Manifestation

I’ve been radio silent for a while now. Nothing wrong…just enjoying the BEING PRESENT in my life. Not doing more than I need to. Listening deeply to the needs of my body and my soul.

Working Out
Eating Well
Sleeping Deeply
Meditating Daily
Playing Regularly
Smiling Frequently
Cooking
Reading
Breathing
Laughing
Giving Thanks Daily.

Life is good.
But I just had to jump on here to share some major news with you.

But first…

You may not know this about me, but travel is in my DNA. I have been traveling since before I could walk and my family kept a rigorous pace of travel for the first 20 something years of my life. Thereafter came school, college, responsibilities etc. Despite that, I still managed to travel to new places.

Then career, marriage, home, more responsibilities, kids and even more responsibilities.

Travel took a backseat.

Don’t get me wrong. We go places as a family. We have traditions that I am thrilled we’ve started with the kids. Sedona for Spring Break. Carlsbad for a week in the summer. Camping in Montaña de Oro each summer and visiting family and friends in the Bay Area regularly. I am very excited that this year we’re going to Zion for Spring Break! This is a major bucket list item for me, and I know the kids are going to love it!

But this is different from travel. Travel for me is when we experience different cultures, cuisines, conversations, costumes and truly expand our mind to a new community. Walking the streets of Ulm in Germany or Bern in Switzerland, Brugge in Belgium, Salzberg in Austria, Barcelona in Spain or any other city/town/village/country we’ve never been to before, to soak it in, to live as if we were locals even if just for a week. This is my definition of travel.

That is something I haven’t done in nearly 20 years.
And I miss it!
It’s a physical ache in my heart.
Nothing or no one to blame here.
Just the circumstances of my life.
No regrets, no disappointments.
Just a void that needs filling.

So, this year I started to work on manifesting this. Anything that we truly want, that we want so badly that we can see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, and get emotional over it BEFORE it happens, can manifest for us. I don’t think I need to tell you that this DOES NOT work to wish ill for anyone else. This ONLY works on yourself. This is best used for your and your world’s greatest and highest good.

So back to travel.

Imagine if someone told you that you couldn’t walk anymore.
But there’s nothing wrong with your ability.
Just that you just can’t because of circumstances.
That’s how I was beginning to feel.
Cut off from a big part of my soul.

So, I set to work.

In my meditations, I imagined being at gorgeous locations, places I had only yet seen in pictures. (Luckily this is an easy one to manifest since pictures outside your mind’s eye exist to provide you with an easy reference.. vision board anyone)

And then, last week…it happened.

My friend Mo texted me; “Check your email” she said.

I was in the midst of kids’ night time routines, so I didn’t get to it until a couple hours later.

She was inviting me to go with her as her plus one on what sounded like the opportunity of a lifetime! TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS!!!

Now, remember I said, I have traveled all over before I turned 20.

I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica and South America.

Now, I get to cross one very significant Bucket List item off! South America, and in particular the Galapagos Islands.

This is happening ladies and gentlemen.

I dreamed it, I wished for it, I imagined it, I saw it, I visualized it, I expressed gratitude for it, as though it had already happened.

I had NO IDEA where, or how, or when, or with whom this would come about. This dream to go someplace I haven’t been before. I just knew that I wanted it so badly, I could imagine myself on a plane going somewhere with a dizzy anticipation! The kind of anticipation I had when waiting to see if my p-stick would indicate a dark purple line affirming I was growing life inside of me. It was so real in my meditations, in my imagination…not the location. Not the place. Just the ‘going.’ I wasn’t tied to going to anyplace. I just wanted to go!

And so, go I will.

Watch this space in the months to come to see incredible pictures and hear about our travels as they unfold.

I showed up for myself, and quieted my monkey mind, refused the chatter of my analytical brain telling me that this was just impossible.

My entire life is a testament to the words of the great Audrey Hepburn.

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible.”

Resonance

Since the beginning of September, I have had the opportunity to speak about Putting the Oxygen Mask on yourself first for quite a number of audiences. These varied from parents groups to small business owners and most recently to a group of single parents (mostly moms, and 1 dad!) who are trying to elevate themselves and their families out of poverty through education.

This is something that is so dear to my heart on so many levels. As someone who was born and bred in India till age 21, I recognize first hand the impact of education on someone’s life. My earliest exposure to the power of education was at 12 when for community service, I worked with a nonprofit that provided education to slum children. We would go into the slums to extricate the kids, some as young as 5 – whose parents would rather have them working/washing dishes/cleaning than send them to school for a few hours. My favorite memory of that time is this young girl who curled up in my lap to study. She wouldn’t sit in a chair. She had to sit in my lap. But when the words made sense and she could read a sentence; the joy in her eyes and her face brought tears to my own.

Education is a powerful tool. It is THE ONLY tool to fight prejudice, disease or ignorance.

But I digress…so – a couple weeks ago, I spoke to this group of single parents. The thing that struck me as a shortcoming in my presentation as I reflected later was that of the 2 hours that I had with them, I spent more than 1/2 that time setting the stage about the things we DO to ourselves right now; how we only take the dregs of the day, how we put the needs of everyone in our lives before our own and this includes community and volunteer service too, how we don’t think of our own needs to rest, restore, repair, but would never dream of running our kids ragged the way we run ourselves ragged. I spent so much time articulating the things that we do that we must strive to change, that I feel like I shortchanged them on the tools to actually implement that change amidst a hectic schedule like theirs – kids, work, full load of college classes.

As always, I stuck around after the class to see if anyone wanted to share, ask suggestions for implementing mindful moments or anything else we had covered during the class. Two women came up to me, one at a time. One, from Mississippi said that she was on her own journey of change and could totally relate to everything I had said. She was hesitant to ask, but then took a deep breath and asked if she could reach out to me afterward to share more with me. I couldn’t whip out a pen fast enough for her. I have had so many people give me that time in my own life, lend me an ear, a shoulder, a kind word, that it is my honor and privilege to pay that forward when I have the opportunity. We ended in a hug that was so meaningful to both of us; we stood in the embrace a lot longer than the average 2 seconds and what was powerful was that, while I am sure it was good for her – it was incredible for me. My body settled, I could feel the blood coursing through me and it’s a little hard to describe – but I just felt like I was floating.

The second lady came up to me a few minutes later. She shared that she had not planned to attend class today because she was so tired all the time. But, something made her come and that she is glad she did. She wouldn’t share what, but the emotions in her voice told me that it really resonated with her. She just kept saying that everything I said resonated, she just felt her shoulders fall away from her ears when I put them through the 3-minute box breathing and meditation. And then I was again struck by the urge to hug her. So I did. Now here’s what’s interesting – she tried to ‘complete the hug’ on a couple of occasions – that is, move away after the cursory 2 seconds, she even was patting my back the way you would pat a child’s back, and she kept ‘fidgeting.’ I found myself just standing there in an embrace with her that would not quit. I found myself really grounded, at such peace. And then the dam burst. And everything that she had been holding in released and she sobbed, and THEN she finally settled down and allowed her body to be still.

Truly and completely still.

That’s when we knew it was time to break the embrace.

It was probably cathartic for her, but oh so powerful for me. It appeared that my body and mind were acting in tandem, but without me. I wasn’t driving this. I didn’t make an active decision to hug either of the two women. I feel like my soul responded to their souls because somehow the combination of words that flowed through me that morning resonated with them deeper than they expected.

On a whim, I just looked up the word Resonance. I am not sure why I chose this to be the title of this blog post. But – apparently it is perfect for what I want to share.

res·o·nance: PHYSICS the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object.

I realized in that moment that I had shared exactly the way this group needed to hear. That in order to implement any of the tools, they had to understand that I understood them, that I may not be a single parent, but I too have worked myself to the bone.

I too have worked so much and so hard that when I could finally take a small breather, I fell sick. And that this happened over and over again for years.

I too have put the needs of everyone around me first, because that is what I was programmed to do.

I too have felt the guilt of taking time for myself.

I too have worked harder than needed, just because I thought I had to prove myself, but then never just worked hard. Continued to give 200% even when there was nothing left in me and I was making myself sick. There is something to be said about doing an excellent job, but doing it in balance.

I realized that in just sharing my story, my story of how I got here in the first place; being an immigrant myself, knowing no one, not ever having lived alone, working 3 jobs, studying by night (albeit, no kids at the time)…all this was necessary to give me the credibility, that I had walked in their shoes, that I knew what it felt like to be bone tired and still have to keep going, that I knew what it felt like to work through illness not because I wanted to, but because if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t get paid. That I knew what it felt like to feel like I had my back up against a wall with no way out.

I had been there.

And now I am here.

I work hard, but I don’t kill myself.

I take time to care for myself.

If my body needs rest.

I rest.

I am more present, more joyful, more grounded as a result, and this makes me a better woman, wife, mom, professional and community leader. I work smarter and produce better results.

I am never busy, but always productive (this is just a choice of language…and this choice DOES actually make it so that I have stopped feeling like I am on a hamster wheel accomplishing nothing, but being busy all the time!) I did a short video years ago to share what I mean.

I feel so grateful to be able to share on a topic that I love and have come to deeply appreciate as a result of my own journey with self-care and self-awareness.

It is always interesting then, when the Universe gives you an opportunity to practice what you preach. More on this later.

If you have a story about how you started to embrace putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, I would love to hear about it. Please comment below or send me a private message.

Remember to be kind to yourself.

Eat Mindfully the Length of One Song

My Mindful Meal

This week, I was a speaker on my favorite topic; Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First for Ventura SCORE, this wonderful nonprofit organization that provides mentorship for small business owners from retired business executives who donate their time. The topic was of course on Work-Life Balance. I am curious to know what that means for you? What do you conjure up when you hear those words?

Anyway, we were three speakers, each with 30 minutes to share on our topic. What I found wonderful was how, the lineup had been decided even before any of us had submit our topics, and yet we were lined up exactly in the right order that you would want to hear the content we all delivered.

Speaker 1: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Speaker 2: Living Your Life to Your Fullest Potential (all about different ways to harmoniously balance stress/long work ours etc.)
Speaker 3: ME! Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

I will admit, I was nervous. Now, I have LOVED public speaking for over a decade, and can talk in any sized room whether it be 3 people or 300 people. BUT, I was still nervous. I’ve been a fundraiser for so long, that I can speak on that topic ad nauseum, but until lately my forum for speaking about Oxygen Mask has been all virtual/digital. You’ve all heard me go on about it here, if you know me personally, you have heard me share face to face, one to one, if we are friends on social media, or if follow my page The Breathing Space on Facebook then you have heard me talk about this.

This was only the second time that I had spoken about this to a live audience and had never done the presentation along with the slides I prepared; only because they asked me for slides! hahahah!!

Anyway, I had decided that I would just go up and be me. And it turns out, that when I have an audience, I can be a ham, I can be funnier than I think I am in real life, and I can totally be myself. The response was wonderful; people were laughing, participating, sharing and asking questions. What more can a speaker want?

OK, so what has this to do with the title?

That afternoon, I went to Namaste Spiceland to get chai and a simple lunch. As I was waiting for my meal of daal, roti, sabji I tuned into the music that they were playing over the speakers. It was of this deep voice, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan – India’s most iconic movie star whose stardom transcends generations. I couldn’t follow along with the Hindi, but just that sound of his voice, and the words that I couldn’t make out, but recognized from the movie that I loved so much as a child. My food arrived, and I sat enjoying it, savoring the hot, sweet spiced milk chai absorbed in the music of my youth. I didn’t realize the impact of that music on my soul, till I started to tear up as I listened to the soothing voice of my favorite Bollywood star. The food, the music, being surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and sights of my childhood and youth; I was completely immersed.

So what has this to do with the presentation that evening on Oxygen Mask?

So glad you asked. Let me tell you.

As we were talking about Mindful Minutes, I asked for examples of how they could incorporate what we were discussing into their own lives. How can you incorporate mindfulness into your over-committed days someone raised her hand and volunteered; when you eat, just eat. Just savor the foods, don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t work, worse of all, don’t drive!

YES! I exclaimed! YES indeed.

And I was able to recount my afternoon experience of my mini trip to India through all my senses.

Believe me when I tell you, if I am not with a donor or a potential donor, most afternoons my lunch is a protein shake drunk at my desk. I work right through lunch; but not because I am trying to over work – because I allow myself to leave work earlier as a result. It’s worth the trade off to be with my kids earlier.

But here’s what I really want to share. Yes, life is busy. Yes eating at the table is a luxury.

But what if you did that once or twice a week, JUST for the duration of ONE SONG (2-3 minutes)? Imagine this – you get to pick out your favorite song/s and then just as you sit to eat, you turn on the music — and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of food and music.

So today’s call to action for you is to see if you can, just even once sit still and eat, for the duration of one song (remember it’s just 2-3 minutes) before you jump up to do 15 other things.

Will you write and tell me if you try this?