Self help

Becoming receptive

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I had read “The Secret” long back in 2008 after it was suggested to me by my class teacher. I read the book randomly without understanding a word in it. However, my sister was very intrigued by the book and spent days and weeks on the internet to find out all the related concepts discussed in the book. It was the first time in my life that I came across the concept of “Law of Attraction” and absolutely rubbished the claim. The book literally said that “Treat the Universe like a genie, ask your wishes, truly believe that you will receive it, act has if you have already received it and voila, your wishes will come true!” How was I supposed to believe in something as vague as that? Also my life was pretty uncomplicated during those days, I was always full of hope and positivity and truly believed that I had control over my life and future.

As I grew up and started experiencing failures and setbacks in life, I realized that life wasn’t as straight forward as I thought. We don’t get everything we dream of, things don’t always work out in our favor, sometimes we get rejections even after trying our best and many a times we keep waiting for better days to come. I turned to “The Secret” again during my C.A. final exam days in the year 2012, when I was in stress 24*7 and it helped me immensely during that time. It helped restore my faith and hope in the Universe, it made me forget about my negative feelings and focus on the bright side of every situation.

It’s been more than 9 years to the last time I believed in the power of “The Law of Attraction“. I let life take control of my destiny and stopped believing that I too have the power to rewrite my future. I know it might sound way too nonsensical to many of you at the moment but the only reason I am trying to get back to believing in the power of the Universe is because it had helped me immensely in the past.

Lately I have noticed few instances in my life where I got a glimpse of few things I have desired since long, only to be taken back from me. This applies to my job search and a fitness watch that has been on my wish list since forever. It felt like my prayers were answered finally by handing me these desires only to be snatched away from me at the last moment. As soon as I realize that there’s even a slightest chance for my life to change, I start overthinking all of my life’s decisions and start questioning if I really need those things in my life. I have never felt this confused ever in my life before. My thoughts aren’t clear, I don’t know what I truly want and any change in my life is only triggering a sense of fear instead of excitement or wonder. This should certainly not be the case.

While researching about this phenomena, I stumbled upon an amazing article by Rose Stein (https://thoughtcatalog.com/rose-stein/2016/04/this-is-how-you-should-open-yourself-up-to-the-universe/). Do give it a read, it is precise and just what a confused soul is seeking. For people who feel confused and stuck in life, she has suggested 5 guiding ideals that’ll help clear our thought process and make us receptive to the Universe and it’s infinite possibilities.

  • Trust
  • Openness
  • Gratitude
  • Acceptance
  • Intention

I really wish to get more clarity in my life and this article gives me hope. I have decided to delve deep into the practice of gratitude journaling, setting a powerful intention, deeply believing in the power of the Universe, opening myself up to the abundance and most importantly accepting my current situation instead of running away from it.

I choose to be receptive and will work hard to clear the unnecessary blocks in my mind.

Motivation

Wish I knew this earlier

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

Roy T. Bennett

Although I haven’t ran the whole course of my life yet, there are some lessons I learnt pretty late. When we are young, we are filled with confidence and optimism about the future and believe that we can move past any challenges in life. However, we end up giving up the reins of our life to fate during the later stages in life. As we grow older, we realise that we could have channelised that high amount of confidence and optimism into something productive and fruitful that would help us be more in control of our life.

These are some lessons I’ve come accross either through internet or bitter experiences or analysing the life led by people around me. Although I wish I knew this earlier, I’m really glad that I’m aware of it now and have worked on it to improve the overall quality of my life.

  • Join a sport or participate in that extra curricular event :- I was a big time nerd and truly believed studies are the only thing that I should be doing as a student. I was horribly wrong. I realised the importance of fitness and communication much later in life. Learning a sport helps not just in developing strength and stamina but also becoming more disciplined, learning from our failures and facing challenges headstrong. We live in a very sheltered environment as far as school and college is concerned and have people around to help with our requirements. Once we are thrown into the real world, every new situation seems life threatening and we fail to blend in with the crowd. Learn to make new friends, talk to more people, learn about their experiences, participate in events that force you out of your comfort zone. That’s how you realise that every single person on this planet is dealing with their fear and insecurties and you learn to feel less intimidated by people, especially strangers.
  • Be financially independent : It’s very important to chase our dreams and passion and figure out the purpose of our existence. However, we also need to find a way to be financially independent along the process. Unless we have unlimited financial resources left to us by our ancestors, everyone needs to work for their survival in this world. Make sure you incorporate the golden habit of saving early on in your life, learn about financial planning, take advise from experts to grow your corpus, make financially sound decisons when it comes to material purchases, know your long and short term financial goals. Once you feel financially sound, you can take all the big decisions in life with more confidence.
  • Make meditation a part of daily routine : We all know the wonderful benefits of meditation however it can take a painfully long time for us to visibly see the changes in our life. Till that time, we are required to meditate cosistently without expecting any instant gratification. And that my friend, is an extremely difficult task. It’s better to think of it as a part of daily routine that we need to follow without fail like brushing our teeth or taking a bath. Yes, meditation is undoubtedly the best tool available within our control which can help in maintaining a sound mental health. And making it a daily routine is the best way to reap it’s rich rewards later on in life.
  • Everyday is equally important : Most of the days in my life are a waitlist for the special ones/the D days/an important day to look forward to. We feel happy on these special days and dread to get back to the “normal routine” to be followed on the other days. If we can learn to tweak this mindset, there will be a visible change in our happiness levels. The best way to do this is by maintaining a daily journal. It’s just a 5 minute daily practice that requires you to revisit your day and write down whatever made an impact on you that day. This small practice can help you be more grateful and pull your attention back to the present moment. Document your day, focus on making daily progress, make memories, click pictures, life certainly isn’t about those few special days, everday is equally special.

And that’s all I’ve learned and try to implement in my day to day life to feel at peace and more happy in general. Hope it helps you too!

Challenge

Monthly recap : April 2021

Day 30/30

Aah, it’s the end of April and with it ends my least productive month. I haven’t even reached close to completing any of my goals for this month and that’s OKAY. This month has been tumultuous with the second wave of covid hitting India, constant rise in covid cases, my closed ones getting infected and hospitalized thus causing us trying to battle anxiety and fear every single day. It has been a hell of a month. And I’m glad it’s over.

Although it shouldn’t be the case but I feel motivated by the start of a new month. It feels fresh with new possibilities and hope. A fresh new start to my goals, it’s like hitting the reset button and starting afresh. And I need this refresh more than ever this month.

I’ve planned a lot of things for May in my head. Will write it down in my journal tonight. But I’ll refrain from making huge commitments here. I really want to stick by all my plans this month. The most important aspect surrounding all of my goals for May is developing mental strength and inner happiness. What I’ll be doing differently to make sure I stick to my plans is to track my time (every tiny detail for at least a month) so that I’m aware of how well (read horribly) I use it. I’m pretty excited for May.

Mental health

  • Meditated for 16/30 days. No excuses, no genuine reasons. I was lazy on some days, anxious on others but in general not disciplined enough to follow my routine
  • Journaled/documented my day for days. Nil, absolutely none!
  • Practiced gratitude journaling for 0 days. No where to hide!

Personal Growth

This section is for a new skill or talent that I’ve acquired in this month, tried a new activity or thing that has pushed me out of my comfort zone.

  • I gave a job interview that was pretty tough. I’m glad I ventured out of my comfort zone and faced my fear. It was a good experience!

Workouts

  • 1 long run in this month. 13 kms on my birthday
  • HIIT workouts twice a week during the weekdays (ranging from 20 to 30 mins). Longest workout streak of 5 days last week.

Education

  • Zero progress with CFA level 1 curriculum.
  • Zero online courses completed in March

Entertainment

  • Completed reading 0 books 
  • Watched 2 amazing movies this month that I couldn’t stop raving about. Bollywood movies Paglait and Ludo are an absolute must watch.

May, let’s get it!!!!

Challenge

Thankful, Grateful

Day 29/30

And it’s almost time to end the April writing challenge. I have one more day to go but that’s fixed for my monthly recap so this is final write up. April is my most favorite month of the year as it’s my birth month. I started off 2021 with immense positivity and hope and promised to carry it throughout the year. This month really tested my patience and anxiety levels. I’m trying to fight it with whatever means I can. This month has been my least productive month of all. You might think of me as someone who obsesses over productivity and progress all the time. I don’t know why I’m wired this way, being productive gives a huge boost to my energy levels and instantly makes me happy.

I’ve written for 29 days in row and am really grateful for all the experiences, thoughts, emotions I had while writing my daily posts throughout this month. It has been a long month and I have spent most time of this month slacking. I’d still not bash myself for it. It’s been a tough month mentally and I’m taking my own sweet time to come to terms with it. I do want to get past this slump soon and get back on track. Because having a powerful routine and following it to the tee truly makes me happy. That’s the fact of my life and I need to embrace it.

Thankful for all my blogger friends who took time out to read and comment on my posts. It means a LOT. It encouraged me to post on days when I absolutely didn’t want to. You helped me keep going and now I have a month long blogging streak to my credit. This feels incredible.

One day left in April that I need to utilize well to prepare for a new month and all my goals attached to it. Let’s make the best of it.

Challenge

Paradigm shift

Day 28/30

I signed up for a “time management course” to learn how to eradicate my procrastination once and for all. Guess who has been procrastinating on completing the minuscule 90 min course, ME! I can’t stop laughing thinking about this.

Anyways, time to get back to serious business. So I did try to make few changes in today’s routine based on whatever I could recollect from watching the first half of this course in an absolutely sleepy state. I made a very detailed hour by hour schedule yesterday for today and the best thing I could achieve from the extremely elaborate schedule was my meditation and workout. I have been off the radar for more than a month now. The plight of our country during the covid 19 second wave and the unexpected death in my extended family has put me in a very distracted state of mind.

There is no one way to calm an anxious mind. Anxiety partially comes from the feeling of losing control of our life. And I wish to tackle this specific aspect to win over my anxiety. Taking control of our life starts from the decision to try and take action. If there’s one thing you’ve been procrastinating on from quiet sometime for no apparent reason, like ordering a thing from your wish list or calling a friend, try and force yourself to do that very thing tomorrow and you’ve begun your journey of reclaiming control of your goddamn life. It’s honestly really weird that it’s our mind who wishes to achieve great things in life and the only thing that stops from doing all that is again, our MIND! How is that even possible?

Now that it’s established that everything that you need to change yourself is in your MIND, what stops you from working on it?

Is there a vision of a new you in your mind? A skill you want to develop, a language a want to learn, a job you wish to get, a life you wish to own? Make a list of all these things. Everything your best version should be doing and break it down into a daily routine. Don’t underestimate the power of compounding my friend! Oh, but what do we do to keep the lure of “instant gratification” at bay?

Apply the 1 level up rule. Tomorrow, make a plan to get 1 level better in your goals from yesterday. For example, one extra rep in your workouts or 1 extra page of your book or 1 extra chapter in your studies. Just 1 level up. It’s a relatively small number so won’t be difficult to achieve. However, every drop counts to make an ocean, this 1 level up progress will make a considerable dent in the progress of your goal. Sounds easy? So should we get a head start on the biggest project of our life? The future me that I would be proud of.

Let’s do this!

happiness

Slowly but surely

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

Day 25/30

A pessimistic attitude towards life can suck the energy out of you. Our life is built on hope and in it’s absence we will feel absolutely unsettled. Given the current scenario, it is very easy to go off track and feel helpless. We might feel like we have lost control over our life. Our brain can easily spiral into the wrong direction and give us all the possible reasons to be unhappy.

Our time is limited on this planet, every single second is precious. While it’s practically impossible to make every moment count, we can try and train our mind to see the good in every situation. We can strive hard to live in the moment, write down every thing that we have been procrastinating on for a long time and tick off the checklist one by one, buy those things that have been lying in your wish list since forever, reconnect with old friends, watch a feel good movie. In general, use your time on things that make you happy.

The last 2 days have been emotionally harrowing. Two of my closest extended family members are dealing with this deadly virus. I’m praying that they get well soon and come back home hale and hearty. This situation has forced me to think about how I spend my time stressing over things that never take place, being anxious about my past and future alike, not being satisfied with the way I live my life and treating happiness like an expensive commodity. I do end up allocating a huge chunk of my time in life on things that aren’t fruitful or don’t make me happy. I tend to consistently worry about the implications of my current decisions on my future life and stress about not being able to make the most of my life. Well guess what, even after stressing about all of this day in and day out, I haven’t made any progress on figuring out the perfect manner of living a fulfilled life. It’s high time I stop caring about this and start channeling all my focus on the present moment alone.

Going to make it my life’s motto to live by this rule.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” 

— Mother Teresa
Musings

It’s getting scary

“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.”

Napoleon Hill

Day 24/30

The covid-19 situation in India is getting scarier by the day. People are struggling to get beds in hospitals, medicines aren’t easily available, test results are taking longer than 2 days, the health care system has broken down, the number of active cases has reached it’s peak, the number of daily cases have crossed all time high. In short, the situation is murky and it’s getting worse by the day.

I don’t want to play the blame game here and try to find out what went wrong. It’s not one single person’s fault. Right now, the situation is so bad that we don’t know how long it’ll take for this dark phase to end. In the last week alone, I must have heard a new case in my contacts (friends and extended family) for every single day of the week. Covid has hit way too close to our home and we are scrambling for safety.

My aunt had been hospitalized because of covid about 12 days back. Initially we were told that she had a mild infection and was stable. As days passed by, her condition started deteriorating. Yesterday, my cousin messaged me saying that she is critical. A shiver ran down my spine, I did not expect this. Most of the cases that I’ve heard till now had a positive recovery rate. I was hoping that it would be the same with my aunt. I took life and the current scenario for granted. I was sure that it would be a mild infection and she’ll be back home soon. Yesterday’s news broke me completely. I am scared. Hoping against hope that she’ll be back hale and hearty soon.

Please don’t take anything in life for granted. We need to be grateful for everything that we have in life. Our time on this planet is limited and very precious. Respond to that message, take that call, listen to those stories, forgive and forget, move past those grudges, don’t let anger and ego ruin any relationship, make time for your loved ones.

Praying that the situation gets better, praying that my aunt gets better.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. Eat healthy food, workout, take care of your mental health, wear a mask, stay safe. We are not bigger than this virus.

Accomplishments

Pat your back

“It takes strength to be proud of yourself and to accept yourself when you know that you have something out of the ordinary about you.”

Abigail Tarttelin

Day 23/30

I gave a job interview today and it was brutal. The interviewer asked me some really tricky technical questions which I’m sure I gave inadequate answers to. In a normal scenario, I would have been really tough on myself, felt really embarrassed and indulged in negative self talk till I would break down.

Not today.

I feel proud of myself for attempting to give this interview while fighting my fears and anxiety about it. I feel proud of myself for trying very hard and giving my utmost best throughout the difficult session. I feel proud of myself for taking action and doing things that scare me the most.

I’m always hard on myself but I don’t want to do that this time. I absolutely cannot change the past. This interview has widened my thinking capability and has been an incredible learning experience. That certainly can’t be counted as a loss.

Instead of being your worst enemy, try and become your best friend today. The outcome of any situation in life cannot be predicted but you can align your thoughts to be more helpful and positive. And I’m training my mind to do just that. To see the good in every situation and take everything as a learning experience.

Be proud of yourself and pat your back, for a change!