2018, A Year of Self-Discovery, Personal Health and Well-Being

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As the new year descends upon me, I look back on this past year wondering where it went and what happened; that’s how quickly it has come and gone. But you know what they say, when you are having fun, time flies. A fun year it has been; a year full of self-discovery and new adventures with a strong focus on my personal health and well-being. I started off my year with a commitment to being healthy.  I went through a four-month detox to heal my gut and am happy to say that I am off all my allergy and eczema medications. I started meditating daily and yoga has finally become a weekly practice.  Exercise, time in nature, reading and a continual commitment to learning and giving back has become part of my daily life.  While I still enjoy my nights out and beautiful things, there has been a major shift from the outward to the inward, end result, I have never felt better.

From a spiritual level, this past year has been full of so much learning, growing and evolution.  While there have been so many lessons, the one that has had the most impact on me this year is to BE YOU all the time.  No matter where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing, I have learnt to make sure your intentions and actions reflect who you are and not what you think others want you to be like.

It is easy for us to get lost and lose ourselves in a society that tends to please and follow others and one that often looks to others for acceptance and love. However, every time we do what we are “supposed to” or what we think others want us to, we lose apart of who we are. For me, this has been particularly prevalent growing up in the Indian culture where we are often defined by the many roles we play; daughter, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister, employee etc.  We often play these roles from defined expectations, because that is what we are taught and the only way we believe we will be accepted and loved. However, I have learned that there is only one way to BE in this world and this is to BE YOU. By being you, and having your intentions and actions reflect who you are (whether at work, at home, or out with friends), you can still fulfil the many roles that have been brought upon you in this life, only now those roles are expressed from a place of authenticity. When there is authenticity, there is love, and when there is love there is success. When you are YOU, things flow and come with ease.  When you are YOU, you express the higher version of yourself and receive the greatest level of fulfillment.

Happy New Year’s Everyone! Cheers to Living and Being Higher!

Rising up to Resiliency

Let’s empower our children and give them the tools to be resilient. In doing so, we lay a strong foundation for their future and their ability to thrive through all that life brings their way.

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I have gotten a lot of advice over the years on how to raise my kids; from food, to discipline, to schools, to how to interact with them. Some advice has been helpful, while others, not so much. However, there has always been one piece of advice that I have heard and continue to hear that has always bothered me – that kids are resilient and can overcome anything, so I shouldn’t worry so much about how change or decisions will impact them. I have heard this many times, and it has always been said in a way that assumes kids are automatically resilient and adapt to any situation because they are young and able to bounce back. Every time I hear this, I bite my tongue and often smile in agreement to avoid debating the topic. But in my head, I am always thinking if they were so resilient, why do we have so many kids that are “screwed up”, why are so many kids “acting out”, and why do we have so many kids that lack self-esteem and confidence. More importantly why do we have so many adults with issues that stem from their childhood and the experiences they had.

Let’s face it, kids are not as resilient as we think, and it certainly does not always come automatically. Each child is unique and is at their own level of resilience. Many often appear to be resilient at first, because they are too young to understand, and don’t have a voice in many of the decisions that impact their lives, so they often make the best of a situation. We, as parents, see this and believe they are ok because that is what we want to see and believe, only to wonder “what happened” or “what went wrong” later on when our kids aren’t stepping up and living to their fullest potential.

I have found what appears to be resilience at first is often short sited without any consideration to long term impacts, and the cumulation of various events and experiences on them. I see it every day in kids young and old and I see the impact of childhood experiences carried through in adulthood.  Resilience is not automatic, and instead of assuming that it is, let’s start empowering our kids with the tools to become resilient.

As my awareness has expanded over the years, my parenting style has shifted to align with it.  As a result, I have focused on teaching my kids how to be resilient instead of continuing to let time take its course and hoping for them to be “ok”. Resilience is incorporated everyday into our family lifestyle, through open communication, dialogue and practice.

There are many ways that I work on building resilience in my household and they all center on being mindful and aware.  One of the tools we use is my ASFLM process. Whatever negative situation or feeling we are going through – whether it is big or small – we Acknowledge it, Sit with it and Feel it, Let it go, and make a plan to Move Forward.

Acknowledge It – I teach my kids to acknowledge what they are feeling and be honest as to why they feel that way. Acknowledging is easy but being honest about why you feel a certain way is much harder. It is not always easy to admit the source of what is going on behind those feelings (perhaps it is insecurity, jealousy or competition), but if you can be truthful with yourself, then you are half way to moving on. This involves time and reflection, and I find the best way to acknowledge is by sharing and talking it through. Sharing doesn’t have to be with a person, it can be done by writing in a journal as well.

Sit With It & Feel It – No matter what the emotion, sit with it and feel it. It is ok to feel sad and cry, and it is ok to be angry and hurt. I have taught them to feel their emotions as opposed to sweeping them under the rug and pretending everything is ok.

Let It Go – While we want to feel our emotions, we don’t want to stay in a negative place. Once we have felt our emotions and understood them, I have taught them to make a decision to let go and release them. It is at this point that we make a commitment to a new way of thinking and feeling. Yoga, meditation, music, exercise, being in nature and visualization have been instrumental in helping with this process.

Move Forward –  Lastly, we set goals and make a plan on how to move forward and change how we feel or adapt to a new situation. This may involve something as simple as recharging your mind by doing something you love, or perhaps it involves something bigger and taking specific actions, like deciding on how to interact with a difficult person or letting go of a certain friend or activity. Taking action is critical to moving forward.

Life is full of ups and downs, and there will always be changes and challenges our children will face along the way. I believe every child is capable of being resilient, however, let’s not assume its automatic. Let’s instead empower them and give them the tools to be resilient.  In doing so, we lay a strong foundation for their future and their ability to thrive through all that life brings their way.

Originally published in Thrive Global December 3, 2018

For Every Time….

For every time we pose for a picture, it would be nice if we spend a few moments looking at that picture remembering who we really are, what we stand for and what we believe in.

For all the money and time we invest in materialistic things, lets also invest in ourselves. Invest in our personal growth and spiritual, mental and physical health.

For every time we go out and have fun with our friends, let’s plan a night in, relaxing with those closest to us, celebrating and loving who we are.

Every time we learn something new, or achieve a goal, let’s take the time to give back and teach others how to climb higher and achieve their goals as well.

Every time we go out with our friends, to the latest restaurant or happening place, let’s make sure we focus on who we are with as opposed to where we are at.

Every time we judge someone for acting, believing or doing something in a certain way, let’s stop, and take the time to find something good in them. Compliment them, support them, and respect them, even if they don’t have the same opinion as us, or we don’t believe in everything they do.

Every time we walk outside, let’s take a few moments to enjoy where we are and see the beauty around us.

If we spent just a little more time on the things that matter, we would be better people and our world would be a better place. It’s the people, places and moments that matter!

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

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As 2017 comes to an end, I reflect back on my year, my accomplishments, the adventures I had, the new friends I made, and the laughter, love and heartbreak I shared with those closest to me. One of my biggest accomplishments this past year was starting my blog and sharing my story with the intent of inspiring others. While I wasn’t able to keep up with it as much as I originally had hoped, I did manage to churn out 12 articles on heartbreak and loss, forgiveness, parenting, and self-awareness. It wasn’t an easy decision to put myself out there and share my story with everyone, particularly coming from a culture that does not openly share. However, I changed my life over the past several years and was able to turn heartbreak and hurt into something good and meaningful, and I wanted to share my journey. I am truly blessed for all the support and love I have gotten, including the messages, the comments, the hearts, the likes, and the many conversations over coffee. What has truly touched me the most this past year, is those that have reached out and told me that it made a difference to them — that means the world to me, as it is the whole reason I started this blog.

For me there have been so many lessons this past year, but I want to share with you in my last blog of 2017 the most important one. Tomorrow is promised to no one, today is all we have, so be here now, be present and be in the moment. No matter what you are doing, playing with your kids, working out, taking a walk, having dinner with friends, be all in, relish in the moment, feel it and truly live it. The present moment is all we have and recognizing it and feeling it, is the essence of really living. So, stop and be, and you will see, feel and experience things you have never noticed or felt before.

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018, here is to a new year of adventures, opportunities, love and laughter, and to continuing growing to a higher level.

Happy New Years!

Naina

-Live & Be at a Higher Level-