Day 313: And yesterday becomes tomorrow

Two steps forward and one back. On and on it goes.

Amazed and humbled at how things one feels confident and sorted about have a strange way of cropping up when least expected.

Surprised myself at the latent anxiety I have obviously absorbed and locked away these pastany months, only to have it surface when I roamed a supermarket in Panjim last week.

It led to this post and much introspection and eventually a light at the end of the tunnel. But not without first running myself down just a little bit.

But it helps to have timely conversations and frequent insights from folks who help realign my mirrors, clean the fog up and remind me see the me I am now, when it seems easier to be stuck in a difficult past.

Two years ago: Day 313: Mid-week blues

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Day 305: October

Find another day, with all the changing seasons of my life

I’m writing this from the balcony of our home in Goa, that VC and I are setting up yet again. It’s been a week of intense flashbacks thanks to being back here, not on holiday. I’m mega excited about having one foot in Goa and the other in Bangalore, with VC living here and me heading back home. I am raring to get ahead into an unknown and honestly blank future. I don’t know what lies in waiting for me, but for the first time ever, that uncertainty is sweet and promising.

It is a fitting time to be here, watching as parts of my being are being rekindled, flames of old memories gently fanned to life again every time that I see or do something that triggers a flash from the past. A past from that life I once lived here.  I say it like it was aeons ago, but in truth it was not so far gone. It’s just been a touch under two years. And yet in so many ways, given the transformations that I have experienced, it feels like an absolute lifetime ago. I almost do not recognise that version of myself, and I’m finding it hard to connect to the memory of who I was when I lived here.

Driving down the same streets, revisiting bits of my routine, my haunts have all brought back memories hauntingly close to my mind. And from where I am now, that feels like a sweet, innocent, soft time from the past. Every step of the way, I find myself revisiting how far I’ve come since this journey of healing and spiritual discovery began exactly 2 years ago, right here. Through therapy, making breaking and remaking friendship, umpteen conversations and lots of reading, some self-help and a whole lot of help from around me, active restructuring of my life work marriage and everything in between, it’s been two consistent years of seeking to find my centre again. A centre and a solidity that comes from within, that isn’t attached to any of the trappings I lean on to around me — not my friends, not my family, not my spouse, not my work, and not even to a city. And so it is even more fitting, this state of limbo, of floating between worlds not knowing where or how I am supposed to move ahead, because it is testimony to this very journey. Of finding a centre so deep, of filling it myself up to the brim, of feeling enough, of knowing it is enough.

Of realising that not every one of life’s puzzles needs immediate solving. That there is space for the unanswered questions, for answers that are slow to come. And to make space for the unknown, and to be willing to find comfort in sitting with the questions alone.

***

I spent most of October (and September, for that matter) in a mad dash. October was meant to be about recovery and recouping. We returned from our vacation at the end of September looking forward to some peaceful regrouping as we pack up parts of our lives and set off to begin again on new shores. But as things turned out October was anything but what we’d set ourselves up for. It’s been the most hectic month of the year this far.

It was so busy. I was so busy and when I wasn’t busy, I was preoccupied about being busy. I was running through lists and lists in my head — work lists, packing lists, purchase lists. And that’s just how the entire month seems to have gone by, without so much as a whisker of catching my breath. It wasn’t the ideal way we’d have liked to send VC off, but I cannot complain because I found help in unexpected quarters, empathy and acceptance from near and far, togetherness with both my families, visits from dear friends, a superlative culmination of my course that added a flourish of a finishing touch before we jetted off on our drive to Goa — me by car, VC by bike.

***

In a few days I will head back to Bangalore alone. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and in my life together with VC. It certainly has all the makings of a shiny new adventure, but at this point from where I am right now, I’m sitting snug in the comforts of a chapter about to close.

Since being back in Goa, I’ve ended every single day with a heart filled with gratitude for how help has come my way in these last two months, right up to here in Goa when our lives are in a flux with all the balls up in the air. For family and friendship. For this inexplicable fullness of life. For a future that’s wide open and up for the taking.

It is nice to finally be in a space where I am not fighting life, or vice versa. Things are in a gentle flow. There is peace when I go to bed at night, knowing just how much I am looked after. There is comfort in knowing I maybe walking this journey on my own, but I am far from alone. And there is an immense joy and a deep sense of contentment with knowing I am exactly where I need to be.

***

It has been a month of low, weak writing given how impossibly preoccupied my brain has been. So I’m not attempting to make much sense of my posts this time around.

That post-holiday snap back to reality that was the only day of repose we had. My sister fell violently ill and while it thrust me into action-mode that didn’t wane for the rest of the month, it also threw up moments of pondering about surrender, family and togetherness.

There were many days when I was so filled with thoughts, overcome with emotion and dying to let some of it drip over onto a page, but I just couldn’t find the words. Then the #metoo storm hit, and everything was grey for a bit. We lost Leo and that hit me harder than I expected.

Mid-month we began to consider this move, planning for it and I got a felt a bit overwhelmed at what it means for me, to consciously live apart from VC. To be living this dream of being in two cities at once. There were interesting turn of events with an unusual calm even in the face of this frenzy, a clear indication of change in the works, a glimmer of hope with small victories sparked by brave women speaking up.

The unusual calm seems to be here to stay, and feels like it means more. And finally, just when I allowed myself a mini breather, I unravelled and fell ill. But there was work to be done, goodbyes to be said. And a rather special journey together to Goa was embarked upon. Leaving one home, to come to another home. Our own home is WIP, and I’m gradually feeling equal parts envy that VC gets to have the new home, and excitement at returning to my old home for a newish life.

As always, there is gratitude. For ordinary, everyday miracles. For the abundance friendship has brought to my life these past 2 months. For the unseen gifts even in the hardest moments of my life. And for the incredible, generous offering that is a future into the wild unknown.

***

One month ago: Day 284: September
Two month ago: Day 246: August
Three months ago: Day 219: July
Four months ago: Day 184: June

Five months ago: Day 152: May
Six months ago: Day 134: April
Seven months ago: Day 92: March
Eight months ago: Day 60: February
Nine months ago: Day 32: January

Two years ago: Day 305: Light and life

Day 292: Come if it feels right, now is the time to be

The past few weeks gave been an odd combination of active and passive states. Active in the sheer energy and happenings in flow about me, yet passive in how I have been able to just surrender to the situation and how it has consumed me.

I had returned from Europe with grand plans. There was a blog reboot project mushrooming in my head, that I was going to launch into. I was all set to dive right back into work, I wanted to get back to yoga or some sort of exercise (that has dropped to a deathly silent nil in the last few months) and I wanted to spend the last few weeks I can share with VC here doing things around town — eating out, taking walks (our time in Europe made VC and I realise how little we indulge in walking as a standalone activity beyond just getting from one place, at home) revisiting favourite spots in the city and generally giving Bangalore a fitting goodbye (even though I’m not the one leaving just yet, I can’t help but feel a part of me is). But none of that was to be.

There is a lot happening, but none of it earth shattering. And for the first time in a while, I realise this is stasis. Things moving at their place, slowly. No real high peaks or low troughs. Just chugging along. This has been a year of so much activity and movement, mostly in my head. The giant leaps I have felt myself take, the long strides I am always forcing myself to take. I feel I have moved huge distances even as I have tried to sit still. And after almost a whole year of actively seeking that, things are suddenly at a very comfortable plateau. This feels like a time for sitting, sinking, marinading in the work that has been done. A time to sit back, let things unfold as they need to, and enjoy the gifts of my labour.

I’ve been so used to always pushing myself to do better, be better, seek better, seek more — whether in my experiences in Bangalore (because I’ve always felt like my time in this city has been finite, like I’m on a deadline), or my personal self-work. I have been in constant seeking mode for so long now, and the more I have sought and reached out, the more I have received. The more I have received, the more I have filled up, and filled myself of. Finally, things have come to a head. I felt this quite literally last weekend at the closing workshop, when I said my goodbyes and felt physically filled-up. I didn’t sign up for the following workshop. I felt full.

I have sought so much, received so abundantly, and taken in all in so hungrily, now I want to slowly digest it all.  This feels like a time for a resettling. And as much as I have acknowledged that I haven’t done all that I wanted to, I haven’t written as much or as well as I have felt things, I haven’t done any reading, I haven’t been out, it hasn’t been with regret or a longing or a feeling of lack. I feel content with things as they are, even though they haven’t worked out to plan.

I realise even more now that this is stasis. It feels delightfully okay. This is such a new kind of contentment for me.

Things are okay. Nothing overly positive to report, nothing alarmingly negative dragging me down either. The time for striving and achieving more seems to have passed. I want to settle and be still. And it feels just about right.

One year ago: Postcards from Goa
Two years ago:
 Day 292: Love, loss and what we ate

Day 289: I been moving calm, don’t start no trouble with me

I can’t believe we’re just over two months away from the neat year. Two thousand and freaking nineteen, for fucks sake. What? Wasn’t it just January some time ago? I feel like we only just returned from our New Years weekend at Coonoor. And yet, I can’t believe it’s going to be a month since we left for Europe. It’s been over two weeks since we’ve been back, and the reason time has zipped by like this is because it has been one thing or another, non-stop, for us since we got back. Between the illness, hospital visits, finishing up my course, attending the last workshop, and keeping the people at home fed at regular intervals (which meant having a kitchen up and functioning more than it has in all the months I’ve used it), I’ve been packed up to my gills with activity.

Time does this funny thing where it shrinks and expands unannounced. Both, when the days are packed to the hilt and I don’t know if I’m going or coming. Like it has been the past few weeks. I feel it in my brain, with the lack of words to share.

When the frenetic up and down from the hospital died down, we all breathed a sigh of relief. It has meant lazy days together, afternoon naps sometimes, meals eaten leisurely and all of that. But even so, I realised today that I haven’t given myself much time to unwind. I have missed catching up with friends. I haven’t had my weekly breakfast out in about a month now. And I have missed doing little things with myself. I didn’t read much on holiday and swore I’d get back and right into my kindle again, but I haven’t so much as touched it.

This is a strange turn of events for me. I haven’t been this busy in forever. The upside is the house is functioning on clockwork — something I’ve longed to put in action only for like everrr now. I’ve found hidden reserves of mojo to cook meal after meal and not tire or feel bored of it. As yet. And in between it all I’ve managed to get some work done, albeit a little past my deadlines. And we’re juggling planning the move of about half our home back to Goa next week.

Today, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by it all. Next week we’ll drive down to Goa again. This time with half our life packed in boxes trailing along. I will then set up house with VC, where he will reside, spend about 2-3 weeks there over Diwali and beyond, and return alone.

I’m overwhelmed. And excited. And unlike before, neither of the two seem to be bubbling over. Today, I realised despite the stress, the sheer overwhelm from everything that has to be done, the finality of VC moving, the lack of space and pause, the complete absence of stillness, I have quite unconsciously and easily kept myself together. This is new. This is different. This is totally unexpected.

This time around, I know what has changed.

Day 284: September

Heaven, let your light shine down

I’ve thought long and hard about how I can sum up September. I’ve written, re-written and written again, this post collating all that happened in the month, and yet the right way to put it together has eluded me. Continues to elude me. It’s odd because so much happened in September. I was busy, the days were long, I was out and about, and then I went away on what can easily be called one of the best holidays of the last decade for me. Somehow, I’ve been lost for words.

This morning, I realised that perhaps it’s okay. That perhaps I must post this anyway, without neatly tying everything up with a bow. September was over-stimulating. September was snappy and brisk. And yet, September has left me silent. September has made me sit down and be still again.

For far too long now I have been seeking this stillness within. The sort of stillness that steadies me even in the midst of bustling action. Suddenly I realise, September was all about that kind of stillness deep within. Stillness that anchors, steadiness that fills a space. Somewhere, unbeknownst to me, that steadiness has crept in making space for a quiet assuredness that makes it possible to rest without my fingers fidgeting to hold something, to flow from one thing to the next without always knowing how or what or why, to be busy on the outside and calm within all at once, and to let go of the answers knowing that I can sit still with the questions swimming within.

Uncertainty, quietude, surrender, unsettling — there has never been a time in my life that I have enjoyed any of this. And somehow, here I am today doing exactly that. So here goes.

***

I had a shit ton of work last month, and the added pressure of finishing it all before I went away. And in classic fashion, I procrastinated a helluva lot before I eventually got it done.

Despite that, there’s been that stillness I mentioned. Peaceful, easy days with emotions running high, thoughts astir.
I feel a deep sense of contentment for where I am right now and all that life has brought for me, especially this past year.
I pondered about inclusion and what it means to evolve and think back wistfully, to older versions of myself.
On distraction and my relationship with screens.
Thoughts on social media, as a result of unrestricted screen-time I had.
Writing every single day this year has been not just exceedingly joyful, but also beneficial.
I’ve also found a new dimension of friendship that fuels me.

HAPPY days of love in September included the Supreme Court decriminalizing homosexuality in India. And our tenth wedding anniversary.

I spent a large chunk of the month in Europe and I posted every single day. Sometimes with words, sometimes without.
Enroute: Day 0
Paris: Day 1: Hello Paris, day 2: walking about, day 3: more aimless wandering, day 4: in love with the city of love
Brugges: Day 5: rainy welcome, day 6: all is forgiven, day 7: lessons in uncertainty
Amsterdam: Day 8: sensory overload, day 9: catching sunrise and sunset, day 10: last day reflections

Gratitude, as always.
For choosing the slow, flexible life that supports my inner being.
For the abundance that has come my way in recent times.
For love: in strong friendship that has grown unexpectedly, for family that comes through against all odds.
For friendship across continents, timezones and life spaces.

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***

One month ago: Day 246: August
Two months ago: Day 219: July
Three months ago: Day 184: June

Four months ago: Day 152: May
Five months ago: Day 134: April
Six months ago: Day 92: March
Seven months ago: Day 60: February
Eight months ago: Day 32: January

One year ago: Things change
Two years ago: Day 284: Escape

Day 282: Try to remember the good times

Since the day we got back from holiday, there’s been a heaviness hanging over me. It’s not as if things are down out and dreary, but I cannot ignore this achy, heavy heart that’s feeling trapped inside my ribs. It started with Niyu’s illness that even though we caught in time, really pulled the rug out from beneath my feet. Physically there were many sleepless nights, which though one pulls through high on an adrenaline-addled response, begin to show one way or another. But even otherwise, this is the most stress I have known in a while. If it weren’t for my father, and all the support and help we got from unexpected quarters, I don’t know how we’d have managed. It didn’t help that I had to be away from home for four days, finishing my course, leaving them and my mind at home, trying hard to stay focused. The work in class itself, deeply emotional always takes a toll on me. All in all it was a cocktail of things that sucked the juice out of me last week.

There was also the undeniable sadness and almost grief of ending this incredible journey I’ve been on thanks to the learning. It was an emotional four days, and the cherry on top was the very moving, very inspired and sweet closing ceremony we had. I got some very encouraging feedback on my essays, a very powerful module to close the course with, and all in all it feels like I’ve refuelled for the next many months to come. It was all too bittersweet, high on the sense of accomplishment, of having done something entirely for myself after so many years, of having finished it so well, of having gained oh so much from the entire experience, and yet having it end so fast. It seems like I only just began, just the other day.

Just when that finished, and I was looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday, the #MeToo shitstorm broke out. With S braving the eye of it, I’ve been getting frequent, gut-wrenching, enraging updates, even though I am not on social media where one can follow closely. Every story, every update brings up the bilious rage. But that is not all. This time around, the wave of stories has left me very helpless, hopeless. With a fast and quick-changing idea of feminism brewing in my head, I am very conflicted this time around. My support lies fair and centre on the side of victims, but I am so undecided about many other things. Mostly I am also very troubled by what this means for us as a culture, as a people and a race. What have we lost that has brought us to this point? Where are we letting out boys and girls down? What does it say for us as a culture where so many, many men it seems have just no clue how to deal with desire in a healthy manner, and just don’t know what to do with their feelings when met with a no? I was at the WeTheWomen even here on Sunday, very briefly. I went in just to listen to Raghu Karnad and Rohini Nilekani talk about “Working with boys and men” and though the session left me quite dissatisfied and wanting more, one thing she said really stood out: what have we done for aggression to be the default response to all unaddressed feelings?

I am deeply ashamed at where we stand today, having done a giant disservice to generations of men and women by shrouding all conversation around sex, consent and healthy relationships in shame and fear. For building a culture that normalises violence, aggression and harassment in the name of desire and love. For how we have done little to question and topple power structures present in various facets of society, even as we make advances and have women increasingly make inroads into the ranks. It’s deeply distressing to hear stories from 30 years ago that are coming out today, echoing exactly what is still going on. What has our evolution come to mean? What use is all that performative wokeness?

It felt like a never-ending weekend of the sads. Monday couldn’t come soon enough. My sister got a clean chit on Monday morning at the hospital, and as I heaved a sigh of relief it felt like the first time I exhaled a heavy bout of air I’d trapped inside of me all week long. I returned home, thinking about resuming work again and finding some semblance of routine and normalcy. But then I got a message from D that Leo had passed on and I felt like my world had fallen apart all over again.

I’m due to puppy sit at theirs next month and there’s an ache and a puppy shaped gaping hole in my heart just imagining what it will be like to have 2, not 3 of them begging for a taste of my dinner. I’m still broken, and I have no idea why this has hit so close home and why this loss feels so personal.

Over the course of the last almost-two years, I have grown terribly attached to and fond of D’s puppies. There is something to be said about getting to know your friends dogs. Slowly, over time. It’s a lot like meeting your friend’s children. At first there’s tentativeness on both sides. They’ll look at your curiously, almost as if to say “Why are you here to hog my mommy’s attention again?” But you visit often enough, and the familiarity grows. Eventually guards will drop, and if you’re anything like Leo, you might even offer me your bum from a safe distance of about 2 feet, demanding a good scratch on the rump. You keep the visits frequent enough and slowly you’ll build a relationship with the puppy, outside of your relationship with your friend. You’ll take gifts along sometimes. You’ll take pictures of them. You’ll surprise yourself by feelings of longing when you actually miss the cute little runts. So you’ll fish out your phone and look at pictures lovingly, send them hugs and kisses in your mind. Eventually, you’ll be accepted as family and every arrival will be met with happy wagging tails, wet noses at your feet and gentle demands for petting. All pretence of good behaviour for “guests” too will fade away and you’ll love them anyway. All this and more happened with Leo. He was a special, special puppy who crept into my heart in a way no puppy has. I had mad respect for his underwhelmed-by-everything, too-cool-for-everything-unless-it’s-food demeanour. I loved his focus on all things food and I will truly miss his gentle giant presence every time we visit D and UT going forward. All I know is that special place in puppy heaven with an unending supply of pork sausages just found it’s most ardent occupant. And the loss is entirely ours.

The entire week, weekend and beyond has carried this heavy energy. The bittersweetness of it is inescapable. Wonderful things have happened, but not without a tinge of that heavy price being/to be paid. I’ve crossed paths with difficult times, and through the crises found the immeasurable gift of support, help and boundless love. I’ve ended journeys and felt the palpable beginning of new ones. I’m mad proud and excited for the way in which the universal energies of women are syncing up, but I feel drained and heavy with the pain it is making us all revisit. As much as life endures, it is not without death, surrender and difficult lessons in moving on. All of this is heavy, all of these are life-changing experiences.

One year ago: What coming home feels like: Revisiting old haunts II

Day 278: It’s just another ordinary miracle

Surrender. Quietude. Knowing my body. These have been the three major recurring themes of my life these last couple of years, and more so over the course of this past year. And today, I realised it is exactly these very things that have come together serendipitously, beautifully over the last three days, the very last module of my course.

Ever so grateful for that serendipity and those connections.

Two years ago: Day 278: September

Day 277: It doesn’t matter, put the phone away

Reigning my mind back to class today, when actually it is at home with Niyu, where my dad is suddenly in charge and holding fort. Forever amazed and humbled by the ways in which the universe conspires to push the only real outcome from any circumstance.

Every morning the last three days I’ve contemplated skipping this module, and something within me pushed me to say no, I mustn’t. My dad has been silently lurking around, but very much been there and on top of things. And it’s given me the solace to put my phone down and go to class. This is an interesting and appropriate turn of events.

One year ago: Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home.
Two years ago: Day 277: 109 kms done

Day 276: Warm days filled with sunshine

It’s been a long day once again. And I’m just about making it in the nick of time once again. Today, in addition to being physically exhausted, I am also pretty tired in my head. Class was heavy and drew me in completely. I’ve come away pondering about the idea of surrender and what it has come to mean. Not just in the most obvious ways that I have seen it pan out in my life, but a few layers deeper.

Surrendering to ideas? Or the lack of them? Or the possibility of a new kind of idea?

As much as I have experienced surrendering to situations and circumstance, and as much as I’ve been pushed to do this every so often this year, I realised today that I have also experienced a kind of surrender with reworking my beliefs and values. My idea of feminism, for example, has been pummelled to the ground — things I held as absolutes have turned to absolute dust — and emerged anew. I’ve been forced to surrender to ideas I was so deadly sure I never would. To give up my stronghold on absolutes I wanted so bad to be eternal. I’ve had to rethink non-negotiable, inalienable truths. And find meaning and solace in ideas I once thought were beneath me.

It was only from the chaos and destruction of the old, and surrendering to that in between of non-existent ideas and of nothingness, has a new normal started to emerge.

***

This is one of my favourite Rumi quotes, and I hadn’t seen the full version in forever. Until today.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and righting,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

— Rumi

Again and again, I am astounded by how the same message keeps coming to me in various different forms and ways, again and again. And again.

Today, I’m going to bed with the idea of surrender swimming in my head. I’m going to sit with it, just let it be. Marinade in it, soak it up. And see what emerges.

One year ago: Booooook post

Day 255: I want the truth to be said

I have a long post chock full of my thoughts and experiences post quitting social media, that has been in the works since almost the start of the year. I haven’t posted it because I don’t feels like I’m done. Because every now and then a new insight happens, thoughts follow and inevitably I see how it has panned out, continues to pan out, in my life. And I update the note. I revisited it last week after the recent, brief brush with Instagram, and I realised I will probably not post it after all. Maybe it’s one of those things that will remain in the realm of the really personal.

However, today, with the week-long hit of Instagram still fresh and buzzing in my veins, I’m going to put down a few fresh thoughts I’ve had about what I know for sure quitting Instagram (specifically) did for me. And conversely, what good has come from staying off of it. It reinforced the fact that just pruning my feed or curtailing the time I spent on the app would certainly not have done me as much good as removing myself from it entirely has. It made a very good case for not returning too soon.

I didn’t know it with this much surety then, but I do now. The obvious downsides of social media aside — like the playing on my specific insecurities and vulnerabilities, the steady cultivation of an attitude that preyed on feedback and validation, the unquestionable sinkhole of productivity and time — the single most important reason I needed to get away was that what I was choosing to see, the imagery and thoughts I was exposing myself to, and thereby the way in which they were being reinforced, was influencing the way I thought and lived. And not in a nice way. It had begun to get in the way of my self-improvement. My habits and patterns online — which were clear numbing patterns — were at loggerheads with the habits and patterns I was trying to cultivate offline. In real life.

One of the two had to change in order for me to move forward.

It goes without saying that I was, like all of us, choosing to see a very curated feed. One that suited my leanings and interests. It made for great viewing, but what it also did, rather insidiously, was make me unwilling to see other points of view. And over time, I’d become very rigid and cocksure about my beliefs and attitudes. Even the ones that needed to change so I could move into a healthier headspace. All of this was an  unconscious and rather slow process that crept up on me when I wasn’t looking.

Social media was great for the constant feedback loops — what with a willing audience that consistently clapped for me, liked everything I posted and thereby reinforced how right I was in what I saw, believed, shared and put out there — and the selective way in which I could expose myself to only a very stilted feed that reflected those very same beliefs and attitudes back at me further digging my heels in deeper, making it so hard for me to realise where I might have been wrong, where I could stand to review and reassess my views. And so hard to course correct.

Polarised and fixed views also allowed little to no scope for middle ground, flexibility, or even the idea that other people maybe coming from very different spaces worth considering. So sure and unshakeable have I been about myself that I now recall several instances of having taken a high ground when it wasn’t required, or even my place to. That high ground, build on a rather shaky foundation of opinions that were not fully formed, not even entirely my own, was bound to come crumbling down.

Opinions are great, but the finality of a social media declaration, backed by the external validation and further reinforced by the audiences repeated positive feedback solidified much of me in a very unshakeable way.

That was disastrous for growth.

So many of my half-baked and problematic (for me) views were being reinforced on a daily basis. Even on days when I didn’t post and was in the audience. And so many of them have gotten in the way of my movement and evolution.

Over the years, I lost sight of the basic truth that we are all evolving. That the very nature of growth and growing up is that we can be completely wrong about many things. Also, that everyone else is evolving too. That what holds true at one time may or may not continue to hold true at another.

Today, practically everything that I knew to be true and held as unshakeable truths, has crumbled and re-formed in the period of about 18 months. The only thing I know for certain is that absolutely nothing is certain, and everything changes.

Much of who I am today and the dramatic changes I have experienced, and the way that I have seen life surge ahead, is a consequence of allowing myself to change my mind. Without a doubt, this process was hastened because I just cut social media out of my life.

A lack of social media has:

  1. Shown me what feeling unsure is
  2. Opened me up to being wrong
  3. Encouraged me to look beyond the obvious, and see where people might be coming from
  4. Softened my need to have a fixed opinion about everything

I’m enjoying this space of being undecided and unclear about many things I had rather staunch opinions about. I’m enjoying figuring it out as I go. I’m reaching out for experiences much more willingly, I’m trying new things. Most of all, I’m getting better and better at asking for help, and find that I am able to receive it with a little more grace than before.

I’m finding unexpected outcomes all the time, and the process has really softened me in a way that has made life fuller and richer.

One year ago: Finding life again

Day 253: Shine a little light on me

Plot twist.

As much as the process of shedding the old and stepping into the new feels one must discard the old entirely, I’m beginning to see the subtle difference between acknowledging what’s old and no longer serves me well, giving it a good place in this process; and turning my back on it completely. All those parts I’ve grown out of, were still me after all.

Maybe growth and evolution doesn’t have to involve rejection of the old, but simply a healthy honouring of the way things used to be, and a happy acceptance of the way they are now.

I’ve often wondered, and I’ve written about it too somewhere on this blog before (cannot for the life of me find the post now), about where our old selves go to die, when we scrub off the layers and move closer to the truth of what lies within.

Of late, I’ve realised they don’t go anywhere to die at all. They find a place within us, settling into the background and letting newer, younger selves emerge. Younger, relevant and current selves that are roaring and alive, raring to go. Current selves who have been lying in waiting for their time to come.

I’m finding (albeit with a little difficulty) that it is possible to look back on these past selves with a little bit of compassion instead of loathing, or embarrassment, or disgust, or criticism, or all of the above. These past selves, complete with all the not-so-great decisions I might have made, that led me to not-so-great events, not-so-great people choices and the not-so-great ways in which I dealt with it, were the journey that has brought me here, after all.

Inclusion has taken on a whole new meaning, suddenly.

Two years ago: Day 253: Disjointed, incomplete thoughts

Day 242: Whatever you believe, it could be real

This past weekend, we had a Sunday lunch. A hearty, hearty one for more reasons than one. My sister had us over for lunch to her home that she has just moved to, sharing it with two other friends. It was a warm, delightful afternoon of food cooked entirely by them, of produce almost entirely grown in the kitchen garden in the home.

I love a crowded table — crowded with people and crowded with food. My parents, VC and I joined in the three of them who share a home, along with two others who were visiting. We sat around the long table, with extra chairs dragged in, digging in to the absolutely delicious spread that they’d cooked together, which included a 10-hour braised lamb stew (which they began cooking the previous evening!), multiple salads, stir fried veggies, a kickass platter of mushroom and spinach patties, and two dips to go with it.

So hearty. The afternoon left me so high and happy. This is a bunch of kids I’ve known since my sister was in grade 1. I’ve watched them grow, through various stages of development over the last two decades — not a number one actively keeps track of, no? Life gets ahead and the years roll by, until suddenly an event like this makes you stop and register how long it has been. Three of these “kids” running a bigass home on their own, cooking this bigass meal and having us over — it was so wonderful to witness.

I wondered about how if I felt so overwhelmed at the developments, the reality and weight of the passage of time is probably even more harsh and enunciated for my parents who have near two decades on us.

That afternoon, I realised that my parents are about the most resilient and giving people I have had the privilege of knowing. They truly live the live-and-let-live life by example, and have let us free to run amok, whenever we wished, and wished us well as we set off on our own.

There is a sense of liberation and satisfaction in watching your young ones grow and turn into adults, I’m sure. I’m not even a parent, but being the older sibling comes close. My heart brims over when I see my sister thrive, when her little fledgeling art education project goes places and when I see her satisfied and happy. Seeing her hit milestones like this — having her own place — makes me so happy. But to see my parents, as they’re able to be a part of this growing up, alongside us, let us go yet hold us close enough to sit at the same table and witness our joy and partake. To be a part of this evolution, close at hand. It’s made me very aware of what a special joy and a privilege it is. One that I have not acknowledged before.

This year, more than ever before, I’ve realised the importance of parents. And parenting. As I’ve dropped so much of my own baggage, judgement and misconstrued preconceived notions in this regard, I’ve had the humbling chance to see my parents as people first. It has been eye-opening and heart-filling and given me a very new and satisfying sense of family.

I had the unique chance of flying back right into the heart of the proverbial nest for the second time in my life. I returned to Bangalore, but in reality I returned to a state of mind that I had deferred abruptly, and unfinished phase of growing up that I severed before its time and ran away. Probably to fly out the nest too soon — before my time was done. Before I was ready for new grounds. And I realise it is that resilience about my parents that welcomed me. In many ways I have gone back to being the child. But in so many ways I have bloomed into an adult, who is still the child. In so many ways this feels like the completion of a previously unaccomplished chapter.

As I ready myself to fly out the nest once more, I realise how different everything looks from the way it did last year. And like sunlight streaming through this glass-tiled roof, illuminating all that needs to be seen, I’ve witnessed all the missing parts coming to light. Everything is so lush, and my heart is so full.

Two years ago: Day 242: A morning moment

Day 241: Keep waking up high

This week, someone outside my immediate family expressed sadness about my impending move away from Bangalore. The only other person to have done that is my mother. And both times it made me feel warm and fuzzy within. It reiterated for me how charged and full of life my time in Bangalore has been. I’ve had intensely connected relationships. I’ve connected deeply with people — known and new. I’ve opened myself up to so many more experiences, and I realise now that maybe deep down I knew I was on a deadline. Our bodies and minds know and I feel that I was able to listen to that inner knowing and dive in to most things that felt like they needed to be done.

Having said that, this has been a year of conscious being, over doing, like I told A yesterday. And I can’t help but feel that this feeling of fullness — of abundance, of life being so much bigger than I ever imagined possible, of feeling like the universe’s favourite child — has been a direct outcome of it.

I’m grateful for the humbling lessons that have brought me here. I’m grateful for all that Bangalore has given to make this journey the perfect one for me — from efficient services, to the course I’m doing, to bringing the right people at the right time — I wouldn’t have felt so kindly and like the experience has been so abundant if not for it. 18 months ago when I contemplated moving here with shaky feet and a restless heart, I hadn’t the faintest clue that I’d get so much (and enjoy so much of it) from my time here. Grateful for the opportunity to take this time out. Grateful for all the support I get so I can keep going, deeper and wider. Grateful for VC. For my parents. For the few friends. All of whom share this journey with me, in small and big ways.

Protected: Day 239: Cake by the ocean

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Day 233: I want to thank you for giving me the best days of my life

Gratitude for last week.

For Guru Purnima and for always having the opportunity to be with the music. No matter where I go, how far I wander, the music follows. Or a part of me remains. I’m not sure which. But there is the music.

For the sweet spot of busy-busyness that VC has hit. It’s keeping him on his toes, challenged and excited in a way that has fired him up like I haven’t seen in all these months in Bangalore.

For rainy evenings spent in silence at Koshys. For Bangalore weather. I’m really making the most of this before my time on Bangalore is up.

For the drive to Goa. Any roadtrip is fun with VC. And this was no different.

For Goa. For the weather. For the dogs. For friends. For this other side of life that is so new and filled with joy.

For all the chill. For the conversation. For the tarot insights. For the home-cooked food. For the downtime. For the books. For kinship. For home away from home.