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.

#inwards #settle #society #selflove #selfcare #love #path #home #friends #family #thankyou #gratitude #valentinesday #celebratelove

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Twenty years

I am filled with so much love and gratitude for this place, it’s hard to even express. And despite the fact that the positive emotions I feel for this place almost equal the negative memories I am still working on letting go, my heart aches knowing that I am leaving a place I called home for the last twenty years.

I made mistakes here.

I experienced pain and suffering here. I was young and naive.

I made friends here. Real friends I’m so grateful to have come across.

I fell in love here.

I spent sleepless nights here. Crying, laughing, secretly believing in fairytales.

I made promises here.

I saw dreams here.

I set goals and achieved them here.

I was betrayed here. By near and dear ones, and by strangers.

I learned to protect myself here.

I was diagnosed here.

I fell apart here. Completely shattered into tiny pieces, I couldn’t myself anymore anymore.

I put back myself back together here.

I faced my very own demons, alone, right here.

I learned to trust again here. Myself and people.

I found my medical team here. My support system, without whom I couldn’t have come this far.

I dared to recreate dreams here.

I learned the art of letting go, here.

I finally found my true voice here.

I learned to speak my truth here and encouraged others to do the same.

I learned to be of support and service to the world, right here too.

I came across my tribe, people like me, right here.

I felt safe here.

This is where I wilted and learned to bloom again. This is where I learned to own my story, fully and wholly.

While I can’t lie that recreating a similar lifestyle and routine else where is going to take time and more patience than ever before, I do genuinely believe that it’s not entirely impossible. Somewhere I trust that the process of wilting and blooming over and over again has equipped me with the ability to deal with uncertainties of all kinds and be okay with not knowing.

You know that feeling when you look back and think perhaps everything happened to prepare you for something that is yet to happen? That’s kind of how I feel right now. As if I have levelled up in this game called life and now need to put my skills and tools to use in order to handle the next level; the next phase. There’s a lot I still don’t know but perhaps I am able to find peace in knowing that I have made it through incredibly painful times before and probably can do so in the future too.

Singapore, thank you for all the blessings and lessons.

#2013

It’s been four years since this photo and yet I get goosebumps just thinking about where I was at, both physically and mentally.

I was falling #sick with a cold or a stomach flu every other week, reacting to medicines which were supposed to help, afraid to be alone in my own bedroom, finding it hard to eat, needing help to wash my hair and sometimes even to brush my teeth, hating on my body for being fragile and weak, struggling to protect myself from people, fighting with school because they had no policies in place for people with medical issues, crying myself to bed every night, falling asleep with a strange emptiness in my #heart, waking up to feeling suffocated, hating on my creativity because I couldn’t pursue it the way I wanted to, feeling like every day was an absolute drag… I was claustrophobic in my own #body and #mind.

I wonder if this photo says any of that.

2013 was the year I knew I was done with everyone and everything around, including myself. Something needed to shift and I didn’t know what or how. All I knew was that life couldn’t possibly feel the way it did. Despite feeling like a hostage to my own #existence, there was a glimmer of #hope, a constant knowing that nothing was going to change until I decided to step up to where #life was heading. Stepping up at that point meant pausing and for once allowing myself to let it all sink in. Nothing was going to be anything like I had once imagined and I had to come to terms with that. I couldn’t distract or push myself anymore and I felt horrible. Who thinks about pausing/stopping at 23, right?

The thing is, some of us reach a point in our lives when we are faced with circumstances so real we simply can’t look away from them. Greater things are at play and our personal plans and effort make no sense. Life keeps finding ways to force us to look at what’s being presented and leaves us with two choices – to keep #suffering by avoiding pain OR to acknowledge pain and learn to #rise from there. #trust #acceptance #health #mentalhealth #pause #rest #recover

Looking back, I suppose there were things I had in 2013 which lead me to be where I’m at today. The daily struggle and fight have definitely added to all that I have become as a person and in some ways I’m grateful for it (not for the fight but for what came out of it). Of course, gratitude seemed like the last thing on my mind at that point in time because I was in this terribly dark space. Practicing and expressing gratitude, learning to accept whole and broken parts of me and making choices that honour my health (both mental + physical) has taken time and conscious work. I still have rough days but I’ve made peace with the fact that harder days are part and parcel of learning to live with a chronic illness. Today, I know better than ever before that while life is capable of giving you 5 reasons to fear, hate, complain, it will give you at least three reasons to trust, love and grow.

Favourite spot

Thank you, for being that one safe and healing space where I could just be without having to worry about what I am “supposed” to be or need to be.

Thank you for reminding me of the power in being soft and letting things unfold at their own pace. You’ve taught me how to find beauty and to come back home to myself whenever I had no where else to go. You’ve been wonderful.

#marathimuli

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?

Hello there spoonies and other friends!

So while I was off social media, I took some time for myself and made sure I brought my interaction with people to a bare minimum. I met just a few people apart from my pilates instructor, physiotherapist, ayurveda therapist and naturopath but I made sure to look at my phone and laptop less. In fact, I wrote more in my journal and typed less on my phone.

Some of the experiences I had just over this week made me think through a lot about how far I’ve come and how far I’m yet to go. When you really make an effort to disconnect with the noise around you and connect with what is already within, you finally hear the noise within you loud and clear. And if you dig deep enough, and have the courage to dig further, you find that there’s so much wisdom residing in there that you barely ever need to seek answers from outside. A lot of what we need to know, we already do.

So, obviously, I made a list of ten things that came up for me in the course of this one week. I took some time to journal and think through each point even more and I figured I have so much to share and so much to learn at the same time. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to share this list with everyone but I’ve made up my mind to do it anyway. Who knows, it might resonate with someone out there.

1. Listen more; to your inner wisdom and to those who need to be heard
2. Express more gratitude
3. Have the courage to ASK for your needs to be met
4. Be brave and say ‘NO’ if/when necessary
5. Preserve your energy; it’s everything
6. Reframe your past, refocus on your present and reimagine your future
7. Return to the thoughts of peace, love, health and success
8. Validate yourself for every progress you’ve made
9. Make your own decisions. You know what is best for you.
10. Trust that you will always be supported if you’re willing to jump off the cliff. Keep doing your best and being your best even if you’re at your weakest.

The most important thing I realized was that I NEEDED this time. Unless I make a conscious effort to create a space for myself, I will always be a part of something I don’t need to be a part of. Love, Manasi ❤️ #chronicillness #selfcare