Put that phone away!

Put that phone away!


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Last month, I wrote a post on a particular habit that I needed to change. I had promised myself that I would work on it and come back a month later to write about how I had successfully kicked the habit. So, here I am!

I had planned on exercising control over my phone usage and use my time constructively. As I said, habits take a while to change, to become habits. I had given myself a month, and today, I feel so good about myself because, although I haven’t kicked the habit altogether, I have learned to control the urge.

Now, my phone stays away from me in the mornings, till I finish my workout and my chores. I reach for it only after I have had my breakfast. I scroll through the messages and the news feed on Fb and Instagram. But then, I remind myself after about 15 minutes that my time is up. That there is work to be done, articles to be written, so put that thing away!

The Wi-Fi stays on, but the phone stays away. The rest of the day, too, I pick up the phone for a while, but I have observed that after some time, I tire of gazing into the phone and put it away sooner than I used to.

Most evenings, the Wi-Fi is switched off and some days, I just leave it like that. There isn’t much to see in there, anyway, and surely, the world isn’t going to change in the time I stay away from it all! And, if someone does need to get in touch with me, they can call me up. People to whom I matter know how to get in touch with me; they don’t need to reach out through a social media platform.

The peace I experience at such times is unbelievable and inexplicable. It also helps that I have a couple of good books that whisk me away from the madness that is social media. Also, the need to make better use of my time keeps me on my toes all day. My to-do list has quite a many items that need to be ticked off before the end of the day.

it is, indeed, satisfying seeing all those tasks accomplished, and, it is this contentment that propels me to keep working harder and stay away from the “distractions”.

Of course, there are days when nothing around seems to interest me and that is when the phone stays with me for longer. But, the need to keep my promise to myself is stronger than the need to entertain a bored and an idle mind. For such days, I use Netflix and watch a good movie–my TV viewing is 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of time I spend watching the idiot box.

I had ended my post on a positive note, with hope and promise that I would, indeed, work on my habit. Maybe that is the reason I could put my heart into it. The responsibility I have towards myself made me work on it, seriously.

Being responsible for our actions is what makes the difference in our attitude. My father used to say that we need to be true to ourselves and everything will fall into place. Those words echoed in my mind each time I reached for the phone earlier in the past month. As a child, I hardly could fathom the meaning behind those words; it is now, as I work on myself, that I understand what they stand for.

The struggle to stay away from the gadget can’t be called a “struggle” today. In fact, on some days, I consider the phone to be the most uninteresting piece of invention by man and reach for my book!

Just writing these words gives me a feeling of utmost satisfaction. Feels really good to realise I care for myself more than stuff–unnecessary stuff. Glad to tick off another item on my list of ‘Things to do to love yourself’!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

Just so you know, the amount of time you spend looking at your phone today, is half the amount of time you will be spending at your ophthalmologist. Also, you have just this pair of eyes to use in this life time.

SHILPA…

I came across these 10 simple ways to break bad habits. Do try and follow these. I am sure you will find a difference in yourself some day soon.

Easy ways to change old habits.

The festival of Ink drawing.

The festival of Ink drawing.

What began two years ago as an exciting new journey into the world of Ink drawing for Inktober, has turned into the eagerly awaited event for me, as the year begins. Inktober is an Ink Drawing festival started by illustrator, concept artist, and animator, Jake Parker. It is held in the month of October–and thus the moniker, Inktober--and is open to everybody who wishes to indulge the artist in them.

Now, that doesn’t mean it is meant only for the “artists”, because as Liz Gilbert says in her book, ‘Big Magic’, everybody on this planet is an artist, regardless of what you create. For everything we do is art!

As part of this festival, all you need to do is make ink drawings and share them on any social media platform, or even put them up on your refrigerator door! The basic principle of this fest is to enjoy every moment you spend in making the drawings.

For me, personally, it means forgetting the world around me, banishing all the unpleasant thoughts and enjoying some moments of absolute peace; getting carried away making drawings that need my 100% attention. Believe me, the entire experience is therapeutic.

So, about the fest–every day of the month of October, you make an ink drawing and share it with the hashtag #Inktober #Inktober2018.

You may draw what you please. And, if you fail to come up with an idea, or hit an Artist’s Block, then you can refer to the list of prompts that Jake Parker releases sometime in September.

I am sharing the prompt list below and if you think you could do with some art therapy, do join in!

You can make pencil sketches and go over those with an ink pen. Any simple ink pen will work fine. You could also use water colours, or crayons or colour pencils along with the ink pens to unleash the artist within.

Just have fun, people! Do not care about what people might think, or how your art is judged. As long as you enjoy making the drawing, nothing else really matters. It is actually an exercise for the mind to fight all the distractions, focus on something that gives happiness to the soul and provides you with a few moments of relief. That’s all!

So, what do you think? Will you like to join me this month? We all could do with the encouragement. Because I know, as do you, that not every day is the same. There will be days when our creative juices will flow like the Niagara Falls and some days the mind will come to a standstill, and in spite of the prompts, you will not have the faintest idea what you would like to draw! Or, if you would even like to draw anything!

Do let me know if you will participate. I look forward to having you around.

Wishing you all the very best! Just go, have fun!

Love,

SHILPA…

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with Blogchatter.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I opened today’s newspaper to find a headline that almost leapt out at me, as if trying to urge me to write something I had been putting off for a couple days now.

September happens to be the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I had mulled over the idea of writing a post on suicides since the beginning of this month, but kept putting it off. I just couldn’t find the right tone to express my thoughts on the matter. But, today’s news changed it all.

Syed Nasser Hussain, a resident of Deonar, Mumbai, was returning home from work from Vashi. When on the Vashi bridge, he spotted a girl trying to jump off the bridge into the creek below. Syed Hussain got off his scooter, hurried to the girl and pulled her back in the nick of time.

He then spent an hour counselling the girl, asking her what the matter was, why she had decided to take such a drastic step.

Hearing her story about a heartbreak, he then counselled her and took her to her home. On reaching her home, they found the house locked as her parents had gone to a hospital. Taking the keys from her neighbours, Syed left the girl inside, and asking the neighbours to keep an eye on her, left the place.

While driving back, though, he had this strong feeling that he should not have left the girl alone at home in this condition, and so, he turned around and drove back to her house. On reaching, when he tried to open the door, he found it locked from within. With the help of her neighbours, he broke open the door only to find his intuition right.

The girl had hung herself from the ceiling fan.

They untied her off the fan and rushed her to a hospital. Yesterday the doctors informed the newspaper reporter that the girl was out of danger.

The girl’s father thanked Syed Hussain profusely.

Syed Hussain was a stranger to the girl. Yet, when he felt something amiss, he decided to help her. And, in doing so, twice in a night, he had saved a life. A precious life which would have gotten wiped out had Syed not stopped his scooter that night; a death that would have left behind heartbroken parents with nothing but memories of their only child.

In our hectic lives, how often do we stop and pause to think about what someone said or did that felt abnormal; something that seemed to be a silent cry for help, but in not as many words?

Do we even give a moment’s thought about what the person might have implied?

Each of us faces hardships in life. And, let’s not even get started on the kind of hardships that we are subjected to. We fight right till the end, with every ounce of our strength we can muster. Sadly, there are some who are left with no willpower to continue fighting; no support from the world and no desire to even keep running towards the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Some just prefer to end it all rather than keep fighting and keep living a miserable life.

And, with the loneliness and the depression tormenting them night and day, and with no one to offer them the necessary support, they give it all up.

And, end up being just a statistic.

The Suicide Awareness Campaign might not find a better mascot than Syed Hussain, who went out of his way to save the life of a stranger. Not only did he save her once, but heeding his intuition, he reached out to her twice. He counselled her about not giving up because some idiot broke her heart.

To quote Syed Hussain, “I have had long conversations with her dad. She needs to be taken care of. I have told her he must support her to complete her education. She must grow into a confident woman who does not see unfaithfulness of a man as the end of the world.”

How many of us would leave aside our work, our busy schedules, if we were to spot someone trying to end their life? How many of us would even pay attention to what someone says in a moment of despair?

All the person needs is a patient ear; someone who holds their hand and asks what the matter really is. All they need is to talk their heart out to someone who will just hear them out, not judge them, or give unsolicited advice without knowing the entire story. Someone who will read the real meaning behind their sad smiles and their artificial laughter and their overeagerness to appear “normal”, when in reality, they are crumbling from within.

Do we have it in us to be that someone who listens, really listens, and doesn’t let go just because the person in front of us won’t open up about the pain they suffer?

it really takes very little time to help out people in distress. It takes just a few words to heal a sad, broken heart. And, it takes just a few moments to save a life from becoming a statistic.

All you need to do, is reach out.

Love,

SHILPA..

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with Blogchatter.

 

Reach out, before they take the drastic step

 

Can you spend time alone?

Can you spend time alone?

Well, can you? Or, do the walls of your house seem to close in on you, leaving you feeling stifled? Or, do you find it absolutely thrilling being on your own?

If it’s the latter, well, you are, indeed, lucky! You can survive very well on your own. You can take pretty good care of yourself and your emotional needs. In fact, you can consider yourself emotionally independent!

However, if it’s the former, then, you so need to work on yourself, sweetie! Consider this a loner’s verdict, if you may, but, take it from me that it is the number one bitter fact of life that:

Everyone leaves. So, you need to learn to survive alone!

“Of course, our friends will be there with us”, some of you might argue. But, will they, really? They have lives to live, battles to fight, issues to solve. They will have time constraints; some will move to another city; and some others will drift away. Life comes in the way, you see! And, even if your friends do stay, will they be there for you, always? As in, every time you need them? As much as they would want to, they won’t be able to.

So, what will you do in such a scenario?

“Well, our partner will be there for us, and so will our kids!” I can almost hear some of you assert, vociferously. But, do they really stay for you, precisely when you are desperate for someone to just sit by your side and offer their quiet company? They don’t! After a point, they lose patience. What do you do then?

Shall I tell you?

You learn to get used to your own company. It is really not that easy, believe me. But, it isn’t impossible, either. Ahem, all this gyaan comes from experience, by the way. So, I know what I am saying.

So, learn to enjoy your own company.

If you feel suffocated indoors, step outdoors. Go for a walk. Better still, take yourself out on a date! I have done it, and trust me, it was the best date of my life! I dressed up, went to a mall, lazed around in a bookstore, indulged in some window-shopping, had lunch and desserts and simply sat on a bench in the mall, watching life around me. Observing people, wondering about their lives, trying to guess their stories from what I saw. And, after a few hours, when I returned home, I felt refreshed!

My next on the to-do list is to go watch a movie, alone.

And, the next is, to travel alone.

Apart from these activities, you could develop a hobby or, maybe, find a job–something that you had pushed aside all these years. And, whatever it may be, make sure you stay occupied, so much so, that you find not a single moment to wallow in self-pity or pamper your, “I feel so lonely!” mindset.

Just do not encourage these negative feelings, for they ruin your mental space, leaving you completely broken and dejected. And, that is not a very good feeling.

I am just glad I had my pet Chikoo, my blog, my art and books and now I have my winged babies–Cookie-Bholu-Chikki–to keep me occupied in between my busy schedule. I also found myself a job, where I can work from home. And, it feels fantastic! Touchwood.

But, I will be honest. This horrid I-am-lonely-and-miserable feeling does spring upon me, sometimes, catching me unawares. But, I push it out of my mind. It is akin to moving mountains, but, you gotta do what you gotta do, lest you lose your mind! Then, I replace those depressing thoughts with some good thoughts, like, what post to write, what do I do about my artwork, or read a good book, or watch a movie.

It won’t be an easy journey, this dealing with loneliness. But, all it needs is to get pally with yourself. Love yourself, trust in yourself and your judgements and believe that you are no longer scared of being alone. If people do join you, good, and if they don’t, fine, as well!

Work on becoming independent–EMOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT–and you won’t need a person by your side, ever. Okay, sometimes you will, but you will also manage pretty well if you don’t find anyone there.

Wish you the best!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

If you have had the worst experience being alone, if you dread those moments of solitude, talk things out, seek help, but don’t keep to yourself.

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA..

 

 

can you spend

Habits make you.

Habits make you.

It’s the first day of a brand new month, and a good day as any, to begin something new. So, why not do something that I have been trying to work on, but failing successfully for so long now?  My mind was as wide awake last night at 1 am, as it is at 8 am, as I lay in bed, ruminating on the need for something new, something different.

My Geminian nerves get restless if something new and exciting isn’t happening every now and then. I get bored with the little things in life. No, I don’t cast away those boring little things, I just push them to some far corner in the darkest areas of my mind and look for something to replace them with; something that challenges me, makes me work hard and changes me in its own little way.

So, as I lay thinking about this much-needed change I wished to bring, a line from an Instagram post flashed in my mind. A blogger friend, Vasantha Vivek shared it–a digital detox tip:

“Stay away from your mobile before 9 am & after 9 pm everyday.”

 

These words just popped out of nowhere last night and I almost sat up! Now, that is the kind of change I needed! Since the longest time, I have been trying to break this particular habit of mine, but in vain. I would just give up after a week, or so, and then repent. But, what good was all that repentance when I wasn’t doing anything about it?

So, last night, I decided, that, this is it, enough is enough.  This is what’s been bothering me, and I am going to get it out of my system, altogether. What a wonderful idea it felt! And, today being the 1st of a new month, I felt I needed something new to feel good about.  A change–a good change–that would, definitely, help me.

So, beginning today, my phone stays far away from me till 9 am and after 9 pm. I did succeed today–I finished my chores, I began reading a new motivational book in the time I would scroll aimlessly through the news feed on FB and Instagram. And, my eyes felt less tired–no, in fact, they did not feel tired, at all! And, that felt great! Awesome, in fact!

So, thank you, Vasantha, if you are reading this!

Life was really so much more peaceful and less distracting before these damned smart phones invaded our world, isn’t it? And, we, the idiots, just let ourselves get all carried away, and now, look where it’s landed us!

But, as I said, any day is a good day to break an old habit and work on forming a new one. It does need a lot of work, and patience, to keep working on yourself so that that old, annoying habit doesn’t return and ruin things for us.

I plan on working on it, working on myself and coming back a month later to read this post and write a new one about how I kept my word to myself, so, help me God!

They say, it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. I plan on waiting for 31 days to see how well I succeed. I know, I will succeed!  I quit drinking coffee! Yup, it’s been more than a month now, and it feels so good!

So, do visit Metanoia on the 1st of next month to see if I do succeed!

Today, I also begin on the Alexa journey to take my blog,  the love of my life, Metanoia, to another level.  It sure feels good to have not one, but two new things happening on one day! Hmm….change is certainly good! Of course, it isn’t easy getting used to this change, but who said anything about Life is easy!?

Do you wish to join me in bringing about a little change in yourself? Maybe something similar to what I have decided–changing the relationship we have with our stupid phones?  Do let me know and we will work towards it, one day at a time, one step at a time. 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

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Changing old habits, forming new pnes

 

 

 

 

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