Where do you find happiness? Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Where do you find happiness? Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh.

March 20th is the National Happiness Day.

How are you celebrating it? Do you share your happiness with those around you, because, you know, happiness increases only when we share it with others? And, the kind of lives we live today, each one of us is in need of a spark of joy that will help them go through it all.

Man has been in pursuit of happiness since the time he came into being. Although, back then, he may not have dwelled upon happiness as much as we do today, for life back then was comparatively simpler (or, was it?) and less stressful (??).

But, I am sure man was happier, back then, because each time we visit our past–our childhood–we recollect how less cluttered life was; how less stressful and how less complicated, and agree that, yes, life in the past was so much happier!

Progress and development brought along distractions and distress galore. Today, we may have the world at our fingertips, but happiness is something we fail to find on any app.

We scour places that boast of being the treasure trove of this elusive emotion; we seek it in people, in stuff we buy, and each time, return empty-handed and broken-hearted. Eventually, having tried our luck and failed, miserably, we give up on it all–on ourselves and our happiness, too!

However, Life is one tough cookie, who never gives up on us and makes sure we realise the meaning of true happiness and where we ought to look for it!

It introduces us to adversities, gets us caught in a storm, and almost pushes us over the edge into shark-infested waters, only to pull us back in time and make us appreciate what we have.

An appreciation that teaches us the meaning of HAPPINESS, and where it lies.

Over the years…okay, who am I kidding? Over the last year, I have realised that happiness lies right here, in front of me, and not somewhere else, where I was looking for it.

Happiness lies in my work, my art, the tiny everyday moments that I used to take for granted.

Happiness lies in being in this moment, in living this moment without thinking about what happened, and wondering what might happen.

Happiness lies in savouring the present that I have been gifted by Life; in embracing it with all my heart, and being grateful for it, along with its ugliness and its impermanence.

That, for me, is happiness, and HERE is where I find it!

What does happiness mean to you? And, where do you find it?

Sharing today, three quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh, that will help you find answers to these questions.

Happiness lies in the here and the now!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Where do you look for it?

Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

Theme Reveal. #ATOZChallenge

 

After last year’s A to Z blogging challenge, I remember being in a dilemma. It had been an exciting month of drawing the letters of the alphabet, writing posts and visiting blogs. But, it had also been an exhausting month of writing and reading posts and replying to comments in time!

I had several ideas floating around in my mind about what I could choose for a theme for A to Z 2019, and at the same time, I was wondering if I would participate at all for all the burnout it could cause.

But, here I am!

You can’t keep a writer from writing, can you?

So, last month, while I worked on creating pins for Pinterest, an idea struck me about how I could blog about a topic that was tailor made for my niche. I jotted down a few points as and when I could and came up with:

 

THE A TO Z OF SELF-CARE

 

Self-care usually figures at the bottom of our priority lists. What with our family, job and Life taking centre stage, we hardly find time to indulge in ourselves, take care of ourselves.

I have been a witness to how my mom, my sis-in-law and so many women in my life hardly find time for themselves. And, if they do,  they feel guilty of spending it on themselves.

I understand how difficult it is making time for oneself in a packed schedule. But, it’s a necessity doing something just for oneself, even if for half an hour. It’s the welcome break women need, their mental health needs. And, if one is mentally healthy, one can find peace and happiness in every situation. That’s something I have learned over the past so many years.

Looking after our own well-being isn’t something one does once a month and then forgets about it. It’s something one needs to practice on a daily basis, without any kind of guilt hanging over one’s head.

Hence, this April A to Z blogging challenge, I will be sharing 26 ways to self-care in easy, doable ways, about things that, generally, get sidelined over other more “important” ones.

The posts will be short, quick-reads, with tips that will help you IF you treat them as RULES and promise to abide by.

It might sound like I am giving an ultimatum of sorts to you women out there about how you ought to follow my tips, or else….! But, trust me, girls, if we don’t care for ourselves, no one will. Ever.

For these 26 days, I will be sharing some ‘Points to remember’– a to-do list for us to follow each day. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so, I guess following these tips for the next 26 days will get us into the habit of caring for ourselves.

So, beginning the 1st of April, do visit Metanoia for my tips on self-care and do share with me if you find these helpful. I will be happy for the feedback, dear reader, for it’s you who keeps me going!

 

Much love!

Take care, coz I care,

SHILPA…

 

If you don't take care of yourself, who will?

 

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

Last year was tough, like every other year, but a bit more tougher in every possible way. However, after going through all the lows and the rough terrain, I ended up learning a lot.

I learned about Life, about how helpful those difficult moments had actually been and how I need to be grateful for all that happened. It changed me, my outlook towards Life and my reaction to circumstances good or bad.

Last year taught me to forget about the past and the future and focus ONLY ON THE PRESENT MOMENT–the moment that’s LIFE!

Ergo, my WOTY (Word/Words of the Year):

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

 

Just being physically present in the here and the now makes no sense if you aren’t mentally and emotionally invested in it. To be able to live fully and experience every moment in all its entirety, you need to be living and breathing the moment, focusing on it a 100%.  And, that is what I have been attempting since 2019 began.

I won’t say it’s easy, because it is not. We condition ourselves to forever look back at what happened and dream about what we would like to happen. Rarely do we forget the past tense and the future tense and concentrate on the present continuous. So, yes, it’s tough unlearning all that I was used to and learn something new, after all these years.

But, change, as we know, takes time to develop into a habit. It also takes a lot of hard work, patience and consistency. And, that’s what I have been working at.

There are times when I lose myself in the past, in comparing today with yesterday and how ephemeral Life is. But, after a while, I bring myself back to the present so that I experience well what the moment has brought for me.

HOW LIVING IN THE MOMENT HELPS ME:

Living in the here and the now helps me reduce my anxiety; makes me realise that, what I fear about tomorrow, is just my imagination and how I need to put my imagination to better use than conjuring all sorts of horrid things and ruining the peace I experience in this moment.

Living in the moment helps me focus better on my work–be it writing or art, or helping my nephew with his studies, or even managing my home.

Living in the moment helps me come up with ideas for my blog, topics I can write about or designs/illustrations I can work on.

And, finally, living in the moment helps me enjoy the present that I have, without worrying about the future that’s uncertain and ruing the past that can’t be changed.

It gives me peace of mind and a whole lot of sense about how I need to use my mental capacities for my well-being and my happiness.

How about you? Have you been working on your new year goals? Is 2019 in alignment with your WOTY?

 

Love,

SHILPA…

Is your new year in alignment with your WOTY?

Skin care made easy.

Skin care made easy.

Sundays, for me, are cleaning days. Cleaning, de-cluttering, scrubbing – each of these activities gives me much peace of mind.

Sometimes, I scrub my home, and at other times, when I am in the mood to pamper myself, I scrub myself! I mean, I have a spa day at home, when I experiment with kitchen ingredients to prepare facial and body scrubs–natural beauty products, as opposed to ready-made ones–to rejuvenate my skin and add some cheer to my routine.

The benefits of using natural ingredients are:

They seldom have any side-effects, or leave any rashes on the skin.

They are available at home.

They are cheap compared to the branded ones.

They are skin-friendly. Rarely do we need to do a patch test before using them on our skin.

And, the scrubs need very little time to prepare–just two minutes!

There are a few face and body scrubs I have used since a long time now, and can vouch for their effectiveness.

Sharing today, two such scrubs that you can use as facial as well as a body scrub.

SEMOLINA + YOGHURT:

The grainy texture of semolina gently scrubs away the dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling baby-soft.

Yoghurt, or curd, is a natural moisturiser. The bacteria present in curd is the good bacteria that improves the complexion, softens the skin and is one of the best ingredients to use for dry skin.

I have dry skin, which is getting drier by the day. I stopped using ready-made face washes long back. For, however much they may promise to restore the moisture of your skin, they do have added chemicals that don’t make any difference. So, I use either gram flour (besan) with milk or curd to wash my face everyday.

METHOD:

Mix a teaspoon of semolina (rava) with curd–take as much quantity as you require. to make the paste.

Apply to face and neck and gently scrub in circular motions.

Our facial skin is delicate and doesn’t need too much pressure–the kind they use at a beauty salon.

Scrub for a few minutes and then wash off with cold water.

Pat your skin dry.

And, because you are using curd, you won’t need a moisturiser!

TIPS:

*This scrub can be used all over the body.

*You can use this everyday–either semolina+curd, or gram flour+curd, instead of a face wash.

*Add a pinch of turmeric to the gram flour. It gives a glow to your skin and also cures any nicks and cuts you might get while shaving your hands/legs.

SUGAR + GLYCERINE + LEMON JUICE:

This combination was shared with me by a beautician friend when I asked her for a manicure. She said I really didn’t need to spend any money on it. Instead, mix the ingredients and scrub my hands weekly!

The powdered sugar cleans away the dead cells, leaving the skin feeling smooth.

The lemon juice helps brighten your skin with regular use. And, being antibacterial, it helps fight acne.

Glycerine locks the moisture in your skin and helps keep it hydrated.

METHOD:

Take a teaspoon of powdered sugar, add the juice of half a lemon and add a teaspoon of glycerine to it to make the paste.

Apply it to your face/lips/hands/feet, and scrub gently.

Scrub for a few minutes in circular motions and with a light pressure.

Wash off with cold water.

TIPS:

*Chapped lips, blackheads on the nose, acne…all of these skin problems get solved if you use these scrubs regularly. In fact, you can feel the difference in just one use.

*As much as possible, use cold water to wash your face. Hot water robs the skin off moisture and dries it faster.

*Do not touch your face every now and then. We never remember which surface our hands have touched and might transfer all kinds of germs/dust to our face!

So, that’s all from me today. Do let me know if you have used these scrubs, or use any other scrubs.

Take care of your skin…take care of yourself!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

DIY (1)

 

Empowering young girls for a brighter future. #BalanceforBetter

Empowering young girls for a brighter future. #BalanceforBetter

Every year, on the 8th of March, the world celebrates women on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Women being the backbone of every family and our society, are honoured for their contribution to the society, for their accomplishments–be they in any field–and their grit and determination to make a mark despite every hurdle, every barrier that they come across. It’s a day dedicated to challenging gender bias apart from felicitating women for their achievements.

This year, taking into consideration the skewed ratio of girls to boys in schools, a Mumbai based organisation, ‘Salaam Bombay Foundation‘, has organised a special campaign planned for young girls, to motivate them and empower them to achieve gender equality. And, in doing so, they aim to encourage them to continue their education and aspire for a better and a brighter future.

Children belonging to the underprivileged sections of our society prefer to drop out of schools to help their parents improve their financial condition. Many of them also get entangled in the evil web of drug menace, thereby ruining their entire lives.

Organisations like the Salaam Bombay Foundation help such children by guiding them, helping them return back to schools and continue their education so that they have a better chance at a respectable career and a future they never dreamed of.

The foundation offers girls vocational training in beauty, wellness and bakery so that they become independent and help supplementing their family income.

This year, the NGO has planned on presenting the young girls articles like pressure cookers, baking moulds and other starter kits which will be handed over to them by women entrepreneurs. The motive behind this wonderful gesture is to inspire the young girls to overcome the obstacles they face, and work hard towards achieving not only financial independence, but also improving their morale and self-esteem.

This year, around 1900 girls from Mumbai were imparted training in skills relevant to today’s modern lifestyle. About 493 of these girls have begun working and are helping out their families financially.

Helping mould the children at an impressionable age makes all the difference, not only to their confidence and overall development, but also to their lives. They are offered precious opportunities to educate themselves and enjoy a better standard of living. Through their foundation, the organisation also aims at increasing job opportunities for adolescents belonging to the underprivileged sections of our society.

The campaign theme for this year is, #BalanceforBetter, an initiative for spreading the word about gender balance around the world. The event will be held on the 8th of March at Worli Sea Face Municipal School, Mumbai, between 10 to 11 am.

If you happen to be in the vicinity, do attend the event and encourage the young girls. It’s all they need to work harder at fulfilling their dreams and living a better life.

 

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!

Education and women empowerment