9. Nurtured my feminine energy
I decided I wanted to put more of my attention on my feminine energy and nurture it. I felt that life had become very masculine and harsh and it had taken its toll on my feminine energy. I felt like a dried up flower.
So I started allowing myself to indulge in feminine practices. I started a new skin care regime (I feel like my life is an endless quest for good skin?? Anyone else??) and made sure I followed it religiously. I bought myself new make up and other luxurious beauty products. I took bubble baths. I wore dresses and skirts again. I painted my nails. I made an effort to dress in a way that made me feel beautiful. I wrote jewellery. I wore flowers in my hair. I got massages. I took the time to put delicious brazil nut body cream on my body after my shower every night. I felt like a cloud. I wore lipstick. I smiled more. I enjoyed sweet foods.
(NB: I haven’t learned to do much with my hair yet though. That’s still unchartered territory. )
Self-care became something I decided is important and made time for in my week.
And those was just the physical aspect of femininity. I also put my focus on the subtle side of femininity. Like….
I always kept fresh flowers in my home. I made my home beautiful. I tried to practice acts of caring by learning how to look after people, how to cook for people, how to make all people feel loved, respected, and taken care of. I worked on cute little arts and crafts projects. I wrote letters. I made hand made cards. I drew. I enjoyed watching children play outside in the sunshine. I chanted the lalitha sahasranamam every day. I tried to become a better listener. I tried to create and find the beauty all around me. I wrote poetry. I started speaking in a pleasant and positive way.
These things were so enjoyable for me to do and I feel like they helped me blossom into myself and fill my harsh edges with something soft and cherished. In the process, I started to FEEL more beautiful. I started feeling beautiful on the inside, and that changed everything in me. And the most important thing I learned from focusing on my feminine energy, was that I started to trust in my own worthiness.
10. I made a schedule and starting crafting my life
I then realized that I needed to do some serious life-planning. I needed to start arranging my life into the kind of life that I wanted to live. I thought about what is important for me in life. What are the kinds of things I would like to do, accomplish, experience? Once I got an idea of that, I started thinking about my day to day life, and how I could better structure my days so that they were aligned with my goals and values.
For example, when you look at the kind of life you would like to be living in lets say, 10 years. Do you feel that if you continue on the path you are on right now that you would get there? This is what I had to ask myself.
I realized that each day had it’s own colour and energy. But all my days were God’s days.
I tried to tie things together slowly. I started filling in my empty spaces with things that were important, and true, and good. It was as simple as thinking to myself “Hmm, I would like to read more books” and then arranging my day so that I was in bed 30 minutes earlier, giving me time to read. These small things helped me craft my life into how I needed it to be.
I’m still not there yet. It’s still a work in progress. But I’m learning.
11. I stopped dreaming and started doing.
There comes a time when you have to turn your dreams into reality. If you get stuck in dreams, you just burn through life, wasting your days away and end up having nothing to show for it. There is a time for dreaming and there is a time for doing. And I realized that this was the time for me to act, for me to create. So I started to put all my energy into making things happen.
I simply started asking myself what my heart desired. It was an wonderful question. It awakened in me so many beautiful ideas and intentions. And then I chose one and decided to make it happen. I had always dreamed of having a beautiful, clean, and sacred home. And now was my chance to create it. So I did. I dreamed of making delicious food. So I did it. Things like that. What does your heart desire?
I tried to keep busy doing good things rather than fantasising about how good it will be to do them. I realized that this robbed me off my opportunities in life. Of course, I always allowed myself to keep dreaming, keep hoping, and keep aspiring, because this is what fuelled me, inspired me, coloured me in – but I kept that secluded to a small portion of my day. For example, during prayer, or during my walk to the hospital. And every morning, I would ask myself “what does my heart desire today?”
And when my heart replied, I just tried to listen.
12. I stopped rushing
I stopped rushing because I realized I had no where to rush to. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. When I was on the journey, I was on the journey, and when I was there, I was there. At first, I felt a little bit aimless, homeless, and lost. Like I had nowhere to go because I belonged to nowhere. But as the feeling of home grew within me, I started to enjoy my journey. I started finding peace in all my journeys. My journey to work, my journey back home, my journey through life. I enjoyed all my walks. Walks in the sun, walks in the rain. Walks in the dark, walks in the bright light, walks in the cold, walks in the warmth. I stopped rushing to work. And I stopped rushing home after work. I walked slowly and consciously. I took scenic routes. I stopped to pick flowers for my room. I walked so that I go and sit in a beautiful place. I stopped rushing towards happiness. And instead I started walking towards friends, towards laughter, towards love, towards beauty, towards contemplation. And on the way there, I walked with happiness.
But this was not about walking. This was about not rushing. This was about being present and opening up each moment for what it really was. By learning to respect time and do things at a natural, beautiful and effortless pace, I was able to eliminate rush from all aspects of my day. And this enabled me to..create a sense of belonging within me in every moment of my life.
13. I learned how to relax by stop trying to relax.
One thing I noticed about myself was that I often used to “rush” to relax. I did whatever I needed to do as fast as I could so that I can relax. But I came to the understanding that when I did that, I stripped the beauty of all the things I had to do in-between now and relaxing. And these in-between things were the things that built up and make up my life. Did I really want to rush through 80% of what makes my life, and only find happiness in the 20% that exists in my relaxation? Something about that ratio was a little off.
The day I stopped desiring to relax was the day I realized that my life’s work was not to relax and take it easy, but it was to create goodness. And rushing to relax was the same as rushing through life, wishing my time on earth away.
So the most amazing part of this was that the moment I stopped caring about getting time to relaxed, I noticed that I actually be came more relaxed, during my busy times too. Everything I had to do slowly became more conscious and purposeful and relaxed.
14. I started to do what I needed to do.
There was so much stuff I had been avoiding in life. From small, simple things, to big things. I put everything off. I think it’s because I was afraid and I felt exhausted, like I didn’t have the energy to do all these things that my life required me to do.
But I did. And so do you.
There are things we want to do in life and then there are the things we need to do in life. Sometimes we can work ourselves into such a mess that we end up accomplishing neither.
Sometimes I literally had to make a list. A list of the things I needed to do, and a list of the things I wanted to do. And I tried to do them. Need first. Want second.
Why do I say need first? What makes the things you need to do more important than the things you want to do? Well, the things you need to do are attached in our dharma, our duties and responsibilities. Its connected to deeper aspects of your life, your identity, your role in your life. The pay off is greater. And the feeling you get from doing the things you need to do is incomparable. The task of accomplishing our responsibilities, our duties.
You can strike a nice comfortable balance. Maybe a 2 things you need to do for every 1 thing you want to do is a good ratio.
I don’t believe I can feel feel successful in life until I am doing the things I need to do. When I started putting first things first, I suddenly felt like I was living with life and not against it. And I could no longer feel stuck when the momentum of finished tasks kept propelling me forward.
The best way to get unstuck?
Do what needs to be done.
And there is always something that needs to be done.
15. I started to live life offline.
Sometimes I felt I was chained to the computer. I used it for all my studying and work, and used it for socializing (facebook), and for entertainment (watching movies etc). It was starting to drain my soul.
We live on the beautiful planet earth, populated with real people and opportunities and adventure. The world has so much to offer us. And I kept choosing to experience a virtual representation of everything. I guess that somewhere along the line, I felt I was being ripped off.
So I got off the internet, and connected with reality. I would give myself time to come online and browse and catch up on everything I wanted. But I started looking in other places for my adventures.
16. I did things that bring joy
Finally, I focused on JOY! And it was magnificent. I started doing things that would bring joy to my heart and the hearts of others. I would ask myself “what can I do to bring joy to the day today!”
If you had asked me last year to name all the joyful moments in my life, I would have had a hard time coming up with even one. It’s hard to believe but now I have actually started to lose count of the the joyful moments that I have experienced in the last couple of months alone.
Going to England to see my best friends after 4 years was a big one for me. In fact my relationship with my Emma and Becky even now makes me so damn happy. We talk on facebook every day and it makes me happy that we are so a part of each others lives even though the distance separates us. We also have fun games where we send each other a photo of our outfit of the day every morning. Or our manicure of the week. Or…the best game yet…a photo of our morning commute.
This game started because Becky has to endure a soul-draining commute through London. She started sharing photos (that can only be described as tragic) with us; where she sits cross legged on the floor of a busy train, directly face to face with a business man who is also sitting cross legged facing her. Awkward or what? So Emma and I responded by sending her photos of our beautiful, sunlit, walkable commutes. It’s kind of become our thing now.
There have been so many moments of joy in life recently! Like walking through Galway city on a gorgeous spring day. Picking flowers for my room. Photoshoots. Going for cocktails with Kat. Yoga. Drawing. Writing again. Skipping classes and going with my friend Sarah to the beach and sharing and ice cream and macaroons (because I always get something boring and she always gets something exciting and she lets me share). . Finally realising what is important to me. And Laughter. Oh, sooo much laughter.
My friends, thank you for reading and giving me the space to express myself. I am so grateful.
Ps. There is more inspirational spiel coming your way!