How do you define work?

https://themighty.com/2018/02/unable-to-work-because-of-illness/

Every bit of this resonates with me.

It’s a constant struggle for people like me to remember our worth when there is so much stigma around being sick (especially young and sick) and not being able to work.

It often makes me wonder, how do you define work anyway?

Does work = I bring money to the table every single time? does my voluntary work with kids with troubled childhood which doesn’t earn me anything but makes me feel valuable and like I’m making some difference count as work? Does me trying to help an individual who is newly chronically ill/struggling with their health mean anything in the society at all?

What about the times I teach classes hoping they help those who participate — does that count as work even if it’s not always sustainable? What about the job I did as a receptionist at a pilates studio hoping I’d be able to stick with it and then got bedridden — does that count at all? Is that seen?

Does it matter that people like myself at one point had great aspirations and goals too and had to leave those behind, grieve our old selves and learn to accept what we’re presented with? Does anyone ever see the pain and the courage behind having to leave what brings most of us financial stability and freedom in order to prioritise health?

What about the work you put in day in day out to look after a faulty body? Imagine having to look after an extremely mischievous and sick child who doesn’t listen to you for twenty four seven. No break whatsoever. Not even when you sleep.

It’s easy for people to ask, “what do you do?” because it’s the most common way to start a conversation. It’s also very understandable and I have a standard answer ready. But you won’t believe the number of people I’ve come across up till now with the mindset that if you’re not working, traveling and or working out, you’re probably doing nothing. Or not doing enough of something. Or aren’t ambitious enough. Have no goals. Have nothing figured out.

What makes so many people think that those who’re sick are lazy or not ambitious enough? Couldn’t our ambitions and priorities have changed? Can we not bring empathy, compassion and kindness to the table instead of money? Is it not possible for us to do our part in some other way? Can we not be the people you turn to when things aren’t going right? Can we not support the family and household in other ways?

Or how about this: is it not possible that by us doing our self-work and learning to accept and tend to our illness allows us to manage the illness a little better and hence take some load and burden off those who are trying to support us? Isn’t that work too?

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Seek

Throwback to when I could still swim and position my arms a little more comfortably than right now. And now even though I end up walking in the pool or swimming with every move calculated and rehearsed thrice in my mind, I still find some peace being in the water. There’s something absolutely healing about water and I can’t find words to describe it. Leaving behind swimming 15-20 laps a day was hard because swimming was my escape or meditation (and it kept me physically fit enough) I thought, until I couldn’t escape anymore. Until I couldn’t run away from home, from a space I could barely breathe or be alone in, to really listen to my heart beat and know I was still alive. Until  my body forced me to stay in bed and find a way to deal with reality, with love and compassion for myself first.

Again, it doesn’t hurt so much anymore so I can actually share these things with you. In fact, this is so freeing, realising that I’ve learnt to let go of things I tried holding on to for a very long time, almost hoping they’d come back and fit together into this picture-perfect life; things that I thought made me who I was. Perhaps the way it happened wasn’t the best but I’m grateful to have realised very early in my life what truly matters. What I was never wrong about was that I was constantly seeking peace and a reason to be happy and activities like dance and swimming kind of gave me a taste of both.

Today, I am thankful my experiences have taught me that true source of peace and happiness, the kind of peace and happiness that makes you really glow, is within us. I can be in bed and in pain and still be at peace, still be somewhat happy knowing what I  now know for sure. Getting here took equal parts faith (in my body and something bigger) and conscious actions (because even when you think you don’t have control, you still have a choice to remain stuck or take the next best step), and maybe a dash of sparkles. ✨

Alive

🤷🏼‍♀️💃🏼🤦🏼‍♀️

🌸Do what makes your soul smile. If that’s dance and you can’t dance, find a way to feel like you’re dancing. Feeling is everything. Find ways to keep your spirit alive while you have to deal with and work around a not-so-healthy body. It’s hard enough on a daily basis and you’re allowed to find ways to make it a tad bit lighter on yourself, okay? You don’t need anyone’s permission for that. You are doing your best with the cards you’ve been dealt.

I can’t dance/perform like before, I can’t just stand up and let loose and dance freely but I can imagine doing it in my mind. I can imagine dancing, performing and choreographing like before and I can FEEL it as if it’s true. It makes me smile from within. That said, I know my body has its limitations and I know what’s right for my health. I don’t have it in me to be stupid and push my body in ways I tried to back in the past. You see, I might have had to leave dance behind but my love for dance will always stay with me and you know what?…that’s enough for me.

This isn’t some law of attraction discussion and I’m not going to say “imagine and you’ll have it” because if you don’t get it, you’d think you didn’t want it enough or you haven’t tried hard enough. If that were really the case, if only imagining solved all my problems, I’d be doing different things at this point because trust me, I’m bloody good with my imagination. All I’m saying is, be true to who you are and things that keep your fire going. Be a little #crazy in your own special ways. Keep those things alive; things that keep your enthusiasm for life going. Keep working on finding ways, finding solutions. Be open to possibilities while being aware of your #reality. I’m not going to tell you to have high expectations out of yourself when you have REAL LIFE limitations and when you’ve worked so hard to leave your old life behind.

Acknowledge your present with your heart and mind. Please do not work on going back to the life in your past which doesn’t serve you anymore today. Please don’t force yourself to walk backwards and create more suffering. Past is gone for a reason. Walk forward with what you have and what you can do. Be very practical + imaginative where necessary 🌸 #chandralekha #bollywood

07/05/17: Mandala Making Workshop

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Beautiful day. Beautiful space. Beautiful people. Beautiful artwork. Beautiful lessons.

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Here’s me setting up everything, one pen at a time. And check out my wobbly left shoulder holding on to its dear life. 🌷

I had such a wonderful time teaching the Mandala Making Workshop last weekend. Somehow, those two hours made me feel more alive than anything else has in more than half a year now. The most beautiful thing about the experience was the very fact that it brought people from different walks of life together, for one shared purpose: to give a break to their busy minds and let their creativity run wild.

We had a retiree who was looking for ways to keep her mind active, a yoga teacher exploring ways for self-expression, a mandarin language teacher who had forgotten that she can create, a computer engineer who needed her calculating brain to quieten for once… none of them had ANY background in mandalas or pattern-making, hadn’t done much research and yet they were there because it seemed right…I mean, isn’t this just WOW?!

Even though it is not uncommon, I am still so amazed at how the whole process shifted something for some of the participants. For me, being there and seeing that in itself was such a deeply moving experience. To be honest, I’m still letting it all sink in. Everything from the place, to people and to the tea we had seemed right. I don’t think I could  have asked to be anywhere else on that Sunday morning but there, teaching, sharing and learning. I’m fatigued out of my mind and yet so full in my heart. Let’s see how long it takes for me to recover from all of it physically but I know I’ll be okay and I’ll do this again when it’s time. My body needs rest now. Conducting a workshop after half a year of being 90% bedridden is a big step ahead for me. And it didn’t just happen overnight… this big step comprised of many, many small steps over the last so many months and years…

One day at a time

One step at a time.

🌷🌿🙏🏼✨

Dark Chocolate + Coconut Milk Popsicles

85 % Dark Chocolate + Coconut Popsicles. Pure bliss! 💕

I could’ve done with more dark chocolate but you know, I didn’t want to push it. I made sure to stay within the allowed quantities of each ingredient and frankly, these just turned out magical. As usual, my friend couldn’t believe these were SIBO friendly and this time, neither could I.

Here’s what went in them:

6 pieces of dark chocolate + 8 tablespoons of coconut milk + 1 cup of coconut water + 2 tsp pure vanilla essence + 1 tbsp raw clover honey + 3.5 tsp raw Cocoa powder + 2 tsp pure coconut oil. This recipe made 4 popsicles.

Method:

The easiest way of making them would be to blend all the ingredients excluding dark chocolate, pour into your moulds and pop them into the freezer for about 8 -12 hours. Before serving, melt dark chocolate + coconut oil and drizzle over the popsicles. You could also just dip the popsicles into the melted chocolate if you wish.

I made these in three parts because I wanted to add extra dark chocolate pieces inside each popsicle and also have bits of plain coconut cream in every popsicle. So we had the main body, chocolate flavoured coconut cream + parts of honeyed coconut cream + pure dark chocolate pieces and drizzle.

Rice Krispies Savoury Snack 

Took 5 orders (3 Large + 2 Small) for Rice Krispies Snack this week. All done! Feeling rather satisfied and accomplished. I’d be lying if I said I’m not tired but hey… I’m still smiling :) I managed to make two extra packs (small) in today’s batch – one for dad and one for anyone else who wants to get it!