Finding joy in the little things.

Finding joy in the little things.

HAPPINESS–the one elusive thing we are in pursuit of, all our lives. Funnily, we look for it in all the wrong places! We look for it in everything we work hard for and expect to work out for us. Little do we realise, that it is not the big things that hold the key to our happiness, but the tiny things in the here and the now that we are so oblivious to–things that are right in front of our eyes, but, which we fail to even acknowledge.

Last year, I wrote a post on 20 things that bring me happiness. Ironically, just after that post, Life took a U-turn and changed my world, completely. It felt like the Universe meant to make sure I practised what I preached:

“Look for happiness in the little things!” it told me.

And, I did!

I am grateful to the Universe for making me aware of the fickleness of Life. I have, since, learned to be truly happy for every thing that happens in Life. And, hence, this post.

Happiness means different things for different people. For me…

HAPPINESS COMES IN TINY PACKETS!

1. My winged babies who fill my world with their shrill whistles and adorable bird-speak, give me happiness.

2. Working from home makes me happy and feel good about myself.

3. Making art, especially Mandala and illustrations makes me happy and relieves my stress and anxiety.

4. Writing–in my diary, or a post/article. Sheer bliss!

5. Connecting with friends and sisters through phone calls is rejuvenating.

6. Soaking in the early morning sunshine in my kitchen window. Those few quiet moments of feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, the gentle caress of the cool, morning breeze, feeling one with the Universe, makes me feel blessed!

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Feeling the warmth of the early morning sun.

7. My workout sessions in the mornings and my walks in the evenings–without any company! How I love those silent moments, when all I hear is my breathing and my heartbeat.

8. Dancing to the tune of songs that lift my spirits and leave me feeling energised.

9. Humming a song, with Cookie on my shoulder, humming along in her own parrot-y way…is something I will cherish all my life!

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Cookie rules my world!

10. Realising how possessive Cookie is about me–I just can’t get over this one!

11. Realising how emotionally independent I have become in the past year, makes me feel empowered and liberated.

12. Counting my blessings and appreciating every little thing that worked out for me, and every little thing that did not. There are reasons why the things you wish for, don’t come your way. Be grateful for all your dreams that did not come true. There are better dreams waiting to become a reality!

13. Noticing the improvement in my overall health since I began working on myself–mentally, physically and emotionally. I realise every day how awesome I am!!!

14. Every little victory that comes my way–makes me understand what it is that I am doing right.

15. Watching my friends happy in their world, makes me truly happy.

16. Being showered with love and warmth by an aged neighbour–the way she hugs me, makes me feel like I am with mom (coincidently, her daughter’s name is Shilpa, too!)

17. The canine babies in my neighbourhood, when they leap at me in joy and go crazy demanding my attention, makes me feel special.

18. Hearing my babies learning to speak the words I teach them is a wonderful feeling (although, each time I try to record their chatter, they clam up!).

19. Solving puzzles at bedtime gives me happiness (much to hubby’s amusement!).

20. And, finally, connecting with you, dear readers, gives me unlimited joy! So, thank you for visiting me, here.

I keep counting all the little things that fill my world with happiness–some, I note down in my diary, and others, I store away in the ‘Happiness’ file, in my memory. And, each time I do so, I send a ‘Thank you’ to the Universe, which is doing its job brilliantly!

What are the little things that bring you joy? Do share with me, or in your blogs. I would love to know.

Love,

SHILPA…

Where do you look for happiness?

 

Where do you like to read?

Where do you like to read?

February is the Library Lover’s Month. I came across this information while surfing the net and felt that, actually, for a book lover, every month could be the Library Lovers’ Month, right? For so many of us bookworms, the library and the book shop are the most favourite places in the world!

I remember my college library, with its rows and rows of book stands, the peace and quiet of the place as everyone around busied themselves with a book. I wished I could spend my time at the library instead of the classroom, listening to those unexciting lectures. I would have learned a lot more at the library, no? 😜

And, entering a book shop makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland, with a hundred treasures waiting to be discovered. Picking up a book from the neatly arranged shelves, staring at its colourful cover, turning its crisp pages and taking in a lungful of their freshness and wondering what story they hold within them–how I wish I could live in that palace of books forever!

Anyway, coming back to the topic, I came across a post on Lydia Schoch’s blog about ‘What is the Perfect Reading Spot?” last year, and found it to be an interesting topic to write about. For, there are days when you want to give your mind a break from doing any research for your niche topic, and write something delightful and entertaining, instead.

So, as I asked, where do you like to read?
What’s your favourite reading spot?

For me, when I was a kid, it was a Gulmohar tree in my garden. I would climb on it and settle on one of its branches to enjoy a book during my summer vacations. It wasn’t a very tall tree, but its branches were pretty sturdy and held me perfectly well. The leaves would shade me from the sun and the breeze would sway the tree gently, making me feel overwhelmed by the experience.

My room was my other favourite reading spot and I would lose myself in the pages of one of my books and forget the world. Mom would keep calling out my name, asking me to come down for meals, or to help out with some chore. I would plead with her to give me “just five minutes more“, but, those five minutes would never end!

Now, I enjoy reading in the balcony of my house, sometimes. It faces an endless stretch of mangroves and is a very peaceful spot. So, in the evening, before going for my walk, I slip out there with my book and make myself comfortable on a low wooden stool and get busy reading.

I also like reading by the dining table that faces a big window and the mangrove stretch outside. Sitting on a chair, with my legs stretched out on another chair facing me, I sit for hours with my head buried in a book. My winged babies climb onto my shoulders to take a peep at what it is that has all my attention. They even try pecking at it out of jealousy!

Earlier, I used to read in bed. But, last year, after I began experiencing an unbearable backache, my doctor advised me to refrain from doing so. “Sit in a straight-backed chair to read; do not slouch, and DO NOT read in bed!” he said. So, I gave up that habit. On days when I feel like reading before sleeping, I do read in bed, but with a couple of pillows supporting my back. And, yes, I sit erect. No lying in bed to read!

Actually, if I have a book, I could read anywhere..even in a crowded mall, where hubby is busy window-shopping or looking at the cars on display at a car showroom. He is an auto buff and I am not. So, I prefer sitting with my book than torture my feet, standing and staring at those gleaming machines.

Come to think about it, my perfect reading spot would be at the beach. Just imagine….the wind, the surf, the soft, grainy sand, the sound of the waves, and I, with my book…and not a soul on the beach…just like in the image below.

Ah, bliss!

Hmmm….so, that’s it about me. What about you? What is your favourite reading spot?

Love,

SHILPA…

Celebrating the Library Lover's Month!

Fighting superstition. #WATWB

Fighting superstition. #WATWB

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

India is a country where, even today, in the age of the Internet, superstitions rule (and ruin) the lives of many people. There are activists and organisations trying to get people to change their beliefs, but, it is an uphill task as these superstitious beliefs are so deeply ingrained in their minds that it takes years to bring some change.

One such organisation is the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANIS) which was founded by Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. Sadly, this fearless activist, who toiled tirelessly to change people’s mind through a scientific approach, was gunned down by those who opposed him. He passed away on August 20th, 2013. However, one of his many admirers and followers, Nandini Jadhav, the Pune district president of the organisation launched a campaign to help women get rid of their matted hair.

People believe that cutting of the hair would invite the wrath of the Gods, and so, for years together, refuse to touch their hair, comb it or even cut it. This leads to a number of health and social problems that they suffer from.

There are some of those, who secretly desire to get rid of their matted hair, but face opposition from their family members for fear of a curse.

But, Nandini Jadhav, despite facing stiff opposition and threats to her life, launched this campaign to help women chop off their matted hair and live a better, healthier and happier life.

Do read the story of this brave woman here.

We need more such fearless Nandinis, who come forward to fight this evil called superstition and free the society from such regressive practices. It’s the people, who usually belong to the lower strata of the society who fall prey to such superstition and suffer for their entire lives, waiting, in vain, for the miracles promised to them by their “Guru”.

We Are The World Blogfest

This post has been written for ‘We Are The World Blogfest’, an initiative to share real-life stories from the world over that speak about heroes who go against all odds to help those in need and prove it to us that the world is not such a bad place.

Do post any such stories you might come across on your blog and share them widely on social media. We all know we could do with some positivity in a world that can often get dark and frightening.

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

 

So, finally 2019 is here–sparkling and glittering with its newness, infusing us with hope and vigour to make it a success story. I am sure most of us have decided on some new resolutions and promised to stick to those and fulfil them by the end of the year. Right?

But, as we all are so aware, all those grand resolutions are going to fizzle out by the end of the second week of January, itself! Or, may be by the end of January. And, we will find ourselves back where we started…wondering why we failed to stick to our plans and questioning our tenacity. By February, we will vow to stick to our resolutions the next year, come what may!

But, do you think we will succeed in 2020, either? I bet not.

Why do you think this happens? Why do our grand plans fizzle out?

I think, it’s because we make resolutions that are too ambitious and grand to handle. Seldom do we assess ourselves, our capabilities and our limits before making those resolutions.

Someone, who might wish to reduce weight, might decide to stay off sweets, altogether; enrol at a gym and workout like crazy; follow a diet to get the figure they so wish.

Someone might decide to work towards that promotion they so seek and slog night and day.

And, someone else might decide to live a more fulfilling life where they spend more time with their families and discover themselves, follow their passions, because, well… YOLO! I mean, You Only Live Once! ( I was so unaware of the meaning of YOLO till sometime back!).

But, is it that easy?

Being strict with your diet, hitting the gym regularly….can all get frustrating after a while because you never know when Life might test your commitment. All of our best laid plans could fly right out the window!

Or, in our quest to reach ahead in the “race”, we would neglect our health, our sleep and our family and if things don’t go as we expect–which is what usually happens– we could very well end up depressed.

And, people who wish to live a more fulfilling life with their families and all, can definitely achieve it, provided they place their smartphones and other gadgets under lock and key once they are home. But, do you think you can resist the temptation of checking the notifications on the many social media platforms?

You might do it for a day or two, but then will just give in to the urge to grab that phone and forget all about discovering yourself.

So, all the enthusiasm with which we begin the new year starts to wane and our singleminded devotion towards fulfilling our resolutions begins to peter out. We do make a few feeble attempts at getting our mojo back, but in vain. And, soon, we fall into the rut we all were so used to earlier. Life takes over along with the uncertainties She brings our way and we realise we will never be able to win over Life and Her big plans!

WHAT WE NEED TO DO INSTEAD

This year, I decided to make a few goals to follow; goals that I haven’t labelled as “resolutions”; goals which would be doable and easy on me and my mind. After all that happened in my Life since 2017, all I need today is peace of mind. That’s all. I am not at all trying to be overly ambitious, or enthusiastic, or anything. All I am looking for is the elusive peace, and how to make it a part of my life, and thus these goals.

So, I jotted down a few things that I needed to make a part of my everyday life. Little things, really, like…

Simple, doable things that are sure to make me a stronger person, calm me during the tiresome, stressful moments and yes, build a solid support system that I so need.

Of course, it is not easy, for instance, to accept Life as it is, or believe in myself when things aren’t going my way. I am human, after all. But, being grateful for whatever I have is bound to change that and give me a fresh new perspective about my Life.

So, instead of coming up with resolutions we will never stick to, why not make smaller goals to work on on an everyday basis; goals that are easier to manage and do not burden us with expectations.

Here’s what you could do if you wish to fulfil your new year resolutions…

8 WAYS TO STICK TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS:

1. Take baby steps…make smaller goals that don’t tax your mind if you miss out once in a while. Remember, it’s okay to slip off the track once in a while.

2. Don’t be too strict with yourself as far as meeting your goals is concerned. I mean, suppose you decide to stay off sweets, then take it a day at a time and keep aside a day when you can cheat on your plan. Have a chocolate, or your favourite dessert–for the sake of your taste buds–and, then workout a bit extra the following day. But, then again, don’t overdo it. Bottom line is, care for your body, be considerate towards its limits.

3. If you wish to cut down on your smartphone use, set an alarm for 9 pm when you will switch off the WIFI and put the phone away. Do not switch it on as soon as you wake up. And, once you do switch on, time yourself. No more than 10 minutes to check whatever you wish to and as soon as your 10 minutes are up, switch it off again. Stay away from it for at least a couple of hours between every 10 minutes phone break you take.

4. If you have decided to exercise/workout everyday, do it in the morning beginning with just 15 minutes. After a week, increase it by 10 minutes. 25 – 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough. And, take a break on Sundays. Your body requires the rest.

5. Prepare a journal in which you note down your goals and how you manage to achieve them everyday. Be true to yourself. No cheating!

6. At the end of a week/ fortnight, if you find that you have been pretty consistent with working on your goals, reward yourself.

7. Remember to take life ONE DAY AT A TIME–this includes working on your goals, too!

8. And, finally, remember that you are NOT competing with anyone except yourself–your old self. So, don’t be a tyrant and drive yourself crazy over your goals. It will affect your mental health. And, if your mental health suffers, believe me, there’s no point working on any other aspect of your life.

So, what goals have you made for the new year? If you haven’t yet, I would suggest you give it a good thought, take everything into consideration and then decide what it is that you need to change. I am sure you will have a higher chance at succeeding at it!

Wish you the very best!

May you all have a happy, healthy and a peaceful New Year!

God bless!

Take care, coz I care…

Love,

SHILPA…

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Why GOALS work better than RESOLUTIONS.

 

 

 

A new word to guide me through the new year.

A new word to guide me through the new year.

2018 was an eventful year for me.

Not a day went by without teaching me something–a lesson for life, a survival trick, a secret to living Life! And, for all that happened–bad, worse, worst–I am grateful for it all.

That’s not to say that good things didn’t take place. They did. Loads of good happened, too, for which I am grateful. But, it’s the difficult times that I am thankful for. It’s always the tough times, the troubles, the stressors that make us stronger, wiser, saner.

I read somewhere that a year can do a lot to a person. Couldn’t agree more!

2018 changed me completely. The person I was, changed to the person I am today–a person I am proud of and look up to. I really don’t mean to brag about myself, but today, when I look back at who I was, I feel embarrassed…I cringe when I see who I was back then. So, am glad things happened the way they did this year!

Last year, I had chosen the words, HOPE and FAITH to guide me in 2018. They did.

It was hope that kept me from losing patience, and faith that led me by my hand as I strove to face every odd that came my way. And, no, hubby’s illness was not the only thing that went horribly wrong this year. But, everything else that did go wrong is something that will always always stay with me, reminding me about the ephemeral nature of Life; that Life is not to be taken seriously, for it’s never constant.

The few lessons I learned in 2018 are:

NOTHING IS PERMANENT

EXPECTATIONS BREAK YOUR HEART, SO NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING FROM ANYONE, LEAST OF ALL FROM LIFE.

And,

LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

 

This moment that I am alive is the only moment I have, so it only makes sense to make the most of it.

Live in the here and the now.

Of course, I have made a couple of plans for the next year, but being flexible as far as seeing those plans come to fruition is what I have decided. I don’t know if I will be able to fulfil all those plans, but I would like to do my best today and let tomorrow take care of itself!

So, my word for this year is:

CARPE DIEM

Seize the day!

Do my best, today.

Be my best, today.

Be as happy and grateful as I can be, today.

( Erm, is there a word for ‘Seize the moment’? I didn’t find any!)

That’s all. I just don’t wish to think about what the future holds for me. I would just like to focus on this moment, on today...this day…and be happy that I am alive; with everything I have (as well as all that I don’t).

Isn’t that much easier to do than make big resolutions and then slip off the track when Life drops a bomb on you, as Life is wont to do!? *wink wink*

So, what is your WOTY? Have you thought of any?

Love,

SHILPA…