1000 Voices Speak for Compassion #1000 Speak

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Hello everyone, I’m sure many of you would have heard of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion movement here at WordPress…you can read about the lady who kick started this  Lizzi Rogers by clicking the link. When Serins of Serins sphere threw out an open invitation to join in, I jumped at the opportunity.

One of the best definitions for the word Compassion that I’ve read and completely agree with is that ‘Compassion is being able to recognise the suffering and sorrow of others and taking action to help’

When I think of compassion there is an incident that happened in the very recent past that comes to my mind and in this particular instance it was not a human being but an animal, that taught me a valuable lesson and made me think and gain a fresher perspective on this beautiful emotion that helps elevate us and realize the God’s spirit we were all born to embody.

We had a White Christmas here at Salt Lake this year. It was beautiful to see the snow fall and cover the rooftops and the trees and it snowed the whole day on Christmas and the day after.The day after Christmas is when my story begins. We had a visitor at our door who was none other than a  little cat. Though in the beginning I just thought it was the T.V, I later came to understand that the mewing and scratching we were hearing was actually happening outside our front door.

Now have I told you that I’m afraid of cats? I don’t hate them. All my life I’ve known people who have cats as pets. One of my Aunts had this huuuge Persian Cat at home and with all its snobbish airs you would assume it was the Shah of Arabia and we the lowly human beings it had so graciously allowed to sit in its kingdom/presence…but all said royalty or not, the moment these creatures come anywhere near me I freak out.

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So here we are inside. The husband and I were cleaning up and  it got to the point where we had three full bags of trash and we had to throw them out before the next round of cleaning could start and there was this cat mewing at the door. I tried shooing the cat away through a gap through the door and the husband had a wise idea – He got out the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming the living room. “ The noise should drive the cat away” he said.

Well it worked! I opened the door again and this time the cat was gone! I felt immense relief and volunteered to throw the trash. Little did I know what waited me by the stairs..

The story that follows will be narrated through the eyes of a panic stricken and extremely terrified woman. The moment I stepped out three huge bags of trash in hand, the cat came pouncing up the stairs and towards me. My heart raced at record speed and I started screaming for my husband and shooing the animal away at the same time. No husband came to my rescue as he was vacuuming away to glory and my bellowing outside the door got drowned in his enthusiastic dust busting…

The cat and I were now trash bag to paw – the cat was tugging at my trash bags with its paws I mean. My heart was now beating in my throat and my brain had flatlined…”Take it!” I screamed and dropped two of the three bags I had in my hand and frantically ran down the stairs to the trash can outside.

Once I disposed of the trash, I walked back mind filled with apprehension and fear only to find this was no nightmare – I was wide awake and the cat was still there and so were my trash bags with paper cups and plates spilt all over. The cat had established dominion over my front door and was now giving me the most iciest wide eyed stare.

Seeing I was back, it walked back towards me and settled on a stair just above where I was standing on the stair landing. Once again I shouted for my husband and at this point I realized it would be just me and the cat now and I had to do something about this…I took a few deep breaths and decided to get over myself.

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I looked at my enemy the cat one more time..but this time I didn’t look at it with fear rather with an open mind to understand what I was against. It looked back at me and I couldn’t help notice now with my change in attitude  it’s eyes were not harsh or barbarous but rather seemed to be pleading with me for mercy, for COMPASSION, to rescue it from the cold…It’s body was shivering as it huddled on the step drawing from its own body heat for warmth. I continued to look into its eyes and this time my mind was more at ease..If this was a talking cat who we will now name – ‘Puss on Stoop’, our exchange at that moment would’ve gone something like this…

Me: “Dear Cat, I hope you don’t think I’m being cruel…not letting you inside”

Puss on Stoop: “But please help me.”

Me: “I would if I wasn’t so scared of you”

Puss on Stoop: “But you don’t have to be scared, look at me, I’m freezing”

Me: “I see that, but its a childhood fear I’ve not quite outgrown, pictures of a lady maimed by her pet cat, I once saw in a magazine when in school is still fresh in my memory…I want to rescue you..but I don’t know how”

And then like an angel of God, my neighbour appeared with his girlfriend’s son, “Hi Nishi, were you planning to drop by the house?” Considering I was standing in front of his house too afraid to climb the stairs and go up to mine I guess that’s what it looked like..I smiled sheepishly and told him the reason I was there.

He took a look at the cat and informed me it was just a kitten and possibly a stray and slowly and gently picked it up from where it was. From the way the cat so quickly glided off the step and onto my neighbours shoulders you could say it was greatful to its saviour and that this was the moment it was waiting for all this time…to be held and rescued…My neighbour told me he would take it to a shelter where it would be safe and in the mean time he took it into his apartment. I thanked him and walked back home.

As silly and frivolous as this incident may seem the little cat taught me a lesson in compassion. Sometimes your fears inhibit conscious thinking. Your mind shuts down and you become blind and incapable of empathy. The opposite of love is not hate it is FEAR.

All the oppression and the brutalities that are going on in the world around us – the wars, killing of innocent children, the torture and lack of tolerance for people, ideas,views and groups all stem from fear and lack of patience to try and understand.

I hope we adopt a more open and broadminded outlook to life and help further build this ‘World Village’.Let’s try and create that world of compassion and brotherhood.Tiny drops….

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Monday Rambles – The Journal and the Writing process

Hey everyone, how has the New Year been? I know…I’ve been MIA, was just taking a small break after the busy holiday season to relax and unwind.

Taking a break is a good thing for the brain because it gives you a fresher and more renewed perspective on how to take your creativity forward. That said, taking a break beyond a certain period of time from a creative hobby can be detrimental as a break will lead you to lose touch and once the inertia sets in its so difficult to drag yourself out of the slump and all the writing you end up doing will be this

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image courtesy: http://www.pajamadiaries.com

As a blogger I feel its important to put out material on a regular basis and by this I don’t mean every single day as this might not be possible because sometimes you need to fulfill the obligations the other roles of our life imposes on us and your family will start sulking and complaining because you’ve served them microwave dinners three nights in a row…Life is afterall, all about balancing our ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ lives. So setting a schedule and not leaving your blog ‘fallow’ for too long is by all means ideal.

Talking about ‘inner’ life, a few days back after Ems had quite surprisingly gone to bed early and the husband was reading/researching something online, I had some time on my hands and I decided that before my writer’s block permanently froze for the whole of winter until spring when it would maybe melt and whatever creative juices were left oozed away never to be seen again, I had to write something!

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For a change instead of my laptop, I reached out for my new journal that I had bought at Barnes and Nobles for the New Year and started jotting down some ideas for the blog.

With the growing number of electronic contraptions in my life I hadn’t realized that the actual act of writing had fallen in the shadows and here I was ‘Journaling’ after a looong time :D.

As I wrote I felt like I was having a conversation with this ‘little mousy voiced sometimes in- your- face obnoxious person in my head’ (please don’t think I’m crazy)… I jotted down points and ticked those things that I agreed with myself and crossed out those things that I well, disagreed… I scribbled, I doodled, I drew pictures and stick figures and huge animated alphabets with eyes that grinned from line to line. I was having a ball!

Dawdles Doodles apart, as I continued to write things down, I could feel my thoughts were taking concrete shape and suddenly, I felt like a Jungle explorer cutting through the thick Amazon Rainforest leading my team onto a clear jungle path. I seemed to have drawn a tunnel from my outer world and into my inner mind…And I had a list of ‘workable ideas’ … Hurrah!

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I may not consider myself as a very “methodical” writer and though for most of the time go about it in a haphazard fashion, deep down I understand that ‘Writing is a process‘ and Brainstorming is the first step – for which a journal is a very handy tool!

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image courtesy: http://www.glogster.com

Writing on a paper or blogging may seem all the same since both have the element of therapy by themselves.

In blogging as we type, words flow from our subconscious and sometimes it even feels like an out of body experience where you feel like an outsider looking inside…you break free from the imaginary shackles that limit and hold you back and that is most possible when you write fiction; but, while writing pieces like this – rambles – I am conscious of myself and have an inner ‘thought auto correct’- editing, constructing, sometimes constricting my thoughts which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing, but having an opportunity to jot them down helps you get even more closer to your inner voice and your intuition.

Sure, there will be the tech buffs and gadget whizzes who can show me how modern styluses and computer softwares and apps can pretty much do everything that you do with a regular pen and paper on laptops, tablets and smartphones. Don’t get me wrong I am not against technology by any means and I whole heartedly with open arms accept all things into my life (living beings included ;D) that comes with a guarantee to make my life easier and help me save time.

And sure there are our efforts at reducing the ecological footprint. And in my search to find eco friendly recycled paper journals I didn’t have go too far and I found these on Amazon

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So, let’s not completely disregard the benefits of maintaining a real journal. Buy one, doodle in them and keep revisiting them every once in a while even if it is just for an hour because it really is a great way to de-stress and get in touch with your inner child. Fewer minutes of streaming ‘Bones’ or ‘Scandal’ or Downton Abbey’ and more streaming ‘stream of consciousness’ and suddenly you have some clarity on the things that have been bothering you because – let’s face it – a major chunk of the problems in our lives can be sorted out with a small shift in perspective.

So, what’s your experience with journaling or with technology? Please do share…And yes – Have a great week folks!

Monday Rambles – Easy steps to tackle Holiday Weight !

Ahh..My first ramble for the New Year…Of late I’ve noticed I’m getting slouchy when I sit..Maybe I should sit up straight…Hmm…I’ve placed the cushions to support my back to avoid the slouchiness but What’s that-  an unsightly ‘tire’ around my waist…I run my fingers across my face and I notice my nose is losing definition and my chin seems to have found a buddy..I’ve generally been feeling sluggish lately and my sleep patterns have changed….

Okay, I should just stop and not go further down on this road of self analysis and climb off the weighing machine it led me to… but its obvious – despite all my good intentions I’ve packed on the… ‘Holiday pounds’ (eeek!).

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I thank God for winter layering and puffy jackets

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I wonder what look George was going for here…but it couldn’t get any better than that jacket…

….because they provide an excellent cover up for all my misdeeds…Please no one invite me home for dinner because the heaters  will most likely be on which in turn will force me to let go of my ‘armor’ and you know how unforgiving those knit sweaters can be…I yearn for summer now so that I can just go back to wearing my loose airy tops.

So even if you are a ‘skinny minnie’ or a ‘chubby tubby’ like I am, we all want to lose those reminders of the Cocktails or  desserts or those cheesy casseroles that have so lovingly settled around your mid – section making you look even farther off from your ideal hour glass figure and more like a 1.5 litre bottle of Coke or Sprite or whatever your favorite type of soda is..or worse –

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Its just a matter of getting in there and battling the bulge – swish swoosh gone! (Who am I kidding,  I wish it were as easy as that but its not…) But let’s focus on doing things RIGHT this New Year and tackle this problem one baby step at a time…

1. No more mindless eating

There are moments when I become one with the food I eat..I love to eat and when a bowl of pasta is presented before me its just me and Mr. Spaghetti..but its high time we broke up with empty calories…Every item of food that you get into your hands and before it enters your mouth has to pass your very logical and sound left brain reasoning. You are not denying yourself or making a sacrifice –  If it’s high in sugar and sodium it most certainly NOT good for you. You could either share it with your colleague or whoever is close by and if they don’t want it just throw it in the bin. I hate to waste food but,you know what – ‘Better go waste than go to the waist

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2. There should be Water water everywhere

Water is so crucial and important to weight loss you just cant over emphasize the importance of drinking water. You really can never drink too much water and drinking water not just helps the kidneys work more efficiently in flushing out toxins from your body but it also helps the body to let go of the excess water that it has been holding on to as water weight thanks to all the sugar and salt we consume during the holidays.

The standard 8 glasses of water everyday has changed now everybody needs to drink half an ounce to an ounce for every pound that you weigh…So if you weigh 180 pounds you need to drink 90 ounces to 180 ounces of water every day..Sounds like a lot but the benefits are immense.

3. Take up a Hobby

Winter is hard  and with shorter days  and more time spent indoors. Hobbies that keep your mind and body active will help keep away those emotional triggers that automatically  lead you to the tub of ice cream in the freezer. Taking up a project that keeps your mind active and relieves stress is very important to balancing those hormones that lead to weight gain..So its okay sometimes to be maniacal and just immerse yourself in something you like to do as long as it keeps you from aforementioned freezer.

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4. You got to move it move it.

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(Okay did you just do a head dance while you played this video you know where you only move neck up and throw in a couple of weird expressions for effect? Its fun!)

Ahem, now that you’ve stopped watching the video, what I’m trying to say is that nobody lost weight just lying on the couch (unless of course you decide to go under the knife or adopt more radical measures that may lead to more serious consequences to your health and future well being).

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So cardio and stretching exercises need to be thrown in, in good measure..

Slowly and steadily..

Don’t see it as a chore. Just take up some activity like walking up and down the living room when the commercials are on

OR.. just playing that video we just head danced to and moving more parts of your body and not just the head..’I like to move it move it….

5. Positive affirmations 

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Who hasn’t heard about the power of positive thinking…’Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can acheive’ says Napolean Hill one of the greatest personal success literature authors of all time and most famous for his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’

Conceive a happier healthier version of you for the New Year and keep reinforcing and reaffirming those positive thoughts and Believe me we’ve got this!

Have a great week guys!

Happy Halloween folks!

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Happy Halloween folks! And no, that’s not my costume for the Halloween party tonight..After hours of costume foraging/hunting at three Halloween stores and crossing off options (Giant Pumpkin, Gothic Princess, Butterfly, Vampire..) finally found something “nice” at Zurchers and zeroed in on ‘Il diavolo’s wife’ or ‘She devil'(now you know why the nice was in quotes)

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red cape – check! horns- check!

Halloween is a Western Christian tradition with its origins in Celtic Christianity and is a day when you honor the memory of the dead. It was wonderful to learn that it is also a tradition that takes a tongue in cheek humorous approach to man’s sentiments toward death with all the funny costumes and dressing up on Halloween.

Ems has been down with the cold for the past few days – must be the changing weather and she’s a ‘pixie fairy’ this year and her costume and accessories are all set. The plan is to take her trick or treating basis how cold or warm it is here in the evening..what is everyone dressing up as tonight? Have a great day every one!

Monday Rambles – Mummy says…

Hello guys!..I’m coming down with something – a cold ?a flu? not sure yet, but I have a box of Kleenex ready and my laptop steady as I lie down on the couch and type out my Monday morning rambles for the new week.

I have no clue how I contracted the virus I’m not sure but I’m thinking its an allergy of sorts from the cold wind that blew saturday evening while I caught up on Selena Gomez and her hard partying ways and Oprahs ‘35 ways to make over your life‘ while the baby slept peacefully at the back of the car as the husband went into Best Buy to check on something – Men and their romance with electronics!

Anyways moving onto rambles. My mother has been big on Proverbs and sayings. Everyday she would dole out her pearls of wisdom at the end of every after- school conversation while growing up.The ‘Top 3’ as I remember them are

1. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.

2. Do not judge a book by the cover.

3. You are what you eat.

Now it was upto us my brother and I to take these words of wisdom and see how they held up as we tried to apply it in the real world and out there trying to put these sayings to practical use was tough. At the workplace I saw that people with the worst reputations were very quickly climbing up the corporate ladder, The lazier a person looked in his outward appearance most likely he was a ‘shabby snook’ in real life as well.

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With busy schedules it was not always easy to be mindful of what we ate.

I dont mean to discredit Mum just wanted to say that to apply Mums life lessons to everyday life was not easy. the ‘Real World’ was tough and the rules had to be applied in a different way to get through life while preserving your sense of self dignity and self esteem.

Maybe we’ll dwell on this together later. Have a great week guys!

Monday Rambles – Are you Grajoyous?

Hello Everyone! Yet another Monday! My apologies for my lackluster showing last week and a big “Thank you” to everyone who dropped by nevertheless to check in. Your visits are much appreciated!

Death is just the other side on the coin in the currency of Life and inevitable as it is, death and dying is always thought of with considerable fear and trepidation. I’ve sometimes thought about how it is that I would die. Not that I have a choice but, when the dark hooded messenger of death comes to me holding his scythe I would prefer not to have to acknowledge his presence and just die peacefully in my sleep..

It was a sad week for us in the family with the passing of an Uncle on my husbands side from internal bleeding following a fall as he went to get the morning paper. What was even more tragic was that he passed on the day of his wife’s tenth death anniversary. This news was closely followed by the news of the death of one of the worlds greatest entertainers Robin Williams. Both me and my husband are big fans of the comedy icon and so it felt like a week of tragedies.

I wonder how it would feel to be ‘ready’ for death. the more I think, the more I’m convinced that the feeling will only come from truly living this life ‘Grajoyously’ and Yes, I made that word up. Being ‘Grajoyous’ to me entails having –

1. Gratitude – for everything in your life, the health, the wealth, happy moments, the sorrows, the struggles, the good friends and family who support and nurture you, the frenemies and the mean monsters that keep you grounded and on your toes. There is so much in life to feel gratitude for!

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2. Joy – Joy in life comes from the choices you make in life. The God spirit in you has given you the power to make choices in your life. Choose Happiness. 🙂

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Talking about Joy on a lighter note.. I love chocolates. Dark, Milk, White, In any flavor possible – Its my happy addiction. I keep telling my friends if ever there was a rehab for chocolate addiction maybe I should check myself in (?)

We are a family of chocaholics and as the saying goes ‘the apple doesn’t fall too far away from the tree’ and so I find my daughter is following suit. Despite our resolve to banish chocolates from the house we gave in to Ems crying at Ikea the other day and got her a bar of their delicious hazelnut milk chocolate..It was hot and sweltering and by the time we walked back to the car the chocolate had already half melted. Well, long story short we ended up with quite a mess in the car seat at the back.

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Have a Grajoyous week folks!

Monday Rambles -Fantasy Size Triple Zero and Digital brains

Hey everyone! How are you all doing? Friday evening flowed into Sunday and then the start of another week and here we are on the first Monday of August..

Woke up and headed straight to the weighing machine (Its a  Monday morning ritual..wake up- go the bathroom- weigh myself) and I felt sad to see that Sunday brunch with friends at the Indian restaurant downtown had not been very forgiving…that and the carbolicious dinner at home late at night while watching Fargo on Netflix with the husband (such brilliant writing and  wonderful performance by actress Frances McDormand.)

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Oh well, a brand new week, a brand new struggle…As they say weight loss is a ‘journey’ not an overnight miracle..One of my favorite fantasies is waking up one day in the morning looking like a Victoria’s Secret model..bit much? Fairy Godmothers are only in fairy tales after-all..Zero_Skateboards_Skull_Logo.jpg (413×496)

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to promote the Size zero and whats this I hear? the latest trend-  Triple Zero where women are trying to fit into clothes with 23 inch waists and what 6 or 8 year olds would wear? Hello Ms. Frankel!

I have clothes ranging from a size 10 to size 16 in my closet right now. Over the course of
time, I have accepted myself the way I am, through diet and excercise I am currently at a place where I am happy with myself.

I must say, growing up it was quite a struggle. A poor body image can wreck your self esteem and your sense of self respect and when that happens its the worst feeling in the world. You become your own worst enemy and people pick up on those vibes and you discover nothing seems to work in your favor. You can turn things around ladies and gentlemen.. 🙂

The key lies in self acceptance – before anyone else, You need to accept You..body, mind and soul. As long as YOU are  happy and healthy everything else will be fine..Do whatever it takes to get to that point. And by whatever I mean eating healthy 80 percent of the time and leading as active a lifestyle as your situation permits.. Let your light shine through..

We’ve been talking about the body now moving on..reading is one great way to nourish the mind. This weekend, much to my disappointment I had to return a couple of  books I had borrowed from the library without as much as flipping the pages of some.

I don’t know if this happens to anybody who is reading this, but I’ve noticed sometimes when I read a book my eyes scan the words and my brain is not necessarily taking in the meaning and by the time a paragraph is done I have to go back and read the whole page once more. Well, I googled it (side effects of the times. You’ve got to google everything!).digital-brain.gif (605×375)

Guess what! apparently humans are developing ‘digital brains‘.Yes, you read right. According to cognitive neuro scientists our brain circuits that have developed over millenia which helped us to focus on deep reading is now being replaced with new circuits that don’t focus as much from continuously skimming through torrents of information online..

 

Well hopefully its not permanent and can be reversed. As wonderful as it is to have information at your fingertips, the beauty and joy of reading can and should never be replaced..On that note wishing you all a great week ahead!

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