longest time.

So I’m just going to say this: what the film left me with was a visceral experience of how normal and mundane, regular, everyday, fear and marginalisation is for someone who belongs to a minority group in this country. Life is ordinary, and that includes the fear. The uncertainty becomes so regular, something to live and accept and fight every single day, even while trying to live a normal life and do things like hold down a job and keep your family safe and afloat.

And then I got drawn into the community mobilisation activity. A week of planning, and three days of delivering car-fulls of food and supplies to hungry, gutted migrants who just want to go home, was and experience like tearing my heart open to the pain that this country is currently facing.

And then there is what’s happening in America. Which feels so so so familiar and eerily similar to our own fight from December through March. N asked for a reading and as always it turned into a freewheeling conversation that was as important for me, as it may have been for her. We had a long, powerful chat that stayed with me long after and I woke up with thoughts.

What is the meeting ground, in times of such violence and polarisation? Where can we hope to create space for union and connection?

Many found space and form in my word salad from yesterday. And the rest, in a bonus card that I pulled more as a memento of the conversation we had. To mark and remember it because it was an important one for me.

This is your reminder, that is possible to:

  1. Feel extremely heartbroken by injustice, AND hopeful at expressions of truth to power. Feel them both, keenly and deeply.
  2. Hold the very best intentions of allyship, but ALSO have a lot of scope for learning and improvement. Listen more to those you wish to support.
  3. Be keenly aware of all your flaws, AND still be kind to yourself. Both have a place.
  4. Know a lot about many, many things, STILL have absolutely no idea about some other things. Be open to learning from those who do.
  5. Desire peace and harmony, while ALSO (unconsciously)hold polarising politics. Examine and watch yourself closer.

One year ago: Spaces in-between
Four years ago: New tricks

Transition

At a macro level, I see everything that we’re going through as a race and as a planet, is a massive transition. A portal that popped open when we were least expecting it, ushering in some deeply uncomfortable events that are shaking the very foundations of our existence — across the board.

It’s impossible to transition through this sort of change quickly. It’s really forcing us to slow down, in more ways than one. Asking us to look for meaning beyond the obvious, cliche interpretations of those two words — slow down.

Even as things are opening up and we’re seeking normalcy (whatever that may be — I don’t even know anymore) I see how unsettled things still are. Something important has happened in this period, whether one is conscious of it or not, it has happened. It feels at times like we’ve woken up from a long nap. And sometimes it feels like we’ve been thrown off a plane and have had to land abruptly, hitting the ground running. And no matter which way you’re experiencing this — as extreme slow, discomfort or a series sudden, quick moving shifts — this is a transition.

The foundations have crumbled, the cracks of inequity are visible, the the dust is still in the air and won’t settle for a while. We have much to do. And this feels deeply like a call for change. For examination. For introspection. For walking the talk. For doing the work. For stretching ourselves. For getting off our collective asses.

And. It’s becoming impossible to ignore how connected what’s happening at the micro level — at the level of my personality and within me — feels connected to what’s around. Whether, and what, I choose to do anything about it or not has become secondary. Through the entire lockdown I found myself much more willing to face the anger and angst, grief and hopelessness that was coming in waves, because I felt very sure that it was the only way to know what to do next. That a process and a path will show up. And it has, for me. Just last week, in a spontaneous collection of some kindred spirits getting together to mobilise food, medicines and other essentials for the thousands and thousands of migrants leaving Bangalore everyday. Suddenly I am in the midst of the operation, and there is an energy and a channel for my emotions.

Hopelessness thaws and turns to hope. Stuckness finds movement and energy. And in all this, that connection — between what’s been happening within me, and around me — has strengthened, more than ever before. Beyond just the cognitive understanding that this connection exists.

I also carry within me this strange dichotomy of emotions every single day. A bittersweet space where hopelessness and hope somehow sit side by side, where anger and joy are holding hands, and where stillness and action have found a way to coexist. Within and without.

This year came out of nowhere, and it is being the best teacher, asking of me things that I have been building and working towards for the last couple of years. I am at a threshold of sorts, and this entire shitfest in all it’s glory — energetically, emotionally, environmentally, economically, politically — feels like an invitation. Every single day it calls me, gently asking for my presence in some way or another. And I feel that something has shifted yet again, in the way that I am now willing to show up.

In so many, many ways I feel like the last 3-4 years, the turn that my life has taken, the things and people I felt drawn to, the issues that have occupied my energy and impacted the choices I have made, the work I feel called to do and how it has influenced my place and sense of identity in the world — it was all a massive preparation for this moment in time.

While there is urgency, there is also a capacity to slow down and wait for the call. I want to bring my voice to all that is churning and being spoken about and I also want to take time to read, learn and listen.

This is the way I think I can participate in this transition. With eyes wide open.

This work of dismantling old orders and frameworks of being is a crucial part of growth. Much like dismantling old beliefs and processes. It is the first and most important step to establishing new ways of being. New orders. New intentions. New, egalitarian ways of coexisting. Within and without.

We cannot go there without first eliminating the rot that no longer serves us. Whether that is within us, or without us.

For the new to take birth, the old needs to quite literally die. And the forces that hold power and keep this imperative death from happening, will have to be challenged as they are today. It is no different in personal work. Looking within, seeing all that we hold on to, the fear that holds us back, the walls we build to hide behind — all of it needs to be challenged — so we can emerge into our full power.

This is not an easy or beautiful process. No healing is uniformly positive, in that way. And I see how there is this constant attempt to make the process of change look beautiful and charming. It isn’t. It’s messy, challenging, painful and very, very exhausting. Whether you’re healing a broken heart, or a broken political system.

This is true at the level of the individual as much as it is as a collective. As a society, country, race.

So much of popular spiritual talk — meditation, mindfulness, self-care — is centred around positive vibes only. Almost as if that’s a ticket to circumvent the difficulties that are bound to come up when you begin this process of healing. Whereas, now more than ever before, we have to be willing to really face up to the violence and destruction of this churn we are in the midst of.

Revolutions, personal or political, always, always shatter the status quo, the superficially held facades that cover up the gross fault lines we’re always working to hide and avert our gaze from.

That transition has started. The rot is being swept up. Look around you, start in your neighbourhood, pull out and look at the country, look at the divisions, look at the people who hold power, and pull back some more and look at the environment, the world at large, other countries, the planet as a whole.

This transition begins to feel staggering. And if you look close enough, you’ll see your place in it. But you have to look. And you have to be willing to face the discomfort of what you’ll see. Within and without.

There’s going to be a lot more trauma, injustice, pain and suffering (which will almost entirely be borne by minorities) being churned up. We brought this on. And now is not the time to turn away and avoid the mess that we created. Now is the time to bring ourselves to the centre of it in whatever way we can. To listen, to unlearn, participate and relearn, reconstruct, heal and hold space. To show up. In whatever way we can.

Either way it feels like there is no way to go around this mess. Only through it. This call to focus on inner-work, suddenly seems such an imperative and essential stepping stone to connection, harmony and peace in my outer world. And I see how the challenges in connection I face at the personal level, are so implicitly reflected in the way the planet is struggling to find peace today. How much we struggle to meet one another in a harmonious way.

Personally, last week, I had a very powerful experience of what not just fully owning up to the truth of my feelings, but showing myself as a vessel of those emotions, did for me. It was painful, but so freeing.

Denying reality, only pushes connection away, widens the gaps and creates silos. Showing up along with the full force of our power (and that includes the good, the bad, the ugly, what we’ve felt, what we’re capable of, and everything in between) is possibly the only way to begin to connect again.

And the first step to showing up is to meet this transition for what it is. A call to step in, step up.

Four years ago: Awash with monsoon memories

Things that happened today

I got out of home and looked up. And I caught a view that wasn’t the same one I have been seeing outside my balcony for three months now.

I went in for an in-person therapy session today. My first in three months. And when I stepped out of my home to walk down to my therapists’ I had this surreal, never-felt-before feeling of excitement. I was a bit giddy, walking down with a spring in my step. Such strange, unforgettable times, where the idea of meeting another human being, sitting in (safe) proximity, sharing an intimate space, gave me that mix of excitement and wonder.

It was my first real “outing” that’s not for shopping, which is the only other reason I have stepped out since March. This is the first interaction with someone other than VC, my sister, my neighbours and building staff, since March. I know things around are opening up and moving back to normalcy, but I still feel a bit stuck and safe indoors. I have yet to go out and meet another human being in the way that I did today.

***

I realised that even the outings for shopping for supplies have been so limited, that I had to almost reorient myself to being out in the open again. It was so, so strange.

I desperately want to be out some more, and meet people. But I am also feeling so tentative about who I am feeling drawn to reaching out to. And that is such a strange feeling.

***

 I woke up with an intense urge to be elsewhere today. Travelling, in a cafe drinking a frothy cappuccino, in an homestay or a hotel in a new city, in a different country — anywhere. Just somewhere else. It felt like such a deep, physical need. Almost like wanting to leave this body.

I’ve been nursing this desire to “get out” since the weekend. But it’s not just physically getting out of this home and these self-imposed restrictions. But something else, I am not able to put a finger on it. Again, it feels like a need of some sort, and I can’t figure it out.

I’m ready for life, in its fullness and in a different flavour and form again. Something has got to change and I feel ready to venture out and figure it out.

***

Insane amounts of sleep. I think the three days of being in class, even though online, triggered it. It seems the therapy can have the same effects as it does when I am in class or in a workshop. I experienced the same full-body exhaustion and the need to do nothing else but stay horizontal. Extra long naps, yesterday and today. Despite which I was knocked out cold at 11 pm last night, only to wake up bright and early at 7 am today with the intention of finishing a host of chores before therapy, only to staying horizontal and in bed, cancelling all plans, till it was time to go to therapy.

I am getting good with cancelling well laid plans. So good that VC commended me on it today!

One year ago: Here you are   
Two years ago: I wrote a letter to my love

Babies

The only kind that interest me:

***

It’s been a quiet few days again. Meddling about the plants. Cleaning here and there. Cooking some. Sleeping lots. Reading a little again. And I may be getting eerielt comfortable with it all.

The silence. The aloneness. The containment. The sufficiency of it all.

One year ago: An opportunity and a gift
Two years ago: We keep this love in a photograph

The fullness of ease and balance

Going through another phase of really enjoying this stay-in business. Cooking, gardening, exercising, cleaning, pottering, tending to forgotten corners of the house, napping, bingeing on TV, staying up late, spring cleaning, hanging out with VC, chatting with Niyu, video-calling S. There seems to be time for it all. All the things I usually put off for “later” is here in the now.

There’s also no rush about any of it. I wake up and go with the way I’m feeling on any given morning. Energetic, sprightly? Great! A little lazy and wanting to sleep in? Let’s do that, let’s exercise later and get about the day accordingly, not doing all that I might ave planned to. Feeling downright lazy? Cancel the day.

This morning I had one of those slow days. I nearly skipped exercising altogether, because there were chores to be done and that usual toss-up played out: workout and skip chores or skip chores and workout? Except a third choice is emerging these days. One that only comes up when I’m not time-bound. So I worked out, slowly, because that’s the kind of day it was. No high-intensity jumping about. And then we got to the chores, VC doing his bit, me doing mine. And I took twice the amount of time I usually do. Going about it probably “inefficiently” — but it was okay. At lunch time VC made grilled cheeses toasts for me, and Maggi for him, while I cut up a plate of mangoes. And we called it lunch.

This is new for us. Certainly very new for me. This level of relaxation, the ease, the ability to just go with the way the day is unfolding and the way my body feels. An older me might have fretted about the slow start, the sloth in my body, and tried to whip myself to be productive and efficient. I might have felt terrible about wasting an entire morning to chores. I might have felt really guilty about VC having to make me “lunch” and a lunch of bread cheese, processed noodles and mangoes just wouldn’t cut it.

But somehow, it’s okay. There have been many days like this, and they’ve all been okay.

I have had phases of easing up like this before, and every time it has come from being very tuned in to what I am feeling. This is no different, I want to say. Except there is a difference. No previous phase has lasted this long, and been so enjoyable. Something has changed, the energy around this ease is different this time around.

It has come with a deeper connection, a newfound ability to fill out time, take space and take place, and really lean into intentionality a little bit more. Every little mundane thing that I do, feels very intentional. And I have a tiny inkling that is what has made the difference.

Our home feels more lived in, because I feel more present to every corner. Dusting, tending, prettying — because I now have to do it all and I have discovered I have the time, the patience and I enjoy it. The garden is abloom because we’re much more involved than we have been. I feel the fittest and leanest I have in a long while, because there’s so much more movement and exercise happening even outside of the scheduled workouts. We’re hanging out and conversing and enjoying things together — games, movies, silence.

Last week was a tumultuous one. For me, but consequently for VC too. I felt volatile and I erupted more than once. It was emotionally challenging. I felt and expressed anxiety that what we have had and enjoyed will not last forever, that it will be ruined. I felt torn up about that, horrible that I had no control in doing what one needs to to just make it stay. Until I realised; of course it’s going to change. Of course it’s not going to last forever. Of course it’s not in my control. 

And then things eased up again. Differently, this time. I know something very elemental has changed for us during this period of lockdown. I know things have shifted for VC, and I know they certainly have for me. Even though the physical reality of our life isn’t very different from before, something is different. Especially now than when the lockdown began.

It feels like a return. A return to connection, return to love, return to beauty and a return to ease and balance. And this feeling has really filled me up most days this past week.

The biggest difference by far though, is that I am not hanging on to it. I am not filled with thoughts of wanting to bottle it up for the future. I am just here, experiencing the balance, within and without. Witnessing the ease and flow that has made a remarkably different entry. Savouring this fullness now. As it is.

One year ago: Renewed relationships
Two years ago: April

Slow it down some more

The sky is different every day. The sunlight slants differently every day — harsh and bright sometimes, muted sometimes. The moon changes every day — fading out and filling itself up over and over.

Much of this change, these shifts and movements happen gently, almost unnoticeably. Taking their own sweet time. Entire days. Weeks and weeks. A whole season, sometimes.

Surely it’s okay for me to be nonuniform? It’s okay for me to be imperfect and different every day. It’s okay for every day to be different too. Maybe that’s when the colours will begin to show.

I feel like I’ve slowed down even more in the last week, if that is even possible. I feel even more contained, withdrawn, quiet. Within.

Every day is different. No day is perfect. It’s okay to take time.

Four years ago: Distressed but happy