Live in the moment.

Live in the moment.


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

December is usually a month of reflections. Looking back to the year that was; pondering what went wrong and what we learned from it all. December is also a month for planning for the new year that will soon make an entry; making resolutions; charting the route to be taken to achieve goals and fulfil every wish to make the next year a happy one.

For me, personally, it’s a month of reflections; remembering in detail all that went wrong; all that changed me completely as a person; and all that I will not be doing in the new year. Yes, not doing, as in planning for the new year, making personal and career goals, resolving to do or undo certain things.

All that happened this year taught me one thing, which has now become my motto:

LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

I had plans galore last year, which all crumbled to dust this year and left me broken hearted. Broken hearted and wise. It taught me to live life in the moment–the present. And, that all that we plan need not come to fruition.

I will share with you something that strengthened my belief in living in the moment. Nothing serious, but something really minuscule, and yet, significant.

Yesterday, we–hubby and I–completed 21 years of married life. Family and friends showered us with anniversary wishes; some asked what plans I had for the day; how had we decided on celebrating? And, my only reply was that I had not made a single plan. At the risk of sounding unromantic, it’s just another day, and now it’s 21 long years! But, on a serious note, I don’t make plans because anything could happen and ruin those plans and leave me with a heartache and a bad mood.

And, you know what happened in the evening? Hubby’s car broke down, so it had to be towed to the service centre where it will stay for a few days; hubby wasn’t hungry as he had had a late lunch, and also, he had some work to tend to. So, that left me all alone on my wedding anniversary.

Did I feel bad? Nope. Did I wallow in self-pity? No way! Instead, I went and treated myself to my favourite pani puri at a nearby chaat centre, fed biscuits to my 12 canine friends, who were delighted to meet me, came back home happy and satiated, completed a pending article and then enjoyed a dinner with my feathered babies. And, to be frank, it felt awesome!

Being alone on my wedding anniversary did not dampen my spirits a bit, and that’s because I have conditioned myself to enjoy my own company–in short, be emotionally independent. Does that sound a tad snobbish? I hope not.

So, to sum it up, I was glad I hadn’t made any plans and enjoyed the moment, as it came.

And, that is going to be my goal for the future. To live in the moment; to live life as it comes and to learn from all that it brings for me.

Do you remember Katrina Kaif’s dialogue in the very famous movie, ‘ZIndagi na milegi dobara’? When asked what plans she had for her future, she said she hadn’t decided upon anything, instead wished for Life to surprise her at every turn; looked forward to new adventures and meeting new people and making new friends.

Isn’t that the perfect way to live? The ideal way to live?

Let Life bring for you what She has decided for you. You are sure to learn from the tough times and enjoy the beautiful ones. Like I have been doing since some time now.

I learned from all that went wrong.

Met new people–blogger friends whom I had met in the virtual world only–and loved every moment I spent with them.

Basked in the surprise Life brought my way by getting my entry shortlisted from amongst 1600 plus nominations for the Orange Flower Awards.

And, gained a new insight into how She functions! She, as in Life.

So, it is with this newfound knowledge that I wish to step into the new year..in fact, why just the new year, but every moment that comes my way! That’s sure to take a truckload off of the stress that one usually tends to carry on one’s shoulders–anxious about the future–isn’t it?

The future will be what it is destined to be. Why worry, plan, look forward to the moment that hasn’t come yet? Why not live this moment to its fullest, doing our bestest and letting go the fear of the morrow?

What do you think?

Taking your leave with this quote from a really beautiful book my friend, Sanch, gifted me – ‘The art of racing in the rain’. And, it is something that the dog in the story wonders:

“People are always worried about what’s happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future. People are not generally satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have.”

Points to ponder, eh?

Smile, shine and take care…

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

What do you think about my logo?

And, the new look of my blog? 🙂

SHILPA…

 

Live every moment to its fullest. it might very well be your last!

 

 

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

In September, I wrote a post on changing a habit that was taking up a lot of my precious time and energy–usage of the smartphone for nothing but passing time. It was taking a toll on my eye-health apart from wasting my time, which was leaving me irritated with myself.

I did a follow-up post after a month where I wrote about how I had worked on changing the habit and succeeded to quite an extent and benefitted from the experience. Of course, my love affair with the smartphone hasn’t completely ended, which is the reason I am participating in this Challenge along with my blogger friend Ashvini Naik

The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!

As part of this challenge, I will have to follow my own rules about phone use for 7 days. After that, I will have to make a conscious effort to stay true to my rules and make sure it becomes a habit. Thankfully, because of my earlier post, I could make some changes due to which my affair with the gadget isn’t a “torrid” one, anymore. I don’t need it by my side all day or night.

 

5 CHANGES I MADE IN MY SMARTPHONE USAGE:

 

1. I switch off the Wi-Fi of my phone by 9/9:30 pm and switch it on only in the morning, by 9 am, after completing some of my morning chores, my Yoga and breakfast.

2.  I never take the phone to bed with me, the reason being it is dangerous placing your phone on the bed, or under your pillow as you sleep.

3. I keep the phone’s volume to its lowest, and place it on a stool by my bedside in case mom or someone from the family calls up at night.

4. I carry the newspaper to bed, to solve puzzles before I sleep. Actually, it is solving the puzzle that puts me to sleep. Either that, or a book. Reading induces sleep faster.

The blue light that our phones emit keeps our brain awake and alert. And, to fall asleep at night, you need something that will calm the brain, not keep it on high alert! Not just the light, but the action on our screen awakens our brain.

5. During the day, I take frequent breaks from the phone by switching off the Wi-Fi every couple of hours. For example, while writing, reading, helping my nephew with his studies and in the evening, when I step outside for a walk.

 

 

I often see walkers peeping into their phones even during their walk. They hardly pay any attention to the world around or to their breathing! What’s the point of the walk if you can’t leave the virtual world aside for sometime and enjoy nature?

So, these frequent breaks from the phone do me a world of good. The constant pings of the numerous notifications, the constant need to check what’s going on out there, the staring at the images as I scroll aimlessly–the absence of it all gives me immense peace.

There are times, though, especially when hubby is to return home late and I have no book to read or movie to watch and still have to stay awake till he arrives, when I do scroll through the Facebook News feed, or Instagram. But, because it strains my eyes and bores me after a point, I put it away soon.

Now that I have taken up this 7 day challenge, I will get an opportunity, and some motivation, to work harder at keeping the phone away. I know I need to do this– for my eyes and for my peace of mind.

As part of the challenge, I will continue doing what I have been doing these past couple of months and some more, and then do another follow-up post next year on how helpful the detox has been for me. Why don’t you join me, too, dear readers?

If I haven’t been able to convince you to make some changes in your phone habits by all that I shared above, let me highlight the reasons why you need to give yourself a break from your phones at night.

 

5 reasons why you need to put the phone away at night

 

1. Our brain is used to sleeping at night. It needs some rest, too, you know? But the blue light that the our gadgets emit can awaken the brain.

2..Falling asleep after scrolling through can get difficult because not only did the light awaken the brain, but the moving scenery in front of your eyes leaves the brain asking for more such excitement. Have you noticed how you get pulled into the whirlpool once you begin mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed? How the time flies and before you know it, you have been staring at your phone screen for an hour!

3. Due to the above reasons, the brain finds it almost impossible to calm down and fall asleep and you tend to stay awake longer even as the world around dozes peacefully.

4. This sleep deprivation leads to a dull and dazed you who wakes up with a heavy head and an irritable mood.

5. The strain on the eyes caused by all the staring at the blue screen in the darkness shows its effects in the form of dry eyes, blurred vision and a pain around the eyes. To learn how staring at the screen constantly leads to pain, move your eyes in a circular motion and you will know.

 

Our wellbeing is our responsibility. If we don’t understand how our habits affect our health, who will? If we don’t take precautions now, we will be the ones to suffer from the ill-effects at a latter stage, when rectifying the issue might not be possible.

Let’s make a pact to take control of our lives, make changes in our lifestyles and lead healthier lives. After all, this is the only life we have!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Using the smartphones for long, can have an effect on your health.

 

 

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Last month, a dear cousin flew down to India. We have been really close right since our childhood. So, as we caught up over the phone and swapped notes, she asked me how life was. When I told her my daily schedule, she got into the ‘sensible cousin mode’ and gave me a much-needed pep talk.

She knows what an introvert I am, who loves her own company, enjoys staying cooped up in her home and seldom approaches people for a conversation. So, she came up with a brilliant plan to revamp my lifestyle and add a pop of colour to it.

She advised me thus:

Get out of your house on the weekends. Visit a cafe and become a regular at the place. Carry a book, if you feel awkward, initially. Then, mingle with the other patrons, get friendly with the staff, have a few laughs and then come back home, feeling thrilled and upbeat!

My darling cousin has a reason. She feels if I do this one thing, then the anxiety and the gloom that looms large like an apparition and frightens the hell out of me, won’t bother me, ever again. The socialising will act as the best panacea as well as a stress buster!

Since some time now, I have been in the state of mind where I wish to go out, meet and socialise, but the mere thought of actually meeting people and conversing with them gives me the jitters! I am in such a dilemma that I’d rather stay put where I am–at home. I am too self-conscious and, at times, suffer from a low self-esteem. There, I admit it.

Chatting with strangers is not something I can imagine doing. It’s a different matter, altogether, meeting my blogger friends, even if for the first time. We all know our stories, where we come from, our likes, dislikes, pet peeves and passion, so even if we were to meet for the very first time, we would just be picking up from where we left in the virtual world, where we meet oftener.

Indulging in small talk with complete strangers is not my thing! What do I talk about? The weather? Fashion? Kids? Work? What???

So, when I asked my cousin what do I talk about with strangers, she giggled and told me to just talk whatever comes to my mind, but not get into anything serious–like talking about LIFE, for instance. She advised me to, “Keep it simple, silly!” and learn to chill.

Yes, CHILLIN’ is what I am supposed to be doin’ to bring about some vibrancy into my dull and boring life.

That reminds me, dull and boring is what an old friend thinks I am, which, as a matter of fact, is the fact. So, to get rid of this dullness, I need to get out of my comfort zone, which is my home, and learn to mingle.

Phew!

Oh, and, I also need to change my wardrobe, try out something that adds an element of zing to my life and watch myself bloom, all over again! Her words, again.

Now, introverts reading this post will, definitely, wonder how the hell am I going to attempt to do all of the above. I, too, wonder how I will manage it all. I mean, I am 45, and all my life I have been this wallflower who would rather stay on the periphery and watch all the fun than approach strangers and converse with them. Mingle with them.

Ahem…I feel like telling my darling sis, “I don’t mingle, lady..I prefer to stay single!” Hehe..Bad joke, I know, but that’s how I like it.

Oh, how am I supposed to do it, dear cousin? Pray, tell me!!

“Sweetie, you just need to step out of your comfort zone!” is what will be her witty retort!

Wish me luck, people! Will keep you posted!

Tell me, dear reader, have you ever tried stepping out of your comfort zone? Or, are you contemplating doing something like what I have been asked to do? If you have ventured out of your comfort zone, how has the experience been? Do share with me your story; it will be an inspiration for me!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Is it easy to change your old ways? Is it easy to change yourself?

 

 

 

 

Put that phone away!

Put that phone away!


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

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.

Why you need to learn to spend time alone.

Why you need to learn to spend time alone.

I read this quote somewhere that made a lot of sense to me:

“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.

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–full-time, part-time, work-from-home–to 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 have my pets, my blog, my art and books 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, relentlessly, 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..

 

 

If you learn to love your own company, you won't lack anything in life!