Wake up tomorrow, look around, say a word of thank you for the things you have. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say thank you for people who are still in your life; for those who have showed up for you. Walk to your mirror and say thank you to the person you see. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t settle for any less than what you need. It doesn’t matter who says what. It doesn’t matter who “settles down” at what age, or achieves what when you know you’ve chosen a different path, one that is least followed, understood and accepted. Look inwards, for you know what is best for you. Look inwards, for you’re filled with love you’ve tired to find outside. Look inwards, for you’ve once given away too much love that you now owe to yourself. Look inwards first, always.
I’ve been practicing setting healthy boundaries for over three years now. Initially, it used to feel scary, the thought of setting boundaries even with your loved ones or those you once loved but over time, I realised that it is okay to feel terrible about it and yet want to draw a line between yourself and anyone else.
It is important to protect your space; both internally and externally. That fear, that terrible feeling which sometimes feels like guilt is usually temporary and when you do in fact start seeing some positive shifts and change from learning to set healthy boundaries, that temporary feeling does disappear. Soon, you experience a very light, freeing feeling. I know this for sure.
I found peace in knowing that I’m doing what I’m doing for my the sake of my well-being and it always seemed worth it.
Setting healthy boundaries in your close and distant relationships is an integral part of self-care. It does not mean that you don’t tend to others. It means that you learn to tend to yourself first. Shifting your focus and attention towards what or who really matter frees up space and energy which can definitely be directed towards other greater things. There were many times in my life when events and situations around me made me feel helpless, as if there was no form of separation between me and others. I found that I was running low on energy for myself and that it was affecting my entire being.
It took me years to learn to set healthy boundaries and say ‘no’, firmly and politely where necessary.
Sometimes I catch myself slipping off my practice as well but I’m quicker to find my space and bring myself to stand my ground. You are allowed to go to any extent to ensure that your peace, solitude and sanity are well taken care of.
If you ever forget how strong you are, pause for a moment and look back – look at all the times you fell and stood up, not just stronger but courageous enough to try over and over again. Look back at the times you could have shut yourself to love and pain, and built a wall around your heart, but you chose to remain soft and let light in anyway. Look at the times you showed up; for people and yourself. Your story makes only a part of you, and the lessons your learn and how you evolve, make up the rest of you. Ask yourself, “how has my story changed me for the better?” If ever you doubt your strength, your ability to love, your discernment and authenticity to walk your own path, look back… look back and see how far you’ve come. It’ll make it easier to continue moving ahead if you realise how unstoppable you’ve been up till now.
After more than two weeks of thinking through whether I wanted to or if I was even in the mood to host a mini Ganesh Chaturthi dinner, I finally figured I had to do it this time. I got a couple of messages from friends who were looking forward to it and I knew it wasn’t going to be like last year. This time round, everything was going to be different.
Because it is different.
Things change, times change.
What remained the same as last year was the feeling of love and joy, dressing up & being around a few people and knowing that no matter where life is heading, you’d always have some memories to look back upon and smile. To feel grateful for.
Ultimately, that’s really all I care about when it comes to festivals. If you’re like me, spiritual enough to respect that people get to have their own set of religious beliefs and, you’d agree that if any festival is celebrated with the people who love you and people you love, people who have been there for you and people you’ve been there for, and if you’re present in that moment, do a small ritual and feel immense gratitude, it is more than enough. You get to choose how you want to live your experience.
Amongst all the amazing photos captured that day, these three will always remind me that despite everything,
you have a choice.
To pick a family,
To dream freely,
To hope without fear,
To laugh without guilt,
To cry with your heart,
To love with your mind,
To sing your very own song,
To live with what you have and make the best out of it.
P.S. if you’re wondering what’s happening up there… you know, we were just trying to dance on “raat ke dhaaii baje” and “pinga” for very obvious reasons. Also, did you notice my freakishly bendy fingers?
I just feel like saying a big thank you to all those who've loved me through my struggle with finding a diagnosis, leaving an old life behind, resisting a new one, accepting and coming to terms with where I'm at and making drastic lifestyle/career changes in order to manage my health.
Thank you for loving me despite my chronic illness. Thank you for learning to grow with me ❤️
You didn't have to be family to promise that you'd be around whenever I need – you just chose to be there for me. Thank you!
It’s Ganesh Chaturthi today, the birth day of Lord Ganesh and basically …
I don’t know enough about it (but Google does!).
What I do know FOR SURE is this –
🔸This day always fills me up with excitement each time
🔸It’s an occasion that used to bring my entire family together and I’ve got some incredible memories of this festival
🔸I am aware of the basic rituals – a little prayer that you do, certain dishes you prepare (I’m not sure why you make each), general overview of the days you celebrate (5,7 or 11 days I think) it.
🔸It is a great opportunity to dress up
🔸I miss my brother
P.S. Whatever you’re reading right now is being typed as I get ready
I wouldn’t call myself particularly religious; definitely not like my parents or family. I think I am “religious” about things that work for me and I believe in them. I’ve always been given the freedom to have my own belief system and hence I am fine with everyone else choosing what works for them – whatever helps one feel happy and peaceful from deep within + helps him/her get through the hardships of life. You might have guessed by now that religion is really not one of my favourite topics.
Having said all of the above, here’s how I’m doing it –
I’ve set up my altar, with a beautiful statue of Lord Ganesha resting on coral beads. I haven’t specifically decorated my altar because my alter is rather personal and symbolic in itself. Every little thing on it is there for a reason. All I did was just cleaned it up, added some fresh flowers, lit some candles and rose incense sticks – that’s it.
I’ve invited a couple of really close friends over to my house. We’ll sing along one or two devotional songs (okay okay, I do know the lyrics of some. It happens when your family has been singing it for years you know?) and have a mini dinner, which we’ll probably call for. My dinner is going to look rather different from their’s as I’ve got a SIBO test on the very next day. More on that next time.
Oh, here’s an important bit. We’ve decided to dress up too because HEY!! We don’t get a chance otherwise! Who gets a chance to wear a nath these days anyway?! Nath, by the way, is a Maharashtrian style nose ring and I’ve been dyingggg to wear mine (I don’t get a chance to wear it these days anymore since I don’t perform much). I can’t wait for my friends to show up now!
As prashad, we’re having (my friends) some dark chocolate (instead of these sweet rice dumpling kind of a thing called ‘modak’) and I believe Ganesh ji is going to like my modern twist to his birthday celebration.
I also plan to FaceTime my family and my close friends later in the evening. Everyone’s all over the world this time so I’m freaking thankful for FaceTime. I’m beyond grateful for a small set of close friends I have today – they’ve done so much for me up till date. Sometimes they willingly become my extra pair of hands, helping me with things I simply have no physical ability to do. Other times, they patiently sit next to me (they get me dark chocolate quite often) while I just lay down in pain. I can’t thank the Universe enough for a bunch of loving people around me.
Let’s see… I think that’s it. That’s really it. That’s my version of a mini Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in my sweet little apartment. We’ve got Ganesh ji + positive vibes + food + friends + a grateful heart + good clothes + technology to keep in touch with the rest of the world – what else can anyone ask for?
By the way, in case you’re wondering,GBM stands for ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’, which supposedly means ‘Lord Ganesh Bless’. For me, it’s something you happily and enthusiastically yell out a number of times through the course of this festival.
Happy Lord Ganesha’s Birthday everyone! *Yell GBM now*
Ok, I can’t lie. I am tired. Freaking tired. It’s just been two days and I’ve got two weeks ahead. I want to be able to get through these two weeks well, even if there is a high possibility that my days will leave me with no energy for myself. I might need an increased dose of pain-killers too. Maybe I’d need most of my joints taped up too. I’m prepared and I have the support I need.I keep telling myself, one day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time. There is work and Pilates and Physiotherapy and some not-so-fun paperwork and I’m on a short family vacation at dad’s because my little brother’s here. I can’t predict how the next two weeks would pan out. I can’t tell. I’m not used to such a schedule. I could do with all the spoons on this planet right now.