Becoming the main subject of your life
Let’s face it; most people are barely living – they are simply dragging. If you are living a life, which is not making you content from within, then something is very wrong and it needs correction. If you are doing work, only because it pays the bills and not because you are passionate about what you do for a living, if you are holding on to relationships only because they are familiar (even though they are toxic), and watching the world go by, day after day, month after month and year after year, instead of being excited, enthusiastic, full of life and passion, then your life needs an overhaul.
It is so easy to drown in multiple labels along our earthbound journey. Mother, father, sister, brother, friend, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, aunt, wife, etc! PHEW! By the time we are done performing for all these labels, we realize that we forgot to pay attention to what was really important. Who are you without your job? Who are you without your relationships? And what is the purpose of your life? If you are getting a headache and thinking – who the hell wants to think so much? Over thinking is such a pain in the a**! Aren’t these dilemmas to be faced in our 80s when we are done with all our goals? Well, spirituality is not a subject, which needs to be adapted once we are through with our usual goals and plans. It is something, which needs to be incorporated in our daily life, just like brushing our teeth and having a bath.
Just like yoga is not an hourly morning practice, but a way of life. Being in touch with your spiritual self assists you seeing other people’s spiritual self. This in turn also helps you drop the labels you may put on them and yourself – mean, bossy, critical, tardy, fat, skinny, ugly, lonely, greedy, lazy, etc. It also brings most of your focus inwards, which gives you endless and unlimited scope and energy to work on yourself and be happy. When you are in touch with your spiritual side, you automatically become more peaceful, present, calm and happy. And you stop attracting or entertaining corrupt foreign energy in the form of negative opinions and unnecessary messages. Slowly and steadily, it will help you get more and more in touch with yourself and you will give your body, mind and soul exactly what is needs in terms of nutrition, exercise, meditation, books, career, passion and vision.
Being spiritual may mean different things to different people. But its ultimate goal is to be authentic, in sync with the higher power at play, striving for something bigger than mundane labels and comprehending that you are a tiny spec on this giant canvas of universe, but your manifestation is crucial and important in the larger scheme of things. Aligning yourself with the universal source needs one to first get aligned with one’s own body, mind and soul. Once the channels are clear and the energy is clean, it is a breeding ground for magnificence and success in worldly forms and spiritual forms.
The best part is that it is a constant work-in-progress, and you are never really done. There is always scope for higher levels of consciousness, awareness and alignment. There is so much knowledge out there for you to get in touch with your spiritual side.
I highly recommend the following reads:
- A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
- Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
- You can Heal your Life – Louise Hay
- The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
- The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
- 7 Laws of Spiritual Success – Deepak Chopra
- The Untethered Soul – Michael Singer
- 11 Forgotten Laws – Bob Proctor
- Karla McLaren – Your Aura and your Chakras
- Healing the Inner Child – Thich Nhat Hanh
There are meditation techniques, affirmations, gratitude practices and other forms of healing exercises, which will help you get in touch with your spiritual being. This definitely remains one of the most important lessons when starting a journey, where you are your most important subject. Not the self-absorbed “me me me” you, but the authentic you!
Your journey will be incomplete if there is a lack of spiritual awareness. I strongly believe that change happens on the inside-out, whether it is in relationships, money, health or any other area. You have to learn to befriend yourself, respect your body; change your money beliefs on the inside first.
Looking after yourself
The term “looking after yourself” has become so trendy these days. It is so much more than luxurious living and fine dining and “me” time. Looking after yourself is making a deep commitment to your well-being and personal space. It is about being in tune with yourself so you can tend to every need of your body, mind and soul.
Looking after your physical body has been an obsession of almost all cultures. Magazines, diet books, blogs, weight loss products, miracle foods, miracle fat burners, detox teas, cold pressed juices, etc. are all introduced, reintroduced, recycled and promoted for people to take their physical well-being seriously.
Here is what needs to happen:
Respect your body: If you really think that life is all about binge eating, drinking and then going on some “detox” then you are sadly mistaken. This sort of an oscillation gives the body too many confusing signals and hinders it from performing at its optimum capacity. The idea is to be in tune with your body and be careful about what is going in. How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? How are your energy levels throughout the day? What is your dependency like on caffeine and energy drinks? How are you sleeping at night? How pleasant are your bathroom trips?
You really don’t need 100 books, diets and miracle foods to figure all these things out. If you are eating with awareness and listening to your body, then you know what foods make your feel good and energetic and what foods make you constipated, groggy, fat, lethargic and cranky. You are in better position to gauge things about your body than any other expert or nutritionist on this planet. I think, people give away too much power when they don’t take any responsibility for their dietary habits and needs. They often blindly follow fads and quirks and get disheartened when they don’t get the desired results.
Knowledge is definitely power and reading up on Vata, Pitta, Kapha, eating according to your blood group or your age group or your gender or your location are all great factual data, which can be utilized to tailor make your own plan of action. But if something is not working for you, then don’t do it. You don’t have to do it simply because it is “supposed” to be good for you. Why are some of us drawn towards mixed martial arts, while some of us prefer brisk walks? Why some people totally love going for yoga and for others nothing is more relaxing than training for a marathon? Because we all have different body types, stamina, likes, dislikes, personalities and journeys. No one book or one magical ingredient can change your life. Only you can change your life by taking charge.
Make a commitment: Looking after your body takes serious commitment. It is definitely something that should come naturally to everybody. Your body is the one place where you have to live till the end of time (in this lifetime), the one place where the insides have to function well, no matter what car your drive, what shoes you wear or what vacations you take. Your body has to last longer than any job, any relationship and any social commitment. So dedicate time to eating well, planning your meals, planning your exercise schedule and meditating. And remember, the idea is to sustain. Don’t let your health commitments and resolutions be like the most romantic dating period of a new relationship, which slowly turn into a boring mess. Let it be something that you will continue to do for the rest of your life, with alterations, depending on your situation. And if you fall off the wagon, don’t spiral down in self-loathing and self-deprecating monologues. Just get back on track.
The more you complicate things when it comes to diet and exercise, the harder it will be for you to sustain your routine. It is so strange that healthy eating (dieting) and giving your body some form of physical activity are viewed as punishments instead of things, which should be a part of our lives from the early days. There is absolutely no point in taking on things, which may be too difficult to keep up with after one or two weeks. The body has to feel light, energetic and clean. If your routine is not allowing these things, then you need to look into it.
Keep it under your hat: Your goals, your diet, your resolutions and your commitment are only for you to know and follow. There is absolutely no need to start telling everyone at social gatherings how drinking more water makes you feel amazing and how going gluten-free has changed your life. People will often consider this social smugness, especially if you are lecturing them on correct eating and not drinking at a dinner party or a family gathering. So keep the information to yourself.
However, if you are worried about falling off track, then just ask one person you really trust (hopefully someone who is not a nag) to keep motivating you about staying on track. The rest o the world doesn’t need to know.
And if someone does compliment you on your appearance, be gracious and thank them for noticing. If the conversation goes further, you can briefly inform them about the changes you have been making, if they are keen on knowing. But do not toot your own horn and go around telling everyone about clocking so many minutes on the treadmill and dropping two dress sizes when no one has even asked.
It is amazing how most of the socializing happens over eating and drinking. People are often catching up for dinner, drinks, coffee, etc. Have you noticed how it is really difficult for you to be aware of what you are eating during a group dinner? How you often feel like you have overeaten when you go for holidays in big groups, attend house parties or weddings? Well, the idea is obviously not to become an isolated being and not attend social gatherings. The idea, however, is to make non-social meals (95%) of your meals a meditative activity. Focussing all your energy on the food you are eating, instead of dividing your attention between checking social media, watching TV, taking calls and getting lost in thought and gobbling up your meal somewhere in between, is definitely not going to help you nourish your body. No matter which miracle food you eat.
Even if you eat your meals with your family every evening, make sure the energy at the dinner table is positive. However, I strongly suggest eating at least one meal a day in solitude.
Personal Hygiene and Impeccable Manners
I definitely think that high levels personal hygiene and impeccable manners can turn around your whole life. Now that we are on the subject of being the main subject in your own life, we are referring to being hygienic and having great manners even when you are with yourself. Let me elaborate:
Fix whatever needs to be fixed:
It is amazing how much trouble we all go through to look good for a boyfriend or for a big event. But when we are by ourselves, somehow we just don’t care for ourselves. Now, I am not suggesting wearing a ball gown and layers of makeup for a chilled out evening at home. But instead of resorting to expensive and artificial means for an impending event, why not make looking after small elements part of your routine? Things like wearing sun screen when going out in the day, brushing and flossing twice a day, using hair care products, taking vitamins, looking after your skin, etc. will ensure that you are not causing permanent damage to your skin, hair and teeth, which will only have to be reversed by way of expensive procedures, chemical overload and surgeries!
So get that cavity fixed before it turns into a root canal, use a pumice stone to remove dead skin from your feet and invest in bath products and tools to keep things fresh and clean. And trust me it is not just women who can benefit from these habits! There is nothing sexier than a man who is hygienic!
And as far as manners go, try to be just as kind and polite to yourself as you would be in a public setting. So look after yourself like you would expect to be looked after at a high quality spa! Treat yourself with space, dignity and respect at home; yes even when no one is around!
De-clutter your life:
Gathering more and more things, year after year has definitely become a disease of modern times. People are constantly on some accumulating spree and their homes are filled with piles and drawers of junk they don’t use or need. This dance between overspending and hoarding has left people with messy homes and mind fog. I have always noticed that I simply cannot think straight when my living area or work space is cluttered and messy. The importance of being organized cannot be emphasized enough. Most people’s finances, health, eating habits and closets are so messed up that it actually makes them feel more sluggish and lethargic. I definitely feel that a clogged up home or toilet is a sign of a clogged up system and life. It is a red flag that needs to be addressed:
- Be brave and discard whatever is no longer needed in your home or office. It is natural to think that you will use it “someday”, but someday leads to a town called nowhere! If you think that someone less fortunate could benefit from using some items then be a kind soul and donate them. Remember, to make space for the new, you have to get rid of the old. And the new stuff may not exactly appear in the form of “things” and shopping bags, but it can be the beginning of new experiences!
- Prioritize quality over quantity. I have learnt this lesson the hard way and I definitely have my husband to thank for it. I always thought that five of something mediocre is so much more fun than one of it, which may be of superior quality. But over the years I have realized that life feels so much more organized when you have few, quality things over hordes of things, which provide so called variety. And remember anything that is done to kill time in the short run is going to be far from helpful in the long run. Be it endless restaurant dinners to pass time and gossip or heaps of stuff you collected at a “mega sale”.
- Get your life in order with the help of fun apps, planners, diaries et al. When is your car insurance due? What time is the dentist appointment? How many times have you worked out this week? There is nothing more exciting than doing things in an organized manner. It simply melts the stress away. When you become more and more aware and organized in each and every area of your life, you will realize that you will simply stop dropping the ball on things. The credit card interest won’t pile up, you will suddenly not gain a lot of weight and you will start reaching places on time. This in turn will help you bring more joy in your life and discard the things that stress you out for no reason. You will also breathe better, sleep better and feel more energetic.
Make the right choices:
Believe it or not, most of our life today is a reflection of every little choice we have made along the way. While some choices may not have literally been our choices and may have been forced upon us based on our circumstances, today it is only our choices, which will give us the life we want. 10 years ago we may have chosen a career, which is no longer right for us, or we may have gone ahead with a major decision, which no longer makes sense in our current life. Instead of beating ourselves up over what is or blaming “them” for the things they forced / pressurized us to do, we can take control of our life starting today. As Maya Angelou rightly said – If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. There are some decisions, which can be reversed, and then there are others, which simply are what they are.
All you need to do is stop whining about the things you can change and have the courage to change them. And change your attitude about the things you cannot change and think of the best way to work things out around it in your present situation. Blame, criticism and complaining whether about yourself or about others is an absolute waste of time. It is also not something a winner would do.
When you become more conscious and aware, things around you begin to slow down. You don’t feel the sense of urgency in every situation. What this means is that you can take a deep breath and evaluate each decision, instead of being in a rush all the time and taking impulsive decisions. The idea is to stand tall behind your choices, which can happen only when your choices are made with complete awareness and you are willing to take full responsibility of the repercussions. This could hold true for something as small as making a new dish or something as complex as marrying the person you love.
Ask yourself – are you going ahead with a decision because it is making you happy, empowered, peaceful and confident? Or are you making a choice out of fear, anger, frustration and greed? I am guessing you know, which one is the right answer!