Organise

I was awe struck to find blogs and books written about Organising. I had never given organising so much of a thought. I was shocked! Never saw this topic could be given so much of importance and could never understand why?!

When I had my second kid and was taking care of him at home, I was a mess. There was stuff lying all over the house in a haphazard way and I badly wanted the place to be neat and tidy if not sparkling clean. Our sofa would be filled with stuff leaving hardly any place to sit. But, sadly, I consistently ran out of energy to do the cleaning and tidying up. So, all I did with the little energy left me was sulk and stay irritated! I would look at the clutter and wished it would disappear because I felt it crushing me. At that point, I didn’t realise that what I needed was a little tuition on organising. I persistently thought all I needed was some time management skills. When I need any kind of advice on such matters, I usually look up pinterest. As I was browsing and reading I realised that more than time management skills, what I needed was to be more organised.

It was vital that I had to organise – organise myself, house, kitchen, my whole life. There were more than one blog, cautioning to take baby steps if not we would stumble back to square one. As always said, start slow –  stay steady. I divided each room to section, I promised I’d do just one section per day even if I felt I wanted to do more. I would set right one section, say my clothes wardrobe, once it was organised, all I had to do was maintain it that way it required much less time than organising the whole wardrobe and I could find stuff where it intended to be. I just went with the age-old principle of – Give everything a place and everything will be in place. While I was organising I also decluttered. I made space for the essential and put away the stuff that were not used for a long time. I took it easy but covered all the corners of the house.

Gradually, things fell into place. Now, all I was required to do was maintain it this way. This maintenance took just 15-20 mins of my day. I would go room to room, put things in its place, if it had a place in that room else would drop it in a big basket. Later, sorted the stuff in the basket room-wise and put it back in their respective places in their respective rooms. This was the start. I felt incredible. I can’t express the joy of an organised and clean house. I no longer had to search for things, it would be usually be in its place. I started to sense that I had more energy left me and was a much more peaceful person. That’s when the importance of organising completely dawned upon me. Then, I started to gradually organising everything around me. Every morning, with my cup of green tea for company, I sat down to write the meal of the day and tasks of the day and prioritised them. While listing down my tasks I tried to be as practical as possible. So I could feel happy with my accomplishment. Progressively, this lead to drawing up weekly meal plans and to-do lists every weekend. And, that freed up my morning from thinking what to cook today to make more productive use of this time. With all this, I was left with more time and energy at hand than ever. Plus, less irked and a calmer mind. I could find time to do a million things that really mattered to me like read a book or meditate. It felt great!

So, for a person’s mind to remain calm it is of utmost importance that his/her surroundings be organised and clean. A organised environment keeps your mind calm and thought more clear. I know, many may have a counter argument here. It is all in the mind. If you choose to stay calm, you could stay calm irrespective of the environment. I could not agree more but its also worthy to note that for mind to stay calm irrespective of its environment, it has to be strong, rock-solid strong. So nothing outside can influence it. I’m not sure how many of us have that strong a mind? If we don’t, we can always build it. Till we get that kind of mental strength, we could take the help of a organised and clean living space to stay calm and focused.

All of this also got me thinking on another point. No doubt that the litter and clutter in the house was eating up my energy and draining me. If the clutter in the house could drain me so much, what about my littered thoughts, thoughts like thinking ill about people, judging people, thinking negative, being anxious, and so on? Would it not drain my brain? Shouldn’t I be organising and decluttering my mind as well? So, this became my next project and my this year’s resolution. To declutter my mind. To keep the essential and put away the rest. I have taken my first step forward towards having a decluttered and organised mind by practicing gratitude, forgiveness and mindfulness along with keeping my environment organised.

Thank you for reading. Do share your thoughts and views about organising our surroundings and our minds.

 

 

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Mindfulness

I’m in the kitchen, cooking dinner for my family, many times my mind wanders to my office trying to figure out how to find a solution for a particular requirement. Suddenly, I realize – ‘oh! I’m in my kitchen and the task at hand is to cook dinner’, and my attention shifts to what’s on the stove. I’m back to present moment. I’m back to NOW.

I’m sure everyone is a victim to this. While handling one task, how many times we get diverted because we think of some other task, of some future event, of answers, we had to give when someone said something and we got tongue-tied instead of replying or just simply daydreaming. Then, the train of thoughts abruptly stops at a station called ‘NOW’ and we wake up with a jolt. While we are taking a ride in our train of thoughts, we are physically present but mentally absent. You are seeing what is in front of you but you are not processing the information you see. You are just mechanically doing your task. How well does the task get done in such a scenario? I don’t need to answer that. It is only when we are present both mentally and physically we will be able to give 100% to whatever it is. Giving our 100% not only gives us awesome results but also satisfaction. Satisfaction gives us peace of mind.

So, your awareness, attention and complete focus on the task you are doing, all these sums up to form the word ‘Mindfulness‘. Mindfulness is nothing but being in the moment. Being here and now. Here are a few ways I try to stay mindful –

  1. Start the day with a few deep breaths – As soon as you wake up, take a moment to say ‘Thank you God for gifting me another beautiful day, I’ll make the most of it’. Then, take a few deep breaths and stay still for a few seconds before you carry on with the day.
  2. Deep breaths anytime – Anytime you catch yourself not present in the moment, take five deep breaths, with eyes opened or closed, this will help you bring back to focus on the present moment. I have been practicing this for some time now. At times, my mind is so disturbed that I can’t get back to the present with the help of just five breaths. During such situations, I repeat the cycle of five breaths till I can get my focus back.
  3. Meditate – Sit down in a comfortable position with back supported and erect. Gently close your eyes, take deep breaths. You can opt to chant Om for a few times before the deep breaths for better concentration. Be mindful of each breath. Slowly, be mindful of what is happening in your body. Just observe. Don’t react. Now, be mindful of your thoughts, if any. Let the thoughts pass by. Don’t attach to it, don’t judge or let your mind run behind it. Observe and let go. After a while, your mind will be blank. Be with it. When you want to end the meditation, don’t get up abruptly. Slowly become aware of your body, lightly move your body while sitting. Rub your palms to generate heat and place it over your eyes. Gently open your eyes. You can start meditating for a duration of 5 mins and gradually increase it. This helps you stay focused and to be in the moment.
  4.  Eat/Drink – While eating or drinking, express gratitude for the food/drink you get to consume. Pay attention to the look of the food/drink – the color, the texture. Breath in its aroma. As you consume, be mindful of the taste. The food you consume this way gets better absorbed in the body. Many of the books and articles I read about health suggest this as a successful way to lose weight.
  5. Environment – Be aware of the environment you are in. Look around. No judging. Just observe. This helps you bring back your focus to NOW. I use it as a quick hack.
  6. Exercise – While exercising, be mindful of the body parts that are getting worked up. Since your attention is on the body part, the results are better (as I noticed).
  7. Control Emotions – For me, it is especially anger. When I start to get angry, I catch myself and observe this emotion, how it is changing my body. Observe changes in me.  I accept my state of anger. Take a deep breath and let go. Please note, I’m not escaping the moment or have my emotion pent up, but I’m actually letting go.

Once you start being mindful and experience its benefits, you might want to expand the practice to various aspects of life. A piece of advice here, start small – stay steady. It is not necessary that all of the above needs to be done. You can pick one, and start with that. Or you can opt not to try any of it but come up with a way of your own to be mindful.  But the point is to be in the present, to be aware, to be attentive, to be mindful so that we can be at peace with ourselves.

I’d like to wrap up with one of my favorite quotes by Lao Tzu – If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are peace, you are living in the present.

Thank you for reading. Do share your views on what you think about mindfulness, its benefits that you experienced and the ways you try to be mindful. Love you all.

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Let go!

I was browsing through my old mails and found a comment by Alan Zimmerman shared by a dear friend. The topic was – The art of letting go. It had immense impact on me when I first read it.  Although, I could not get the true essence of letting go then, over the period of time I think I have got a better understanding of it. This is one phase used so often but its true meaning is left unexplored.

Alan Zimmerman says that –  at all times there will be someone or the other hurting us by the words they said or the words they didn’t. Rather than sticking to the event that is hurting us, we need to take responsibility for your feelings and let go. How true it is! Like one wise person said – Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. What happens to us is beyond our control but we can sure control how we react/respond to it.

Suppose, a husband/wife comes home after a long day and loses his/her temper over frivolous things . What can his/her spouse do? Get frustrated over spouse’s temper OR take control over emotions and understand that it could be a result of the strenuous day they had to go through and feel sorry that he/she is so tired that they are irritated by trivial things and then just let go without taking things personally? Generally, whenever a person pass a rude comment or does something insensitive, instead of reciprocating or dwelling over it, just let go. It makes it easier if you assume that maybe they had a bad day or are like this by nature, something that you don’t control.

With all this said, we can let go 100% when we let go from our heart. To let go from our heart, we need to truly forgive. It does not help if we superficially say – it’s ok, I let go and deep inside keep planning vengeance. So, how can we forgive someone from heart? Here is one idea I learnt from Pranic Healing class I attended. Imagine the person is in front of you, smile looking at him and say I forgive you. While you say that, feel it in your heart as well. When do this, your heart feels good, it feels lighter. In case, you are not feeling lighter and if it still hurts that is only because you have not let go, you have not forgiven from the bottom of your heart. No problem. Try again.

Many a times, the person who spoke that rude comment or did that insensitive act might not even be sorry, maybe they doesn’t deserve your forgiveness at all. Yet, you need to forgive. Not for the sake of the other person but for yourself. When you don’t forgive, you are letting the person control your emotions. You give the person power to make you feel bad or hurt by their words or action.  And, when you forgive he/she no longer controls you. What he/she says or does is immaterial to your feelings. You control yourself.

So quit dwelling over that comment, brooding over what happened or planning vengeance. We are only making ourselves the victim, filling ourselves with bitterness by doing it. Like the Buddha’s quote on anger goes – Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. I can say it is similar to holding any bitter feelings in your heart. Your heart should not be a habitat for any bitter or negative emotions, instead it is a lovely place for love to reside in. So, chuck all the bitterness or negativity as they are not worth keeping. Do this favour for yourself, by forgiving others. We are carrying enough unwanted baggages already, let’s not add to it. Let us forgive, let go and move on!

This is going to be my next baby step in decluttering my mind. From now on, I will take responsibility and control on how I feel / react to events which have the potent to effect me negatively. I will forgive. I will do it at all times possible. Every night, before I fall asleep, I will remove the unwanted baggage by forgiving and letting go. So, along with my practice of gratitude will go the practice of letting go, by forgiving.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your comment on it or any tips that can make letting go easier!

 

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A start for gratitude!

A lot has been heard and said about gratitude. This is one of my new year resolution as well – To be grateful! I’m dedicating this week for starting to practice gratitude.

In life, we take many things for granted. All those things which we have taken for granted, someone out there might be in need of it. They may be praying or wishing for it. When they get it they’ll be grateful. But, don’t you think we are blessed to already have it? Isn’t there a need for us to be grateful?
In my opinion, we need to be grateful for everything – air we breathe, running water in the tap, a bed to sleep. The list is endless. Think about this, not everyone who sleeps will wake up to see the next morning. If you woke up, be grateful for the gift of another beautiful day. When we start being grateful for all that’s around us, we start to see how blessed we are, how lucky we are, how special we are. That’s a wonderful feeling. Being special.

I once read a quote, “a grateful heart is a magnet for miracle”.I’d like to interpret it this way. Once we start being grateful, we start to notice things and events as something special, as a blessing, as a miracle, which otherwise we would just not have noticed at all. We start noticing zillions of such tiny miracles which make our day. And with practice, one day, gratitude will become a state of being rather than an action.

My plan for starting to practice gratitude is as follows. Daily before I go to bed, I want to start off by reviewing my day. Every moment that I can recall, I want to thank every person, every situation. It might have seemed like situation which doesn’t call for gratitude, yet I will thank! You never know, maybe it was for a greater good, maybe things could have been much worse. Next time I’m struck in the traffic I’ll say – thank you I got a break from all the driving, rather than sulk about it.

It will be a good start to have a gratitude journal. An entry of all the stuff that I’m grateful for, at the end of each day. Maybe gradually, I can skip the journal and thank them in my mind. I also plan not to restrict my display of gratitude till the night fall. I will practice it at the very moment that I feel grateful.

Wish me luck! And a big thank you for reading this. A thank you to the Supreme for giving me the ability to write. A thank you for letting me know of the greatness of gratitude through various channels. THANK YOU!

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Happy New Year 2017!

Well… another year is here!! Yipee!

Time for celebrations and resolutions. I think both go hand in hand. Haven’t we all spoken enough about these resolution and made fun of it when we can’t even take it beyond a week or a month. Inspite of my failures to keep on with my resolution year after year, again I’m up with a new list of resolution. Incorrigible.. that’s what I am 🙂

This year again I’m determined to stick to my resolutions. One thing I’m doing different is I’m going to be realistic. How? By breaking my resolution into small, tiny chunks and chew them bit(e) by bit(e). By prioritising my list. What’s more important gets more of my attention. I’m not even sure this method is going to work but want to give it a chance.

Resolution usually involves change. As Robin Sharma quotes, change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. I’m determined to see the gorgeous, seen enough of hard and messy. 🙂

I’m going to start with implementing one small change for one week. I will try and try till I have implemented that small change before I move on to the next one. I’m sure there will be barriers I’m determined to cross them. This determination I have, comes to me from the hopeless state I’m in currently. I don’t wish to live on like this. If I want sometime new I must make some change. I can’t go living the same way and expect my life to change. That’s foolish. So, here I stand stubborn to see a new ‘me’ at the end of this year.

Here is a sneak a peek into my new year resolution –
1. Stay peaceful – Declutter my mind, meditate, ignore useless comments, practice mindfulness.
2. Get Fit – Get off the extra baggages on my body, start an exercise regime, eat healthy and tasty.

Above two are the primary ones. Here’s a list of less important ones –
1. Read at least 12 books by the end this year.
2. At least one blog post a month in either of my two blogs
3. Take a day off, just for myself at least once a month/quater
4. Make time for my hobbies, say at least once a month
and the list goes on.

Bless me and wish me luck so I can stick to my resolutions starting from this year on. I wish you can stick on to yours too. Happy new year to all!

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A word called ‘Thank You’

For all you people, who really did not know this word exists – Yes, there is a word called ‘Thank you’ which can be used to express gratitude. And, how often you wish to express gratitude is a complete topic on its own.

When do you thank people?

Thank people for their act that has helped you in some way or the other. Thank people who wish you – Happy Birthday, New Year, or whatever. Thank people to show that you are grateful for their presence. You should thank people for being in your life. Thank people to appreciate what they have done. Why thank only people, I think you should even thank God for all the blessings!

Why thank people?

For starters, because it is necessary to communicate to them that you feel pleased and grateful because of them or some act of theirs’. It is manners to thank.

Just observe the next time, you feel pleased and say ‘Thank you’, there is a nice feeling within you. I believe, every time you say Thanks this feeling is passed on to the person who receives it. He/She in turn enjoys it.

Don’t merely thank people for the sake of it. It should not be a lip service; it should come from the heart.

Always the word?

I agree sometimes you thank people with a smile; you thank them in your heart. That’s good but in this noisy world it is even better if it is voiced. Thanking someone in your heart is awesome but there is so much distortion that it is better that the person hears it.

When you love a person, do you sit with all the love in your heart? Won’t you tell your loved one that you love them? Do sit and wait for some telepathy to do the work? No! You say it with words. The same goes for thanks.

Englishman’s word!

I have had few people argue with me that it is western culture to say thanks for everything. So be it. When we have accepted so many other things from the west, why not accept this? This is doing us no harm. It is a good practice, adopt it!

To all of you out there, don’t be stingy with thanks. Say Thanks. There are many of us who feel appreciated when thanked. Besides, you have nothing to lose… really!!

Oh ya.. BTW, thanks for reading this all the way 🙂

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Write I will :)

When you want to do something badly… you find ways

When you don’t want to it…. you find excuses!

Insipired by zen habit’s post – Why You Should Write Daily

I have started this blog…and I wish to find ways to write…. Hope to form a habit of writing!

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