Dec 30, 2011

Signing off in 2011. Wish you all a Happy New Year!!!!!

Just a few hours more to kick off a new year... The past week has been to busy for much introspection. Tomorrow being New Year's Eve will be another busy day, but I'm sure we'll not be staying up for the midnight birth, but will greet the sun on New Year's Day.

Looking back, even though not in detail, I can see two things: I have not reached all the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year - but hey, that's being a prey to the perfectionist attitude that I am fighting anyway. In my accomplishments kitty, I have a whole jumble of things: sofa covers, an 80% complete novel outline, a completed mural, a Peter Pan costume that I made from scratch except for green leggings, more curtains, movie and book reviews, a whole lot of writing both on and off-screen. At the risk of sounding like Bridget Jones, I also lost about 6 kilos and gained back 5 of them and routine exercise is still a dream. But since I was noting down my exercise days, I have found that I did exercise properly for more than 60% of days in the year. Hey, that's better than nothing for a pathological non-starter!

Then there are lots of lovely memories to look back at this year, as well as some sad and stressful ones. As I look at my bookshelves, there are some wonderful additions that I made this year that I'm sure will be my companions for years to come. This is also the year that I decided to cull my personal library to only include books that I love reading and not display to impress other people (well, very few visitors peek into my bookshelf, but anyway! :-)). 

But enough of looking back. Here is what I love the best about a new year!


New stationery!!! My DH will tell you that after books, my shopping vice is stationery. My favorite stationery shop is Premier at Ayurveda College Junction, but I don't care much about where my stationery comes from. But this year I had to hand it to Premier. My 5-year-old DayTimer planner has had no refill since the year 2006. I found a compatible refill this year!!! That's what you see on the right side of the picture. On the left is my standard diary and beneath it is one new product I discovered this year. It's probably standard stationery in offices, but I had no idea that this product existed. Now I'll have a whole month at a glance on my desk and I can also use it as a desk pad to keep my books on when I write. Ooooh, I simply love it! So altogether, lots and lots of blank pages to fill up in the new year!

One thing I'm going to do in the new year is to read again and share the gist of 12 books that help me in developing myself. I am still finalizing the list, but I know the one for January: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers. Yup, if you are like me and found the original 7 Habits abstruse and boring, it's time to read this version by Sean Covey.  For daily inspiration, I'll be having Robin Sharma's book of the same name.

Tell me, do you have a good daily inspiration book that you look forward to reading? This year mine was 365 Gems for Holistic Living by Alan Cohen. Typically, it has been in my library since 2007, but I read it only this year (Hey, that's another accomplishment!) One of my favorite parts of the day is in the evening after lighting the lamp and chanting with my kiddos, when I read the day's lesson and meditate on it for a little while. I can tell you, the book really helped me a lot this year.

Have you thought about what you are gonna do in the new year? Tell me about it!

Happy New Year!!!!

Dec 19, 2011

Dare to take the high road


This cartoon is by Chris Madden (from this site) and boy, isn't it appropriate! 

The issue: the Mullapperiyar dam

These last two months have seen so many hotheaded debates with full media coverage. As I write this, innocent Tamilians and Malayalis are being tormented for being in the "wrong" state. People scared for their lives and livelihoods are vociferously clamoring against what they see as injustice from the part of the other state. FM channels are conducting slogan contests. The print media are advocating restraint and tolerance while blatantly flouting their own dicta by publishing anxiety-provoking articles in huge typeface. 

For the past month I was affected by all this. Each day was spoiled to me as I absorbed all the negative energy that came at me through the media, social networking sites and the people around me. At night I woke up in a sweat several times having dreamed about more horrific scenes than those the director of Dam 999 could have thought up. My stomach was constantly churned with worry about my countless relatives and friends who are in the path of the predicted disaster. Mindless rage at the mere cussedness of people made me splutter and seethe. Most of the time I really felt very helpless.

Now I have come to a realization. This is all very easy. To be riled up like this. To hate like this. To be worried like this: it doesn't take an iota of effort. If this is how I react to an issue like this, what is the use of all the spiritual and self-help knowledge that I have been gathering over the years? 

So I've decided to take the high road. I have been mulling this over for the past week and I have been taking the advice of my spiritual guides. This is what I have decided:

1. I shall not be swayed by the negative thinkers all around me. I shall believe in and visualize a safe and amicable resolution to the whole issue.

2. I shall think of all the concerned parties including the politicians with only love and compassion.

3. In the cause of being proactive, I shall put the brake on impulse spending and save some money towards a Mullapperiyar relief fund of my own.

4. I shall take seriously to organic vegetable farming as another proactive initiative. Besides, gardening is one of the best outlets for anger and frustration!

5. This essay will be the last time I shall voice a public opinion in this matter. For the rest, I shall hold on fast to the belief that everything that happens is for the best and that we can survive any cataclysm with dignity. 

I love, I believe and I am prepared for the worst.

How to bring back the green...

Back in 2007, when we bought the land for Karthi, it looked like this... There were coconut trees that looked tired, a few jack fr...