Birthdays have always been my favourite day of the year. It’s a celebration of life, and it’s a reminder of how fleeting and precious all of this is. Birthdays used to come at the end of a slow walk around the sun. Now I leap and run and cartwheel and fly. Life gets faster. But it also gets better.
Reya turned 3 this January. I thought I would reflect on some of the biggest parenting lessons I’ve learned as we stepped into the toddler years.
Hello! I’m back, after a 2 month hiatus. I have lots of interesting articles lined up to share over the next few weeks. Today I wanted to start with an intentional living topic. I have a page in Notion called “This works” where I collect a list of small changes and ideas that have had a big impact in my daily life. I thought I’d share them with you today!
✨ Spend 10 minutes a day doing a digital declutter for 30 days. Then keep up as required.
✨ Approach your job like it’s your hobby, and your hobby like it’s your job.
✨ Make one low-waste swap every month.
✨ Listen to/watch videos on 2x speed (when the purpose is to extract information.)
✨ Embrace the reverse sleep-in (especially for parents) and go to bed really early.
✨ 10 minutes HIIT on the treadmill (1 minute sprinting, 1 minute walking)
My husband does this hilarious impression of me. He pretends we’re in the middle of a really tough work-out, and in the middle of the struggle, he, as me, pauses and says “I am not a woman. I am not a human being, I am a FORCE of LIFE. The power of the universe runs through my veins. Come on let’s do the next set!”
It cracks me up.
I don’t actually do this (okay maybe I have once) but it is a subject that I’ve talked about with him a few times.
I noticed there are certain moments when I feel as though I break through the some of the very normal constraints of being a human being in this physical body, and somehow access a different dimension of myself.
I think of my self containing a physical body, an emotional body and an energetic body. Most of the time I dwell in my physical and emotional body. On the rare occasion, I activate my energetic body – and when this happens – this is what I describe as the feeling of transcending from a person to a force of life.
Time spent in this state are powerful periods of creation. Things just happen, everything flows, and concepts are brought to life.
There are three activities that I have identified that makes me feel this way;
Wowowowow. Hold up. It’s not even Christmas yet, not even Thanksgiving, and I’m already talking about New Years Eve
Well, if you’ve been here a while you must know by now that New Years is my absolute favourite! And my preparations for it begin in late November, so yes, we do have to talk about it now.
Here are some of my annual rituals that create that New Year magic!
Declutter & donate
From the beginning of December, I begin my annual declutter. Creating physical space in my home brings a sense of lightness that I crave in the new year.
What can I let go of this year? How can I live a little lighter? In the past I have done this room by room, but this year I will try working through Marie Kondo’s categories of clothes, books, paper, komono, & sentimental.
I also pay particular attention to my digital clutter. For me, digital clutter is more overwhelming than physical clutter! My Evernote overflows with notes upon notes of my thoughts and musings. However, I have learned that even spending a quick 10-15 minutes a day organizing my laptop, documents, photos, and Evernote, makes a big difference!
This parenting experience I am having is truly fascinating. I’ve spend the last almost 3 years building this brand new relationship with a brand new human being, and yet, I’m the one who feels brand new.
My daughter invites me to examine life more closely. To experience simple things with more depth and intention. To see so much of myself mirrored in another person. Everything has become a giant question mark, and life is more exciting this way.
Reya is almost 3. And there is a lot going on at almost 3. I’m just trying to keep up.
My very best parenting lessons come when I pay attention.
One day, I was paying attention, and I noticed that whenever Reya does something that I do not like or approve of, my go-to phrase is “That isn’t very nice, Reya.” or something of that variety.
Getting in alignment
You may or may not know that I am currently in the midst of applying for Internal Medicine residency in the US. It’s been a long journey to get to this point – it is an important story that I look forward to telling you very soon.
As of right now, I’m in the middle of it, and I will say that I feel really good about where I am. I am happy and excited; not out of optimism, or even out of belief that I will match and reach my goal, but just genuinely glad to be here. Enjoying the process, and finding joy in the steps along the way. It is refreshing to live my life from this perspective, and it is new for me.
I thought it was interesting that despite not yet having attained my goal (of being accepted into a residency program) everything feels like it is unfolding beautifully, and I feel pleasant and at peace.
I realized that this was perhaps the first time in my life that I not only created a vision for how I wanted something to look (in this example, my career), but for the last 2 years I have been consistently taking aligned action. Every single thing I did reinforced my vision.
I hypothesize that simply the act of spending a length of time moving in one direction creates the ideal conditions for transformation of self and life.
So then I thought – hmm, what about other areas of my life that feel stagnant or meh or are not looking at all the way I want it to?
If you’re caught in an awful procrastination cycle
- Take a life admin day – a whole day devoted to running those pesky errands.
A few weeks ago I came across an Isha Hata Yoga instagram post, which shared a quote from Sadhguru about akashic energy.
“To nourish the human being into a greater possibility, it is very important how the water, the air, the earth, the fire and the fifth dimension, which is the largest one, the space or akash, behave. Today, modern science is recognizing there is something called as akashik intelligence; that is, empty space has a certain intelligence. Whether this intelligence works for you or against you will determine the nature of your life, whether you are a blessed being or one who is going to be knocked around for the rest of your life.
If you know how to get the cooperation of the akash into your life, this will be a blessed life. An intelligence that you have never thought possible will become yours, because an intelligence which is beyond your understanding and grasp is right now functioning right here within you, isn’t it? It is that intelligence which is holding the whole cosmos together; it is that intelligence which is the womb for creation. It is in the womb of that intelligence that all creation is happening, and it is not denied to you. Access is not blocked, it is just that you have never looked that way.
So to get the cooperation of the akash, there is one simple process you could do. After sunrise, before the sun crosses the 30-degree angle from the horizon, look up at the sky once and bow down to it for holding you in place today. After the sun crosses 30 degrees, sometime during the day, any time, look up and bow down again. After the sun sets, once again look up and bow down; not to some god up there, just to the empty space for holding you in place for today. If you just do this, life will change dramatically. If you consciously do this three times a day, if you get cooperation from akash, life will happen in magical ways.”
I decided that I would do this every day. Though I was earnest in my intentions, the practice initially felt somewhat mechanical. I would stand by the window or on our balcony, look up at the sky and express gratitude. After a week or so, my daughter decided to join me. It was very sweet. On one particular day, I was standing at my window in meditation, while she played in the living room. But, when I opened my eyes, she was beside me, facing the window with her eyes squeezed shut and palms together. It made me smile.
This went on for a couple of weeks.
A daily existential crisis
And then, Reya started to take a special interest in the planets, solar system and space. We’ve been watching videos, having conversations, and reading about it. At night she likes to fall asleep to the sound of me reading a wikipedia article about a space related topic (haha). What began as me simply delighting her curiosity, ended up with me tumbling into it too. I would continue to read after she fell asleep, and noticed a gradual inner restlessness build within me. I joked that I was having a daily existential crisis after she slept, but truthfully, it really shook me up. I read about the beginning of the universe, the birth and death of stars, and other monumental cosmic events. I look at the dark and glittering photos of space on reddit, and sometimes it sends shivers through my body.
You cannot become the person you want to be when you are focused on the behaviour of another person
Why did they do that/say that?
I wonder what they meant by that?
Why did they use that tone with me? They must be upset/angry/sad with me etc.
What do they think of me?
What are they thinking about the situation?
When I find myself in a situation where I am tangled up in a web of worry and restlessness based on one of these thoughts- I remind myself that what I am doing is focusing on the behaviour and thoughts of another person. These are two things that I have no control over, and quite frankly, is not my business.
When you focus on another persons behaviour, a couple things happen.
Firstly, you spend a lot of time, energy and emotions on something you cannot control. It’s needless emotional labour, and it tires you out.
Secondly, you forfeit your opportunity to be the person you want to be.
As soon as I notice I am feeling anxious about something, I ask myself “is this about the behaviour/thoughts of another person?” If yes, I step out of my stories, and ask myself “Who do I want to be in this situation? And what can I do/say/act that is in accordance with that?”
And I do that thing. This is my way out.