Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thought for the Day - Self-Love Is Being Seen as We Are

 So this is a definition of self-love that finally fits in with everything. Self-love is being seen exactly as we are without our fig leaves, without our judgments about ourselves.

That's why self-love takes us to our potential. All that we hide, all the we do not do because we have judgments on it, or because we are afraid to be seen like that, are parts of us we don't love. No self-love, no full potential.

Self-love then, is the way to uncovering you at full potential.

Connecting this with another thought I had recently about us being at full potential - that we are not at full potential as long as we feel uncomfortable with ourselves i.e. do not do certain things where we think we don't look good. But its our judgment and it is precisely in doing those things that we give ourselves the biggest chance.

When we make the announcement that we are ready.   

Thought for the Day - There's a Beauty In Your Breathing that Makes Life Easy

 Breath - the sign that we are alive. Another thing I heard was that breathing was the connection between mind and the body. And then we realise that there's more than the mind and the body - there's spirit. And then, this spirit reaches out to the universal spirit outside.

The breath seems to be the connecting factor here. It's not just some involuntary thing that keeps us alive. It's bigger than that.

When I go jogging (at my own small pace) I feel that I need to focus on something. AT times I try to count the steps and occupy my mind so it doesn't play tricks and tire me out. I use other tricks like focusing on some physical part - which is another way to distract the mind.

Until I found the other day that I could probably use my breath to control the whole system. My body, mind, spirit - find that balance when they are in sync. The only place that one can do that is with the breath I thought. So I started focusing on my breath and let my breath decide what's the right pace for me, what pace makes me happy, and voila, I stopped thinking about all these other thoughts. I just need to ask my breath to lead and tell me what makes me happy and it does that - this pace, this distance - and then we feel the awareness of the breath going and we come back and it guides us again.

I feel that I can ask my breath what I need to do to make me happy now and it will guide me, or what I need to do right now to make the right decision and it will guide me. At times I breath in good stuff and breath out stuff I don't want.

I am having fun with my focus on my breath. I would like to make it more and more conscious until it becomes subconscious and I am always aware of my breath.

Sounds like the present to me.           

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg was an ex- Googler and CEO of Facebook. The book is all about how women should lean in more into leadership positions because they have a lot to offer and I fully agree. I remember reading somewhere about how a company changed its policy towards race (could be gender for this example) and by making that one change, added a 50% new angle to their business (resulted in actual growth). Keeping women out with all their wonderful strengths and special characteristics means we keep out 50% of our strength.

But why do we do that?

Simply because we are led by insecure people, insecure men, who cannot handle women and the power and beauty and compassion they bring with them. For centuries we have been led by insecure people (and continue to be) which is why the world landed in the place it is in - war, climate change, inequality - all caused by bullies of the world. Bring in the women, bring in the empaths and the world will be a completely different place.

Filled with some lovely anecdotes from her own life and from people she has met with and interacted, Sheryl discusses issues like how women feel discrimination at the work place (being like the boys, no separate toilets, no parking for pregnant mothers), how their husbands need to reach out and help in and not see it as a favour, be an equal partner, how women themselves need to step forward and claim what is rightfully theirs. She puts forward her own case and how everything can be managed by figuring ways and putting limitations in (lady who put her children to bed with uniform is a classic case) and how women need not leave jobs because of family or kids - they just leave because they think they cannot manage it. Sheryl says they can. She is proof of it.

It's a fine book and one that does a lot for women who are confused about the many things they feel they have to handle on their own. Sheryl lays it bare and gives practical solution. Here's to a more equal, peaceful and harmonious world with more women in leadership positions - something I hope this book will do. And by doing so, reduce the level of insecurity in the world!            


Thought for the Day - If You're Comfortable, You're Not Doing Enough

 This is for those of us who feel there's a lot to be done but nothing is happening. We live in our comfort zone and don't push the boundary and well - nothing happens.

If we're wanting things to change and we are doing things that are comfortable - we are not doing enough. We need to push that boundary until things shake up, things change and doors open. We have to do at least one thing in the day that we are postponing, that makes us uncomfortable - to grow. to go past this barrier.

There will come a time when nothing makes us uncomfortable and we are comfortable with the uncomfortable - that's the level we need to aspire for. Until then, push that boundary, inch by inch.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Artist Date 1 - Necklace Road and Boat Ride to Buddha Purnima

 I have been struggling with the artist date for weeks now and today I finally decided to go - even for half an hour. I decided to go to Necklace Road and perhaps do my walk there. I parked at Eat Street at about 430 and went and had a cup of coffee from Minerva. Some college kids, some families were around. A guy came and yelled 'Boating, Boating'  and completely ignored me - single, gray haired chaps are not ideal for boating perhaps. I thought about it. I never liked boating, nor any water sports. Perhaps my lack of confidence in my swimming ability perhaps. I decided to see what this is and walked to the quay. I asked the guy what this was about - a launch like thing, a 15 minute ride to the Buddha statue, a 10 minute stop and back. 50 bucks. I paid.

Boating from Eat Street

I put on a life jacket and sat up front. the boat took off. I sent a pic to Shobhs in case the boat went down. It didn't.


 We landed up at the Buddha statue. First time I have been here ever.


First time inside the Hussain Sagar too in forty years. Anyway took pics of the statue and walked around. 

Buddha statue

Apparently the statue was consecrated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The return journey was uneventful.

Back at Eat Street I decided to do my walk - went for a 40 minute walk along the Necklace Road.

Two affectionate brothers selling balloons - the older one adored his younger brother (half hidden)

Lovers, friends, loners checking phones, balloon sellers,ice cream sellers, an ice cream seller who was busily clearing up garbage thrown near his cart (why was he doing that), two young kids selling balloons (the older one was perhaps seven and his younger brother must be four - the older one loved the younger one), two young friends aged eight sitting on the rails, one middle aged lady walking for exercise, a shy couple playing badminton in overgrown grass instead of the open space, the cries of Ganpati revellers heading to immerse their idols, horseback policemen, bhutta sellers. Nice.



Enough sights and images for the evening.

So many moments of pleasure for children - lying waste 

It took all of two hours. Two lovely hours. I felt I liked my own company. I am quite fun you know - must be something if I made myself do something I didn't do with anyone else all these years.

A mosque
 I am looking forward to more artist dates. They are brilliant. 

The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron's, known as the Godmother of Creativity, wrote this book which is a kind of a bible in the artists' journey. She has written 40 books - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, is a songwriter, filmmaker and playwright. Her books have sold 5 million copies and have been translated into 48 languages. Enough credentials on creativity.

Creativity is the natural order of life she says. When we open ourselves to creativity we open ourselves to the creator. Our refusal to be creative is counter to our nature. When we are creative, gentle, powerful change is to be expected. It's never too late to be creative so stop fearing and start.

Julia gives two powerful tools which are the most important part of the book. They are:

Morning Pages - 

The first tool is Morning Pages (I have been doing for more than a month now and vouch for) is writing 3 pages of long hand, strictly stream of consciousness stuff, whatever comes to mind. (Nobody reads your morning pages.) If you can't think of anything write 'I cannot think of anything...I am blank..' like that. You have to write morning pages every day forever, as early in the morning as you can. Don't look for perfectionism, don't censor, let it flow. Morning pages is a tool of creative recovery. (She says  its a way of sending messages to the universe, notifying the universe of your dreams and hopes) 

Artist Date

This is a tool for receiving. Take two hours off with your artist self (and no one else) - just you and your artist self. A play date. Go walk, go to  a museum, mall, gallery, nature - just you and you. I found this tougher to do and I am still struggling with it.  If the morning pages are about sending messages, the artist date is about receiving from the universe. Don't miss this.

Fill the well

She also talks of filling the well with images. Art is born in attention she says. Any regular, repetitive action primes the well. Our focused attention is critical to filling the well - we can do it while driving, walking, bathing. Art is imagination at play.

I like that part about attention - what you pay attention to grows.

The book in itself is a work book with thoughts and exercises to do over 12 weeks. Each week has a theme that gently takes you from coming out of a space where your creativity is blocked to finally being in flow. The weekly themes are about recovering a sense of safety, identity, purpose, integrity, possibility, abundance, connection, strength, compassion, self-protection, autonomy and faith.  

Week 1 - Recovering a sense of safety. 

There's nothing wrong with you.

We hide our creative selves in shadows thanks to our negative beliefs. We must begin by protecting the artist child within, identify core negative beliefs like 'cannot be successful, artists are poor' etc - which are not true. Then work on changing our beliefs by using affirmations and other processes.
Exercises for the first week include morning pages, artist dates, naming 3 attackers of our self worth, writing a letter to one of them, identifying 3 champions of our self-worth, writing a thank you letter, listing our imaginary lives, going on a walk with yourself.

Week 2 - Recovering a sense of identity

Reclaim yourself. 

Stop self-attack and stop being manipulated by guilt. As 'blocked creatives' we are normally good game for attacked by crazy makers - people who break deals, expect special treatment, spend your time and money, blame etc - basically those who make us feel lousy. Avoid these people. Stop feeling guilty, like you did something wrong, like you're a fraud. Instead reclaim your space, pay attention to what's around you, talk about it. Take pride in yourself, your dreams, your life.
Tasks for this week include doing time audit to check if you have been out helping others or yourself, listing 20 things you enjoy doing every day, doing two favorite things this week. Affirmations, and listing our imaginary lives.

Week 3 - Recovering a Sense of Purpose

Work and doors open.

As we do work towards recovering our blocked creative we experience synchronicity - it shows up as answered prayers (don't sabotage it). Take small steps in the direction of the dream and watch the synchronous doors open. Leap and the net appears, walk and the way appears.
Take risks, meet opportunity half way. 'Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it', Action has magic, grace and power in it. She warns that we are all shamed as creatives - so be careful. Deal with criticism (creativity is the only cure for criticism) Growth comes in solitude, in quiet time.

Exercises for week three include imagining the childhood room, recalling 5 traits of yours as a child, 5 childhood accomplishments, habits, nurturing friends, 5 people you admire.

Week 4 - Recovering a Sense of Integrity

Stop pretending, get real. Open yourself up.

This is time for honest changes, for spiritual surrender. Let go of the past, of pretences. Creativity is grounded in reality. Art lies in the moment of encounter. Reopen buried dreams. Practice reading deprivation - inner silence. for one week.

Tasks -write a letter to you at 8, do an extended artists date, throw out the no good outfits

Week 5 - Recovering a sense of possibility

Don't get caught in the virtue trap. Listen to the inner guide. List a wish list.  

Week 6 - Recovering a sense of abundance

Your are born to be abundant. Write about god, about what is luxury to you. See how you spend your money. Serious art is born from serious play. Tasks for the week - send postcards to 5 fiends

Week 7 - Recovering a sense of connection

Try, try, do, do.

Listen more, pay attention. Don't get stuck in perfectionism. Perfectionism is  refusal to move ahead . I loved the quote "Don't fear mistakes, there are none" - Miles Davis. If you didn't fear doing it perfectly you would have tried. Tasks for the week - Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong

Week 8 - Recovering a sense of strength

Dealing with failure -don't give up

Art is the act of structuring time. Look at every loss, as gain disguised as a loss. think how can this loss serve me? Take the next small step instead of waiting for the next large one. Write one page at a time. Creativity requires activity. Tasks - goal search.

Week 9 - Recovering a sense of compassion

Be gentle with yourself, never be harsh to yourself

Remember it's not laziness but fear that blocks you. Use love to cure fear. Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work. Watch out for creative U turns (don't let go) Don't commit hara kiri on the eve or in the wake of your first creative victory. Its scary but blast through the block. Remove resentment. Get fear out, love in. Forgive yourself, others

Week 10 - Recovering a sense of self protection

Don't sabotage your success

Watch out for workaholism. Fame. Competition. They are all potholes.

Week 11 -Recovering a sense of autonomy

Enjoy success

Accepting cash flow, self respect. Success. The sex of sports. run, play, exercise. Keep the flow going physically, have fun. 

Week 12 - Recovering a sense of faith

Stay with the process

Trust the process. Be in a space of I-don't-know. Mystery imagination at play. Escape velocity. Watch out for wet blankets, set goals, set boundaries.

Some spaces need to be filled in. I gave a gist but you can read the book and do all the exercises which I haven't done yet but propose to. I started on the basic tools - Morning Pages and the Artist Date and loved them both. I'll revisit this page. But if there's two things to take away take those two practices. And buy the book. It's something people apparently keep revisiting every now and then to write blockbuster stuff. And yes, i do feel I am getting more ideas now than before.



Canteen Fundas - Commit Your Contribution to be Consistent

Not consistent? Commit your minimum committed contribution and go for it.

E-Canteen Fundas: Commit your contribution for consistent performance

‘Our basketball team’s fully set,’ said Rahul. ‘We’ve a common purpose, clarity of roles and are fully aligned.’

‘But you’re not consistent,’ said Rinku. ‘Some days you play brilliantly, other days you suck. Something’s wrong.’

‘Rinku’s right,’ said Rakesh. ‘You must convert what you have into consistent results. You can’t simply hope.’

‘How do we do that bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘To deliver consistently, commit what each one will contribute to the team and hold yourself responsible for it,’ said Rakesh, adding, ‘Do you do that?’

‘We don’t explicitly commit bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘We believe everyone’s doing their best.’

‘That’s what most of teams do,’ said Rakesh. ‘But good intentions don’t translate to concrete results. A better way is to commit to a clear contribution. That way you’ll find ways and deliver to potential.’

‘How do we go about it bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.

‘Ask everyone in your team to set their own targets on what they’ll deliver and share it with the team,’ said Rakesh. ‘When it all adds up you have a team that performs consistently.’

‘Hmm, but what if they set a target that’s too low or high?’ asked Rinku.

‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘A good target focuses all your resources towards achieving your target. A low target’s not challenging enough because it uses only a part of your resources. And a very high target makes you give up because it feels impossible. The ideal target’s in the sweet spot — beyond what you think is possible, yet tangible enough to excite. A challenge that stretches you. So discuss and arrive at well set targets that utilise all your unused potential.’

‘Bhaiyya, what if someone sets too high a target that they’ll fail?’ said Rinku. ‘What about their commitment to the team then?’

‘Have two goals then,’ said Rakesh. ‘One committed goal and one aspirational goal. If the team needs 20 committed points and the player thinks he can do 35 great, go for 35, but deliver 20 without fail.’

‘Bhaiyya, we never committed to targets,’ said Rahul. ‘Won’t it put too much pressure and affect performance?’

‘No,’ said Rakesh. ‘On the other hand, a publicly committed target makes you examine your process towards becoming better players. You’ll be forced to use resources you already have at your disposal to deliver consistently, including the group wisdom of your team. As a team you can help each other achieve more and improve the team performance. You will play to your potential.’

‘True bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I can see how this practice of committing targets and holding ourselves responsible to deliver consistently can help our team perform better.’

Pro Tip: Commit concrete performance delivery to your team by setting yourself challenging targets. It will improve performances – individual and the team’s. When you commit, you reexamine your process, use all resources efficiently and deliver consistently.