A channel of your peace

Happy Sunday loves!

I hope you’re having a great one so far. Everyday on listening to the news, I always hear about all the suffering and hardships this world is facing. It is an era of unrest and turmoil. But it is also a world of compassion, kindness and love. We must not lose courage and strive to become a channel of God’s peace and love. There is always hope that one day we can all live together in peace and harmony.

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Below is one of my favourite hymns titled “Make me a channel of your peace”

Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring you love; 

Where there is injury, your healing power,

And where there's doubt, true faith in you. 

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope; 
Where there is darkness - only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy. 

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand, 
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

 

Amen!

 

Miracle Prayer

I have had a sudden urge to publish this and share it with all of you. A few months ago whilst attending mass at my local church, I headed to pray to the sacred heart of Jesus. This is when I saw this beautiful handwritten prayer titled ‘Miracle Prayer’ resting at the feet of the statue. I took a picture of it. I never really prayed using this particular prayer until recently, for a special request from God.

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” Dear Heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked for many favours, this time I ask for a special one (mention here). Take it dear Lord, dear Heart of Jesus and place it within your own broken heart where your father sees it, then in his merciful eyes it will become your favour not mine ” (To be said for 3 days)

Isn’t it just a sweet and beautiful prayer.

Image courtesy: straphaelslifeteen.com

 

 

40 acts and lent

I first came across what 40acts was all about on a busy day at work. It was 2016 and I remember worrying about all the jobs I still had to complete for the day and finish on time for once. Lost in my own thoughts and engulfed by all the tasks lying ahead of me,  is when I bumped into a friend and her colleague on the corridor. It was lent time and since all of us belonged to the same faith, the usual question of “oh, what are you giving up for lent this year” came up. I don’t think I had thought about anything in particular – maybe sweets/chocolates was my answer. This is when both of them told me that they were doing this 40 acts challenge. 40 acts are acts of compassion, kindness or generosity – however big or small, that you perform each day of lent, which enriches your soul. What a beautiful way of going through lent and enhancing one’s spiritual being. I thought I would pen down my 40 acts journey here – I am a bit late as I was poorly these past few days, but now I am on the mend, here goes (better late than never right?);

If this is something you might be interested in here is the link

40acts.org.uk

Day 5 – Favourite. 

Here is the challenge:

What are your favourite things? Favourite film? Favourite coffee shop? A view where you go to be alone? Get ready to fly in the face of your impulses – and give those personal favourites away. Give away the novel. Pass on the scarf you think someone would look fantastic in. Share the introvert hang-out spot.

I have always been an avid reader. Over the past few years I have fallen in love with the books written by a turkish author – Eli Shafak. My favourite one being – The forty rules of love. It was presented by my mother to me a couple of years ago – and is about the relation between the poet Rumi and his guru Shamz-e-tabrizi, one of immense love, trust, honesty and understanding. Here is a link on when I had written a bit about the book Reflections and Resolutions 

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You can also read more about it here – www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-forty-rules-of-love-by-elif-shafak-2021678.html

I would love to share it with one of you, if you are interesting in reading it. Just comment on here (not just like) and I will be happy pick one via a draw and contact you in the next couple of weeks to arrange sending a copy across to you 🙂

“You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God, because the service of this ministry is not only providing for the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God.”
(2 Corinthians 9:11–12 NET) – from 40acts 

Have a blessed lent!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to beat the January/February blues

OK, so now that the festive period is over we are all back to business and have the entire year ahead. A prospect both exciting and daunting. I always find the first two months of the year a bit of a downer after all those festive parties and making merry. But we can always use these initial months as an opportunity to reflect, re-organise and re-fuel, right? Here is how I try to get over the post-festive blues;

  • I don’t know about you but I am a personal fan of making lists – whether I achieve everything on it or not ;). It’s a great visual aid and go to check-list. So, first things first – I make a list of all the things I failed to achieve in the previous year, which can either be transferred on to the new year or I make a new set of major goals for the year.

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  •   I try to organise a weekend getaway towards the end of January or mid-february. Nothing super expensive or over the top – just somewhere out-of-town. This makes me have something to look forward to especially if I have assignment deadlines or exams. I am planning on going down south at the end of the month to attend my counsins’ engagement lunch – this is after 2 exams due in these next couple of weeks.

 

  • Doesn’t it feel amazing to step out in to the winter sun and breathe in the crisp winter air? A post-lunch weekend winter walk with some thinking time always helps me clear my head.

 

  • As one of my goals for 2018 is to cook more and order less take-away, I recently bought a vegetarian Indian cook book (after getting inspired by watching the Julia-Julie project). I have leafed through it and I must say it looks incredible. I am super excited to try some of the delicious recipes. I always feel this is a great time to make a start on whatever hobby excites you.

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  • I am planning to re-organize my wardrobe. I always try to pick one little home project to work on – whether it is the kitchen, a desk or a shelf that needs sorting. Getting rid of clutter or giving away clothes that I no longer wear to charity helps lighten my mind and might also help others in need.

 

  • Take time out to see that friend or family member I tried to pretty much meet all of last year but just couldn’t make it happen.

 

  • I plan to pray/meditate more these couple of months. If not everyday, at least once a week. I used to couple meditation with yoga, which was a great stress-buster, but could never persist with it everyday. The surya-namaskar in itself is a great way to keep both the mind and body healthy. For now, I am hoping to get back into it at least once a week.

 

  • Plan a destination for one sunny holiday for the year – now that is right up my alley. I was super lucky last year to be able to go not just on one but three amazing vacations – maldives (heaven on earth – for my honeymoon), Bali and Dubai and twice back home to India. I love exploring new places and cultures and of course also lounging at the beach and soaking up the sun.

 

  • Exercise. I totally feel bloated and lethargic after having no control over what I ate this festive period. So now is the time to give my body a break from all the over-eating and get it moving as opposed to lounging on the couch.

 

  • One little personal pampering treat – maybe I will get my hair done or a pedicure.

 

Hoping to incorporate some of these in the next few weeks to kick-start 2018.

I would love to know what you do to get over your post-festive blues! 🙂

 

 

 

A New Year and a “New” me

Goodbye 2017 – filled with bittersweet memories! And hello 2018! I have never been the kind of person to set a list of new year resolutions, usually the same every year – cook more, go to the gym, don’t leave everything last minute and stress, spend more time with family, meditate etc etc. Come first of Jan I’d start making all these salads, hit the gym, call my mum more often and organise my diary with full gusto. After not even a week (I am talking about a few ‘days’) my enthusiasm and will power would dwindle at top speed till I’d be back stuffing my face with takeaways, paying religiously for my gym membership and never going and studying for that exam until a week before. Such a nightmare! By the way, my last post about going on a diet totally failed!

But, this year is different and needs to be. I feel like I have totally started 2018 on a wrong note – by being daunted by all the mammoth tasks lying ahead of me. But, if you fail and fail again, you have to pick yourself up and keep trying right? Who knows, I might even be looking back at 2018 with a sense of satisfaction – feeling healthier, happier and at peace. I recently read a book by a celebrity nutritionist and fitness guru – Rujuta Diwekar. Her weight loss and health fitness mantra was simple, ditch diets and counting calories and eat small healthy portions of meals throughout the day, and enjoy indulging in that samosa or gulab jamun every every now and then. Now, that can also be applied to other aspects of life – ditch worrying about what will be or not, set small achievable tasks throughout the day and enjoy pampering yourself every now and then.

So here are my big goals of 2018

Work and study related 

  1. Pass all my masters exams x 3
  2. Pass my work-related exam
  3. Write a 20,000 word dissertation to complete my masters (and be organised so as not to have a melt-down last minute)
  4. Audit
  5. Complete writing that case-report

Health related 

  1. Cook every alternate day at least (just bought a vegetarian cookbook on amazon)
  2. Gym twice or thrice a week
  3. Meditate once a week
  4. Try being vegan for a week

Personal 

  1. Pass my driving test
  2. Go on holiday for some sunshine
  3. Weekend getaway with friends (been planning this for years now)
  4. Visit Devon/Cornwall
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Read 3 books (any suggestions will be welcome)

These are the big ones for now! 🙂 Will keep posting my progress on each and every one of them throughout this year. Lets hope for a good one.

Happy New Year and do let me know what your 2018 is looking like 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

eli-shafak

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.

health

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

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 🙂