Reflections and Resolutions

It is almost a week till Christmas (and yes before you say it, it is definitely one of my favourite festivals and time of the year) and I am sat here at the table with a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon reflecting on this past year and the year to come. This is the time where we all stuff ourselves with mince pies and drink way too much mulled wine, and come January resolve to sign up to the gym, exercise at least thrice a week and eat no sugar!! I know I certainly have and my resolution started with much gusto lasts a total of a week at the most!

I probably will do it all again this year but for today I wanted to write about three ladies who have personally inspired me this year and how I would love to imbibe some of their qualities/teachings as I see myself into the new year.

  1. Eli Shafak – Author of forty rules of love

I stumbled upon her book by chance, thanks to my mother’s love of reading and instilling this in me as well. Her book is so beautifully written and warmed my soul directly. It is full of history – about the bond between the poet Rumi and his guru Shamz-e-Tabrizi, wisdom about the teachings and beliefs of sufis and an insight into the true/higher meaning of life where the modern is blended with the mystic. It is a book that anyone and everyone can relate to at various levels.

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She is a Turkish author whose parents separated when she was young and was brought up by a single parent. She is now a successful author, has won various prizes and lives in London. I recently watched one of her TEDx talks where she says anyone can write about anything. I have always wanted to start a blog where I can pen down my thoughts and write about my journey through life and was inspired to do this. I have always had a thirst to learn more about other people and their experiences and better myself as a human being not only learning through my own journey through life but also theirs. This blog has opened up a world of knowledge/life experiences out there and I am truly grateful for that!

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The book also inspired me to start on a spiritual quest, something that has always drawn me and I have wanted to pursue.

I hope in the year 2017, I continue to strengthen my passion for writing and spirituality.

2. My Mother – entrepreneur and founder of @rosamysticaindia

The words that always come to my mind when I think of my mother are – will power, strength, integrity and compassion. She is truly an incredible woman who has faced several obstacles in life – to do with family, health, friends, career and has always braved these with immense strength and determination and triumphed. She has sacrificed and compromised a whole lot for her family and her love is truly unconditional.

She recently started an NGO called Rosa Mystica. It is an initiative aimed at empowering the women of Garhwal, India by showcasing their talent.These women are mostly single parents striving to provide a better future for their family or women who are struggling to make ends meet. I have never seen anyone so dedicated and passionate about her work and cause.

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I have always loved and enjoyed being creative and as a result I created an instagram and Facebook page dedicated to this noble cause. Please check out their instagram page @rosamysticaindia or Facebook page to learn about their work in more detail.

www.facebook.com/rosamysticaindia/

Here is a sneak peak of an ethnic and vibrant kurti that these ladies made. All their products are handmade and made with a lot of handwork and love. You name it and they make it: clothes for women/men/children, fashion accessories, bedding items, home goods such as hot water bottle covers, table runners, dining table covers, place mats, potholders etc, handmade cards etc.

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In 2017, I hope to have more compassion, passion for what I do and will power to see through any obstacles and goals.

3. A friend 

What i admire the most in this dear friend of mine is her determination and motivation to stay fit. She goes to the gym everyday without fail and eats in moderation (without depriving herself of sweet treats/eating out). She always strives to stay healthy and happy.

We really need to learn to respect our bodies, the saying that we are what we eat is true to a great degree. A healthy body and mind are key ingredients to a happy life full of contentment.

What I admire about her is not going on ‘crash diets’ for a certain occasion or to fit into a dress or prepare for a beach holiday. Those kinds of diet don’t last for long. I did one myself before my wedding (kind of) and did manage to lose weight but have not been able to sustain it.

In 2017, I hope to become more fit by exercises a bit more regularly and indulging in yoga and meditation to heal my body and mind.

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So bring on 2017 and the challenge to advance myself….physically, mentally and spiritually 🙂

Photo sources:

  1. amazon.com
  2. cnn.com
  3. my visions.org

Do remember this Christmas!

The feeling of cold and crisp winter air on your face, soft snow flakes falling gently and curling on the window ledge, a cup of steaming and delicious hot chocolate in front of the blazing fire, a choir melodiously singing carols in the town centre and children sitting on santa’s lap asking for a present for being good all year round, sparkly christmas trees, lots of mulled wine and egg nog, minced pies, a rush to get all the christmas shopping done, parties, dinners and family gatherings….yup! all sounds like that beautiful time of the year again – Christmas! And I don’t know about you, but yes I do love this festival 🙂

It is a glorious celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget, his parents; St. Joseph and Mother Mary.

Mary was born to St. Anne and St. Joachim of Israel. Joachim was a wealthy man and always made a double offering to God. He was once denied to do so first, as he had not raised a child (Anne and Joachim had been trying for an offspring for a long time). As a result, Joachim went into the desert, pitched his tent there and decided to fast for forty days and forty nights whilst praying to God for an offspring. Anna, who was also frustrated, sat under a laurel tree and prayed to God to bless her with an offspring, just as he had blessed Sarah (wife of Abraham) with Isaac. Suddenly, an angel appeared to Anne revealing that her prayer had been answered by the Lord and that she will be blessed with an offspring. On hearing this, Anna was overjoyed and vouched to dedicate her child to serving the Lord. Nine months later, Anna gave birth to a baby girl, Mary.

At the age of three, Mary was presented to the temple by her parents in order to be educated and serve the Lord. When she reached the age of fourteen, the priest of the temple had a visitation from an angel stating to gather all the widowers of the region and ask them to carry a staff. The one that the Lord points out to, shall be Mary’s husband. The priest did as he was told, and a dove came out of Joseph’s staff ; and he was the chosen one.

Mary through the power of the holy spirit, conceived Jesus. She is a symbol of compassion, kindness, innocence, mercy and is a pure soul.

St. Joseph, was a working man, a carpenter and not well to do. He once offered two turtle-doves (pigeons) as a sacrifice to the Lord, as he could not afford a lamb. He was hardworking, righteous and dedicated his life to serve God and obey his commands. Above all, he loved Jesus dearly and did everything he could to protect his child. When an angel appeared to him and told him to leave the town as his child was not safe, he did as he was told and stayed in Egypt, till he was further instructed that it was safe to return.

Let us celebrate Christmas this year, by remembering the humble parents of Jesus and their life. Let us remember their virtues and strive to imbibe these in our daily lives.

featured image courtesy: filcatholic.org

 

It is all about….

It had been a while since I read a good book, you know the ones that capture your soul and make you feel warm from inside? Where you are completely engrossed in the imaginary world that you create, where you cry, laugh and empathise with the characters? Where you can truly begin to fathom the essence of life?

Just over a month ago, whilst visiting my parents, my mom mentioned a book that I must read, a book that will truly make me question life, a book that will aid me in my spiritual journey, a book that will make me open my heart and look into my soul, a book that will make me ponder and dwell on the words and leap with joy as to how simple and beautiful they are. At the time, I hastily accepted to read the book thinking it will be a ‘heavy philosophical read’ and making a mental note to read it at some point when I felt inclined to do so.

I wanted to really finish the one I was already reading and I dislike leaving a book unread once I start, but somehow I just couldn’t get into it. And so after several attempts to just finish the book I finally abandoned it and picked up the one that my mom suggested from the shelf ……it is called ‘ The forty rules of love’ by Eli Shafak.

And it was exactly all that my mom had said, a truly beautiful and spiritual read. It was all about ‘love’, loving God, loving your family and friends, your work colleagues, even strangers on the street. And if we are able to love, we are also able to be kind and compassionate. I remember a number of people telling me throughout life….. but, love is not everything!! Love doesn’t feed your tummy, love doesn’t pay your bills, love is not all that makes a marriage work, think from your head and not your heart. Be practical, be ruthless. But I have always disagreed, call me stupid but I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. For me success is not about affording to buy a chanel bag (though that would be nice) or to have lots of money etc, it is about being surrounded by love and the memories that I create with my friends and family. I have no idea whether not being practical will come to bite me in the *** in the future; but for me I have always wanted to ‘live a little’.

One thing that I find extremely hard to do is ‘control’ my emotions. I have always been a bit short-tempered and get angry and irritated very easily, but something that I read in the book touched my heart, every time you feel overwhelming anger replace the persons face or your thought with a face that you love or something that makes you happy….and it will certainly prevent you from saying harsh words or doing something rash. Isn’t that beautiful. So this is my task for this month and I hope to be more loving and less short tempered.

We all worry about our jobs, finances, family, wanting more, being successful….. but honestly, how many of us worry about our souls???

I read this deeply meaningful story by Rumi ;

A tourist visited a Sufi saint.

He was astonished to see that the Sufi’s home was a simple room.

The only furniture was a mat and a kerosene lamp.

Tourist: “Sufi, where is your furniture?”

Sufi: “Where is yours?”

Tourist: “Mine? But I’m only a visitor here.”

Sufi: “So am I !”

Our life here is only temporary, during sermon at Church last Sunday, the priest said that we live in a world of game of thrones and the apprentice; ruthless and competitive, but let us not forget to live in a world of love!

Image location: style stripped

 

Everyday Blessings

“Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more–a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.”

– George Herbert

Desire is endless once we let it engulf our soul. Throughout our lives, we strive to progress and better our life; materialistically for definite but very seldom spiritually. Whilst I do not think it is wrong to want something for yourself, be it a new car, a more spacious house or that xbox and work towards it; it is important to be detached to these to a certain extent, if not completely. It’s easier said than done though, I do love that pair of jimmy choos I bought! However, once the vicious cycle starts it doesn’t end. The more you get the more you want and are never satisfied at the end of the day!

I for sure, whenever I pray always ask for something; for myself or others. But seldom am I grateful for what I have and count my blessings. There are a number of things to be grateful for in our lives and we so easily forget this. So I know what I am doing today; being grateful for what I have: for giving me such a loving and caring family, a roof over my head and food to eat, and a job which puts me in a position to reach out and help others.

There is also no greater joy than seeing a smile on someone else’s face than doing something for your own self. Giving is hands down better than receiving. I grew up in a very loving home, close to my extended family and cousins. Infact, my cousins are like my brothers and sisters and also my friends. Most of them have gorgeous children and great partners now. Whilst I do not see them and their families that often, I always stay in touch with them on whatsaspp (the perks of social media and technology).

Whilst thinking about them, I stumbled upon the NSPCC website (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) nspcc.org.uk where you can send a letter from Santa to a child you know and donate a certain amount of money for each letter you send to their cause. When I was a child I used to absolutely love Santa, he was one of my favourite things about Christmas! And what better way to wish my little nieces and nephews a Merry Christmas from Santa than to send them a personalised letter praising them for being so good this year 🙂 www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/make-a-donation/letter-from-santa/

71086-mother-teresa-quotes-about-givingFeatured pic courtesy i.huffpost.com/gen/3733962/images/o-GIVING-facebook.jpg

A breath of fresh air

 

The sky was overcast yesterday with grey and black hues,

Were the clouds going to transform into torrential rain I didn’t have a clue,

My heart however, desired to venture out and breathe in the fresh winter air,

And also to feed the magnificent birds as planned, it was only but fair.

The more I contemplate on the best course of action to take, the harder it gets to make a decision. Whilst it is sensible to always weigh the pros and cons, especially when important life changing decisions are concerned it is also equally important to follow your heart and take a risk once in a while. There is an extremely thin line between being practical and spontaneous; one which we have to carefully tread.

I have always found it hard to make decisions, over-thinking things and possibly thinking the worst outcome of any course of action I chose to take; but whatever little experience I have had in life all I can say with conviction is ‘If you don’t try it, you will never know’. Be it with decisions related to work, relationships, personal well-being or small day to day choices we make. Which dish do I order at this restaurant? Should I try something new or stick to the one I know is good?; which outfit should I wear to this special event? Should I agree to do that project when I am not sure I will enjoy it? Should I speak to this person – what will they think or say? And so on.

So rain or no rain; despite the overcast sky I decided to take a walk around where I live. I live in a set of apartments with a view of the city as well as the calming water of the Quays (best of both worlds) and there are a number of beautiful ducks and swans around this area. I have always wanted to take some time out to to feed them; something that I imagined to be a therapeutic process. My excitement was palpable when I bought that loaf of bread to break bit by bit and watch these elegant birds eat it. As I approached the waterfront and took out the loaf to open; what seemed like a million swans/ducks/pigeons/birds all sensed the treat and made a dash towards me unexpectantly. It got to the point where I got visibly concerned and had to half abandon the bird feeding and run a safe distance away whilst requesting my husband to complete the task I had so confidently started. He was braver than me and emerged victorious. It was hardly the ‘therapeutic process’ I had hoped for it to be; but nevertheless I was happy by the end of it.

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Elated by the short-lasting experience we nipped into the outlet mall next door as I really wanted to check out a store organised by the Francis House Childrens’ Hospice called ‘Festival of Christmas trees’. It is a store full of beautifully decorated glittery christmas trees and decorations by various retail stores and one can bid on each tree; all proceeds go to the hospice. It was a magical store. I later on checked out their website: www.francishouse.org.uk

I found these cute promotional items and tea towels designed by the children and bought the tea towels!

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So back to the start, to all decisions we make; however big or small is always a learning experience. It might not always work out as we would expect it to but on the other hand work out brilliantly and surprise us! You never know what is there around the corner and for the series of events to truly unfold, sometimes you just have to take the plunge.  After all, if you don’t try it, you will never know!

 

 

 

If -Rudyard Kipling

A very good morning to all!:) Thought I would start the day today by reading a very meaningful poem that I had stumbled across many years ago, and that cast an everlasting impression on me!

I thought I would attach a picture of my hometown (Dehradun) in India. This is on the way up to the mountains (Mussoorie) which is the start of the Himalayan range. This picture was taken during sunset. Very serene and a great view to look at and reflect/do some soul searching.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

By: Rudyard Kipling

Have a gorgeous day 🙂