Day 143: How fragile we are

Postcard from Thailand 2.

Last evening’s sunset made me feel like we really don’t deserve the glory that is this planet. And nothing establishes our completely undeserved privilege than travel to some of the remotest, untouched parts of the world.

Gratitude for the planet, nature and the abundance I’m getting to witness around.

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Day 137: And the stars look very different today

Goa vignettes to steer my mind way from Karnataka election madness.

Two years ago: Day 137: Who do I think I am?

Day 124: I’ve been saving this time

Postcard from Goa.

For the fourth time now, coming back to Goa has made me feel like I never left. It’s a comforting, welcoming feeling to know I can belong and yet have the distance I sought last year.

In the coming week, we will hopefully be tying up the loose ends on the home we now have here and much of this idea of feeling at home in two cities, both places, will probably begin to feel like reality rather than pipe-dreams.

It’s very serendipitous for me to note that I came back here to do two very crucial pieces of work (as far as moving forward in life goes) — finalise our home and do a two day workshop for the course I’m doing — on the very same date that I traveled to pack up my Goa life last year.

This feels like Im settling open ends and making new beginnings. And sometimes that comes with a second coming too, I suppose. As with much of my life, I’m welcoming and accepting the place for second chances and looking back at things if they present themselves, without letting old feelings and aversions cloud my judgement.

Basking in a spot of sunshine, I realise that this could very well have been a time to reminisce all that could have been, and instead it’s about all that is. And that shift is such a gift.

Two years ago: Day 124: Kangana Ranaut’s crash-course in honesty, feminism and empathy

Day 123: Like happiness is the truth

This past week, I’ve been treated to a variety of excellent meals. The food and drink situation has been consistently hitting above optimum levels of satisfaction and has been the thread of happy spots in an up and down week. So, I’m so grateful.

My mother and I have our birthdays just one week apart from each other. So my sister and I orchestrated a very complicated surprise lunch. We cooked a rather elaborate spread at my home (hidden away from amma’s knowledge of course), or eggplant parmigiana, an avocado and mango salad with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese with a mango salsa dressing, a mushroom and corn quiche and we ordered some cake, invited her friends over and — surprise!

I’m grateful for the opportunity to surprise amma. For being around to celebrate another birthday together. For the lunch we had. The rain that came down that afternoon. The outstanding banoffee cake.

I’m grateful for this late afternoon coffee, had at the end of a rather heavy meal at the club.

I’m SO thankful for this breakfast on a pretty dreary Saturday morning.

We had just checked out a house we really had our eyes set on, but probably cannot have at this point of time. VC and I had a weekend of some very heart to heart, confrontational, honest conversations that had left me feeling very, very edgy and just, raw. There’s nothing like a hearty carb-rich breakfast to soothe that feeling. Right after we thulped this, we watched Infinity War with R and belted a big bucket of popcorn at top speed.

I’m grateful for this palya puff, flaky fly-off-your-mouth pastry encasing a spicy vegetable South Indian style sabji that just hits the spot for those 5 o clock evening hunger pangs. I didn’t intend to eat the whole thing, but once I started there was no stopping and I wolfed the whole thing down.

There’s a whole other level of satisfaction that comes from crispy, unhealthy snacks that hit the spot, when consumed at that perfect moment when you’re not just hungry but craving something as specific as an Iyengar bakery palya puff.

I’m fast becoming a fan of meeting friends over breakfast. For one it’s bright and early, the traffic isn’t as much as yet, people aren’t batshit as yet, there’s more scope to find parking, and there will almost always be eggs.

I met S over a lazy, slow but chatter-filled breakfast the other day. I like when things happen spontaneously, without too much deliberation or high expectations.

It reaffirmed my faith in boundaries, in giving each other space, in allowing for time and room for everyone’s personal journeys, and for having the faith that if paths reconnect, we will only be better for it.

I’m grateful for what I have with S. I now see all our ups and downs, the rough patches, and the extent to which our relationship has changed, for the place they have had and the lessons they have brought to my life. And no matter how I have felt at various points of time, today I understand fully what I love and value in this relationship.

I went home thinking I want to make a weekly ritual of getting out for breakfast. With myself, with friends, over idlis, over eggs, long and lazy, unhurried. The scope is unlimited and when I’m back from Goa, I’m going to begin.

Two years ago: Day 123: Turning 32 and the salt water theory

Day 122: Acts like summer and walks like rain

I woke up to the sounds of a crazy storm and heavy downpour yesterday. For days it’s been threatening to come, while the air around has been feeling like a pressure cooker. Other parts of the city have had tremendous amounts of rain, but not us. Not until yesterday morning, when it came seemingly out of the blue, with a crack and a bang and a good half an hour’s torrential rain.

It felt good to begin the day, a new year with a proverbial cleaning of the slate. Everything wiped down and fresh for a new start.

VC gave me the best gift, a birthday reading that was accurate, heartfelt and life-affirming.

This is the third time in four days that the Bodies of Water card has showed up at me. I’ve been feeling emotionally raw and a bit all over the place, and the card has asked time and again that I retreat to recharge my batteries.

Apt, because I leave for Goa tonight and Ive been looking forward to this time away for weeks now.

The second card too, is telling. A reminder to stop worrying and keep the faith. But the real affirmation for me are the haathis that flank the card.

I had a day filled with an outpouring of love. The thing is, while I love my birthday and the idea that it’s my day to begin again, I’m not into being the centre of attention. I don’t quite know what to do with it, so I much prefer sticking to familiar ground, spending it with VC or my folks.

However, yesterday I was touched by how many calls and messages I got from the most unexpected people.

My MIL baked me this insanely delicious chocolate cake with layers soaked in strawberry compote. But the icing on the cake — literally! — was this topper she made.

I was so extremely touched to see this, a well kept secret that my MIL laboured over for three days.

After an extra long nap, some chores and tying up some loose ends at home before I go away, my sister, VC and I indulged in a little “pre gaming” — an interesting concept to learn about at the ripe old age of 34.

What was meant to be a quiet dinner at Burma Burma then ended up being a night of hopping places.

Wandering around 12th main wondering why it’s packed as fuck and omgwhereareallthesepeoolegoing on a Tuesday night, we settled for drinks at Fatty Bao before dinner at Burma Burma (which had a 45 minute waiting even at 7.45 pm) followed by really, really sinfully good gelato at Milano.

It’s not often that VC agrees to get our and go as far as Indiranagar to begin with. That he did so on a weeknight, was enthusiastic to hop places and stay up beyond 10.30 was too good an opportunity to pass.

And so we found ourselves on a desolate stretch if CMH road with no taxis to be found. Wonder of wonders, it was an auto that saved the day. No haggling, no astronomical quotes, a simple demand of “one-and-a-half” and we were on our way back.

I like a surprise like this. When the day turns out anything but the way you imagine it will. Better yet, you have no expectations at all, so everything from there on is a surprise, an excitement and a joy.

I ended the day too happy to sleep. Which is a good place to be.

34 feels rather promising, from where Im at right now.

I’m grateful for life. For another birthday. For my husband (who wished me 34 times), for my family, for my sister. For the love and all the togetherness, especially given the sense of foreboding and unexplained loneliness that has clouded my mind this past week.

And, I’m thankful for cake.

Day 111: Doesn’t mean I’ll stop

Connie is back to posting again and today’s post is smack on for the way I’ve been feeling this past week. Some Sobering Saturday Wisdom.

(If you’re reading: I love you so much, Connie!)

This feeling of taking two steps way ahead, and one mini little one back, every now and then; the feeling that I am kind of sort of lost and fumbling my way through the dark (and that’s okay, and yet knowing that I am right where I need to be; these alternating bouts of calm and restlessness like I’m at the brink of change — this is all part of the process.

I know this now.
I know it for sure.

Two years ago: Day 111: Happy music fix

Day 100: To the gypsy that remains

Two milestones today. And I’d like to think that too is not a coincidence: finishing 100 days of writing this year, on a day exactly one year since I landed in Bangalore, in what ended up being the first step in a series of many many steps towards uncertainty and an open ended kind of oblivion.

I have many, many thoughts about how far we’ve come since we took this leap. Of faith, and so much else. It was not just the start of life in a new city, but the start of a committment to tuning into myself and cutting out the external clutter and noise. So, it makes me extremely happy today, standing where I am, to look back at things I wrote 365+ days ago, and see I was already on this journey. And that I’ve steadfastly stayed focused and committed to it. And that I’m all the better for it.

It’s truly gratifying to see how one year ago I was talking about all of the same things. Back then I was eager and yearning for change — my voice was filled with trepidation, yet it was hopeful. Today, I feel a confidence and conviction, even as I am still talking about the same things. I can see the journey Ive made so far, and I know which way I am longing to go, in the coming future.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this journey. Of the place mindfullness and self-care or self-improvement or growth or authenticity (to me, they’re all different words for the same thing) has come to occupy in my life, and what an incredible value it has added to my daily life. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll do a look back. But today, at the exact moment that I realised it was the anniversary of moving here, I was in this sunkissed office, and something about the way the golden light streamed in and set everything aglow, gave me a moment to ponder. And all I wanted to do was to give thanks for every little thing that went into pushing me to do this. And all that continues to hold me up, helps me keep going and make all this movement continually possible. And no, I’m not talking only about moving cities. But you already know that.

To me, moving to Bangalore has been something of an inflection point in life. But it is also a symbol of possibility. A reference point of what happens when I suspend thought. A memory of the ultimate move of self-serving love. A prototype of the kind of agility I want for the rest of my life.

Day 96: Where the cares of the day seem to slowly fade away

I started writing a post about the syndrome of busyness, and how pronounced and in-my-face I find it is, in Bangalore, but there’s way too many thoughts jostling for space in my head, so I decided to let it simmer for a bit.

I feel especially aware and a little sensitive to the busyness trap, because I find myself finally moving towards an actual balance in this area of my life. And I don’t mean “work-life balance” because in my current context the term is severely inadequate.

The more I simplify my life, not just in terms of resisting spreading myself too thin, but getting to the heart of what it is I really, really want and which of those things brings me joy, the more I slow down and let things happen, I see how this balance is possible, and I realise why it has eluded me all these years. And I understand why conversations around how busy we are are becoming increasingly tedious and downright boring.

Is it a big city thing? Or do people actually just love to talk about what’s keeping them busy?

I don’t know when “So busy!” became the appropriate response to the good old “How are you?” but I find myself glazing over and tuning out the minute that a conversation veers in this direction.

Maintaining this balance is an ongoing effort in my life but one that I am only now paying conscious attention to, only because I’ve tasted the joy that comes from making room for that play, when Im not consumed by “work.”

But even that isn’t a fully internalised habit. I struggle to remember it at all times. I often forget to be thankful for the quiet, and in turn don’t notice all the good things that come from it. Some weeks ago my aunt said something to me, when I ranted to her about feeling lazy and unworthy just because I wasn’t able to crack the gym jinx and get my ass going already. She said:

These are necessary autumns of our lives.

It’s an idea that immediately stuck in my head. Autumn: a time of pause, regeration, when timecycles close as we inch towards new beginnings. It’s a natural slowing of energy, in anticipation of fresh starts, new canvasses.

It’s exactly the shift that I have been slowly internalising, what I have been indulging in and making conscious efforts to allow it to slip into every area of my life. Taking time off from all that I think I should be doing and allowing myself that incredible privilege of doing what I want to do and bringing time, attention and energy to the things that I know will actually fuel joy. It’s not in the money I make, the meals I eat out, the clothes I buy, the holidays I take. Yes all of that is essential, desirable and awesome but it isn’t the goal. They’re mere milestones along the way.

This realisation, about making room for the autumn, sitting with the quiet, sometimes the discomfort, accepting the uncertainty, loops back to several disconnected threads that have been weaving an all new outlook to life.

There’s no running away from finally understanding that Ive had it all wrong all this while. So I’m slowly but surely trying to cultivate the patience to correct this. It has meant giving myself these moments (frequent, long, unplanned) of pause. So crucial to having those moments of clarity which somehow only come in the silences in between. And so I must make space for the autumns. To rest, to re-worked, re-observe, re-grow.

I noticed today, driving to my meeting, that just as quickly as spring had sprung last month, the seasons have turned. And like in nature, with the trees, the wind, the clouds and the birds and the bees, that have set periods of rest, when the action is done. Just like there is a time for waiting and watching, when we’ve acted, sowed the seeds, set the ball in motion. Just like there is time for recharging energy, when we’ve spent it all, there is a need for set periods of regeneration. To breathe in a fresh breath of air. To sit still. To wait. And let nature take it’s course and do it’s thing.

Two years ago: Day 96: Busy bee day

Day 86: Love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves

Today, I’m grateful for the trying-so-hard-to-be-wild party I got to witness from the sidelines this past weekend. Because just when my eyes were about to glaze over from utter and complete boredom, the DJ played this tune that I had somehow all but forgotten. And it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. In the nicest way possible.

I’m glad for the reminder. I’m glad for the chance to sing out loud. I’m glad for the absolutely smack-on lyrics that are simple, but really cut straight to the heart of things.

 

I’m grateful for the music.

And I’m grateful for the champagne. And the wine.

Day 85: Just go ahead, let your hair down

This is the story of my body

Last month, on a particularly sunny, lazy Sunday I took my FitBit off. And then, I never put it back on again.

I can’t believe I’m the kind of person who feels compelled to know how many footsteps I’ve walked, I thought.

It seemed like a small move, taking off my fitness band/watch/accessory without which my wrist had begun to feel a little incomplete. But, the penny had dropped.

This shift has been a long time coming. If you’ve been reading the blog since the start of the year, you probably already know I’ve acknowledged the damage getting on a food plan did to me, and more recently that I have been fairly troubled by my own unwillingness to hit the gym. I’ve watched myself slip off the bandwagon. Some days I’ve been tricked by my own devious mind into mistaking a sudden jolt of motivation to be the start of a swift slide back to the way things were, but no. This has not happened. My fitness habit, as I know it, has broken. And what I have watched with equal parts growing alarm, as well as a heart swelling with pride, my new found ability to let it go.

But the journey has not been smooth sailing, and not without its moments of doubt, shame, self-hate and deep sadness. It has taken me over two months to get down to writing about it.

You see, that in itself was my first clue – why is it suddenly so hard to write/talk about fitness? It’s one of my things. It’s what I do. I’m that person my friends call a human rubberband. I’m the one challenging members of my extended family to check out my flexed biceps. I once Instagrammed myself doing a handstand. I love lifting weights, watching my muscles grow and take shape. I love how powerful and strong that makes me feel. So why then, was I suddenly shy, ashamed and afraid to talk about what is going on with me?

I’ve realised only very recently that beyond the difficulty in trying to understand why I am no longer interested to bounce out of bed every morning and hit the gym, has been the difficulty in accepting that this very fundamental and crucial aspect of who I am is likely fading away.

I can’t believe I’m the kind of person who needs to see six green ticks per week on my FitBit workout calendar, to feel accomplished, I thought.

And yet, the struggle was real. Even as I denounced the obsession and promised to commit myself to a more relaxed, non-outcome oriented fitness practice, I have had moments of resisting my own good intentions.

This just can’t be. This is me, my body, and it jollywell do as I say. 

Of late though, I am find myself looking just a little bit deeper, at everything. Which is why a broken gym habit, couldn’t be just that. I had to look deeper to realise the roots of some body-shaming, some unhealthy obsession, and a whole lot of unrealistic expectations and standards that I was unconsciously holding myself to. One the one hand, it’s a crucial exercise in re-learning moderation habit formation and maintenance. But, within me, this has been yet another exercise of self-acceptance. Of acknowledging the shame and hate that I’ve inflicted on myself, under the garb of fitness and health.

The thing is, I’d come such a long way from the pursuit of slimness, to valuing strength, stamina and good health. But I realised, with a lot of disappointment and shame, that whatever it is I tried to do with the food plan I got on, had really undone all of it, and put me in a very vulnerable headspace. That’s really all it took to slip, to lose focus and go down a road that slowly ate away at a very crucial part of me — my sense of positivity and confidence with my body just the way it was.

Today, I look at my body as it slowly regains all that it has lost in the last six months, and I feel a rush of emotions — defeat and loathing amongst other unsavoury things. But when I stay with the discomfort, and I really force myself to look beyond my dimpled hips, the food baby in my lower belly, the slight floppiness that’s returned to my upper-arms, I see it for what it really is – an amazing machine of flesh, bones, cells and blood. I see a body that has done some really amazing things, from giving me a childhood filled with hyperactive play, the ability to enjoy fitness so early in life, discover and love kickboxing, attempt cartwheels once every year on my birthday, cycle like a monster, trek, hike, drive, deal with every stress I throw it’s way, quietly digest all the food I put into it, healed from countless illnesses, silently sewn back numerous wounds.

This is my body.

It contains who I am. And aside from being the amazing machine it is, it generates literally everything that I feel – whether it’s a gut feeling about a decision, the shivers when a song I love comes on, the crippling waves of nostalgia for an aching memory, the knot in my stomach when I’m scared, or the blooming overpowering love for my husband, reverence and admiration for my parents – you name it and there’s a feeling I can pin-point to a part of my body.

This is my body. The space that creates my energy, protects my soul and gently coaxes my spirit in the direction it needs to go.

This is that body. That holds my spirit so safely in its cocoon. And sometimes, when it’s time for spirit to grow, spread it’s arms out and reach out higher than it has ever been, it absolutely cannot be contained in 28” jeans. Or the idea that I must be a certain body-type: muscular and strong, and just the right amount of curvy. Or a mathematical calculation that dictates an optimum size.

Abundance needs space. Growth takes up space. And you know what else? It requires a helluva lot of energy and focus. So when I took the FitBit off, I was really just acknowledging that right now is not the time to focus on the numbers, to hold myself to a routine that has ceased to make sense, and to be fixed to an idea of myself that is clearly making way for something bigger.

More than anything, this has been a time of rest for my body. It was the break I needed, and never listened enough to provide. But, our bodies know and they have the beautiful ability to simultaneously keep up with our unrealistic motions and doings while also relentlessly pushing us to see the signs, over and over again.

Until we eventually do.

It’s been difficult coming to terms with this change, because like with any other transformation, it’s hard to fight the feeling that this is somehow just another way of letting myself down. Every morning, when I wake up on time and still choose to go back to sleep because the gym isn’t in the least bit inviting anymore, I do wonder if this is really who I am. It feels surreal, unfamiliar, unsettling. So distinctly uncharacteristic.

But that uncomfortable space is the blinding spot of change. It’s where little makes sense and no logic applies. It’s the frightening moment when pupa opens up and lets the light in. And the only thing to do is to be kinder and gentler, and just a little more welcoming of things to come.

At the start of the year, I thought had a body-image fight on my hands. But yesterday, I realised that this is about so much more than accepting the shape, size, colour and contours of my body. It’s about stepping out into the light, graciously accepting this invitation to a deeper understanding of who I am. It’s maddening, frightening, exciting and anxiety-giving all at once. But more and more, I find myself wondering what if I actually like it there?

What if?

***

This was a newsletter I sent last week. If you like what you see (and don’t already get enough of me on here – hah!) here’s where you can subscribe.

I realised that many of you have already subscribed, but don’t open newsletters — whats up with that, ya’ll? If for some reason the newsletter is landing in junk/spam, maybe just give it a check and direct it to your inbox — where you can open them?

Two years ago: Day 85: Piece of peace

Day 78: People say I should forget

R was apparently listening to the Dev D soundtrack on Apple music last week. And the sneaky little tool announces it to the whole world. So of course I hopped on and gave it a listen early this morning.

I suppose that’s the point. Listening to the album was like closing my eyes and taking a free-fall into the past. Diving headlong, into the abyss of the way we were (Thank you Barbara Streisand).

There’s some music that I will always, always associate with my life in Goa. Just like there’s certain other music that will only always remind me of growing up in Bangalore. My music memory archive is tagged by phases in my life and there’s actually very little overlap between them, each phase having its own distinct soundtrack so to speak.

So now, when a song or track triggers a memory, it’s one very specific time. Sometimes a particular phase, but often times I can drill it down to a particular event. As insignificant as a drive home from the supermarket, sometimes. No other reason to really remember it or retain it, allowing it to hog shelf space in my mind. But it’s there, simply because of how the music playing, either in my car or on my computer, at work or at home, or at a party, has framed it for posterity.

And so it was that I listened to the Dev D soundtrack again, after something like six or seven years. And it took me right back to year one in Goa. I had this pendrive loaded with the most random — some would say eclectic — selection of music, specifically for my car. It had to cover all bases — driving music, upbeat stuff, a touch of trashy pop, some classics and favourites like Coke Studio and other very disjointed singles that Id just taken a fancy for. It had everything from Dave Matthews Band to Dev D so you can probably gather its purpose.

So listening to the soundtrack the other day, specifically this track, nostalgia scooped me into her arms and took me back to that first monsoon, an extra dark night thanks to a city wide power cut.

We had friends over for dinner but fed up waiting for the power to come back, we decided to go out and drive. In the pouring rain. As we got into the car and set off, this was the first track that came on. And all of us — VC, S, J and I — were silent. No talking, just listening to its hauntingly heady beat and that silly “my/by God” refrain.

The streets were inky black, silky swift and all the while the storm howled on. There’s something cinematic about the memory etched in my mind. My black car bumping along the then Miramar highway, with its quaint streetlights (that we’re off) the median with ghosty lanky trees swaying in the rain, all only lightly magically illuminated by our far from adequate headlamps.

We took it in, in silence. The song, louder in my head than it really was.

And all these years later, when the memory of it bubbles up to the surface, triggered by the opening chords of the song, the evening plays out like a scene from a movie, untouched in my mind. And the song, it just as loud.

Two years ago: Day 78: Abandon

Day 76: Flowers in the window

I thought I was going into a neutral space with no strings attached, but somehow Ive found people I know/who knew of me, even there. I’ve made surprising connections and discovered a web of people, a community larger than the one I consciously know and think of, that binds and holds me in place. That makes me feel like I belong here.

I wasn’t hesitant or afraid to go this way alone, but I imagined I’d be mostly to myself. As I tend to be in spaces like this. I even carried my kindle to class. What will I do all alone in break time, I wondered. But in three days, there’s a sense of community and belonging. Of just the kind we’ve been speaking and discussing in class. I don’t need the distractions or the means to pass the time. I feel deep in my bones that I belong here. That there is a place for the work I am here to do. And this is the right time and the right setting for me to do it.

How does this kind of random, surprise kinship happen? Where do we find the threads to make connections with the unknown? And how do relationships form from apparent nothingness? What makes us belong?

***

It’s a rain-kissed Saturday morning and as I head back for the last session in this module, I have just heard from A in Goa who tells me she’s dreamt of me all thru last night.

It sounds like a blip, a moment unconnected to much else. But when I think back to the journey that’s brought me to this point, this place today, I know A has so much to do with it. And it doesn’t feel like a blip or an unconnected moment in time at all.

I have that excited bubbling feeling in the pit of my stomach like I’m at the beginning of yet another turn in this journey. This is where I belong.

Two years ago: Day 76: Telepathy

Day 74: Where the world is impossibly still

I have a new found interest in cultivating patience. It’s never been my strong suit. I don’t know if it’s the natural process of growing up or being beaten down by whirly ways of the real world where things move only when they must, but as the months and years pass, I’m really only now seeing the value in patience.

If that sounds like the well aged wisdom of an owl your granny might give you, you’re not far off the mark. This kind of simple but overwhelming truth brings with it that kind of gravitas. Holds its place like a boss, setting all the upsets around, to rest.

Perhaps why it’s suddenly got my attention is the fact that patience feels like a natural subset to being present. Of simplifying and paring things down. Of letting everything unfurl. Of joining in the pace rather than setting it.

I am not only interested in learning patience in the classic sense, to wait. But also to wholly believe that everything has its own time, and the moment comes when it most needs to, not necessarily when I need it to. And that when it does, it is for the best possible outcome.

There is a softness and grace with which I find myself looking at situations today, situations that would previously get me agitated or hyper. Restless no longer feels like the space where things happen. Restful, on the other hand is where it’s at.

In the moments between, the ability to wait it out grounds me, while the subtle lightness of the right moment flutters by, doing it’s thing like sprinkles of magic settling on my skin, my outstretched limbs, my eyelashes.

Where I am, is right. Where I will be, will be fine too. But when I’m here, lying in waiting it already feels like magic.

Two years ago: Day 74: How we’ve aged (Part 2)

Day 67: Let’s go outside

I love it when my inner monologue and the outer movings of my world collide, in moments of affirmation like this one.

Since the start of the year, this (and other variations of this) has been my refrain: Go outside.

Out of my comfort zone.

Out of my own way.

Outside the corners of my mind.

Beyond the limits I’ve known to exist.

Go do it.

Take a chance.

So what if it’s not something I’ve done before?

Try something new.

Live a little.

Let go a little more.

Don’t be afraid to go somewhere new, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.

You get the drift.

Towards the end of 2017, I really did feel like I was stepping into a new phase of sorts. A lot of the churn, and the events of 2017 had felt inconclusive on their own, but like collectively they were leading me somewhere. And at the start of this year, I knew at a very cellular level that something had changed. Like I was dipping into some previously unknown repository of clarity, self-awareness and confidence. I didn’t just feel this, in my head. I saw it pan out, in the way I was being.

The nail on the head was the previously unknown levels of contentment, confidence and peace that I began to feel. It was still to early to rejoice or put it down to real change, but when I saw myself breezing through a week or two of inactivity, the sort of low that would usually turn my world around, with not so much of a whimper of nervousness or excitement, I knew I was on to something.

It’s not like the last two months have been smooth or like a plateau. They have been anything but. Whether it’s the severe ups and downs work (my own and what I do with VC) my routine running amok, my body throwing non-cooperative oddballs my way, or the consistent relationship messages I’ve been stumbling on. I’ve had a fair number of instances to stop, take a breather and break down a bit. But it hasn’t happened. Not nearly as much as it used to affect me in the past.

Things happen, things come, thing go, people come, people go, some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t. I’d like to think the confidence and the contentment is making it easier to let things blow through me, rather than blow me down. Which is to say I don’t stumble as often as I did. I don’t go back into a shell of fear, every time something doesn’t go to plan, I don’t calculate my moves as much, I’m willing to give most things a fresh start, and I’m happy to let go. Of the doubt, the fear and the resentment — all things that definitely slowed me down last year.

Whatever happens, just get out. Do it over. Do it again. Do it another way. 

And of course, it helps that the affirming signs (like the one above) come at regular intervals, in case doubt should strike. It’s like my subconscious being mirrored in my actions. In more ways than one.

If the last two years were about conserving energy, quietly figuring things out and worrying about where I was headed, this year I find myself trusting the outside a lot more. I’m willing to go outside. In my head, as much as in reality.

I’ll take this kind of peace over the mood swings and emotional outbursts. I much prefer the head screwed on, eyes wide open way of going through my days, than the busybody spinning-like-a-top way that frankly left me lost and without a clue where I was going.

Going outside never felt better.

Two years ago: Day 67: Flying solo