For those who love Nature, beauty is everywhere and although we humans are messing up with Mother Nature big time, there are moments when we all watch in awe the surreal and the ethereal happenings which the spectacles of Nature bring into our lives. Continue reading
“With a bound, the sun of a molten fiery red came above the horizon, and immediately thousands of little birds sang out for joy, and a soft chorus of mysterious, glad murmurs came forth from the earth; the low whispering wind left its’ hiding-place among the clefts and hollows of the hills, and wandered among the rustling herbs and trees, waking the flower-buds to the life of another day.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell
For Skywatch this week, I bring you a shot of a deep blue sky taken from the flight, just before the descent to Bangalore was announced by the pilot! This was at the wee hours of dawn, when the first rays of the rising sun were beginning to light up the dark skies. Continue reading
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
That quote by Richard Rohr got me thinking today, as I was taking a walk in the park early morning, after dropping Arjyo off at the bus stop. The path was filled with dry leaves of assorted shades of gold and yellow and made a cracking sound, as people walked over them. Poor maintenance of the park in the recent weeks has meant that the pile of dried leaves has only been getting bigger and it was then that the meaning of the quote really struck me. The leaves were just a metaphor for life itself.
What if we imagine the mind as a garden? Positive thoughts are the beautiful flowers that brighten our life. Negative thoughts are the ugly weeds that spread and suffocate the flowers. The dried leaves are the symbol of decay that need to be cleared and done away with, as part of renewal in the cycle of nature – almost how our tired, rusted, worn-out, worry-ridden minds needs to be refreshed, to get on with our everyday lives. And, yet, how often do we really give this a serious thought? Monday has a way of arriving a little too early for our liking and the pressure of the week is palpable on our bearings as we straddle our personal and professional worlds to “get on” with the day. This is why I’d like to tell you about my garden and nudge you to think.
My garden is a really tiny one that fits into our sixth-floor balcony, giving me a wonderful opportunity to tend to them as I revel with child-like happiness at seeing my blooms first thing in the morning! The plants need looking after on a weekly basis. Initially, there were just a few pots which, over time, has now come to cover the entire balcony. It is a pleasure no doubt but it is also a lot of hard work. I find that if the leaves are not pruned and the soil is not replaced on a regular basis, the flowers don’t bloom as well as they should, or, even if they do, tend to be infested with pests, which then, becomes a little difficult and rather long-drawn to treat. So, now, tending to my garden has been an ongoing process. No different really than how we treat our minds on an everyday basis.
In my case, I can tell you, if I don’t tend to it, the mind has a way of digging up more negativity and create more chaos within, which is why pruning (before those ugly thoughts raise their heads!) in time helps! As I’m not a big fan of artificial ways (rather, chemical pesticides) of tackling this, I have opted for natural weed killers (daily walk, yoga, meditation, reading, playing with children, experimenting with my camera and spending time with positive people) That keeps my garden fresh, free from weeds and ready for the beautiful blooms all throughout the year!
If you’d like to know how this happens, do try this activity and see how you feel:
Find a comfortable place to sit–inside or outside–and tune into whatever sounds you hear. Welcome all the sounds around you – the car going by, the dog barking, the refrigerator humming, the silence.
Select something from nature and gaze at it without interruption for five minutes. What do you see?
Eat a mindful meal, giving yourself plenty of time to chew and taste each bite. If you do this with others, agree to not talk during this time. What do you notice?
Give yourself a spa day or break. Do what comforts your body.
Be grateful. You are alive with the ability to experience both your inner reality and the created world. Say “thank you” several times each day.
Say this to yourself: Today I am accepting and savoring the present. I shall not let worry or tension or negative thoughts enter my mind.
I believe we can all use the garden metaphor to bring an awareness of what helps our own mind to grow and flourish. The activity I mentioned above is one of the many ways to weed out the negativity and live into a new way of thinking.
On this busy Monday, I take your leave with a small request: How about sharing what’s on your list of fertilizers and weed-killers?
But, more importantly, I’d really like to know from you – how does your garden grow? How do you renew your mind to get on with the cycle of life?
Sunshine peeping through the trees in my neighbourhood park.
The sun is finally shining and the bleakness has given way to an azure blue sky which makes me once again appreciate what a powerful force weather remains in our everyday existence. Of all the aspects of nature, perhaps the one that is the most intimately tied to our mood is sunshine.
Weather influences our psychology in a myriad ways. In fact, all those wonderful metaphors that describe our changeable minds can be ascribed to weather. Moods can be uplifting or sagging, dispositions could be bright and sometimes, even futures can come under a cloud while relationships can turn stormy. Like the weather, our emotions are capable of causing havoc in our lives by turning unstable, enveloping and uncontrollable. If you thought grey weather brings about sober, grey-flannelled thinking, you are probably right.
Over the past two weeks, I have felt this much more strongly than ever. While the mercury dipped and impatience reached an all-time high, I realised that the constant wet and humid weather did make me more tired and irritable. I couldn’t deny it had affected me rather badly. In spite of having lived through the chilly climes of some of the coldest cities of the world, I have never quite got used to it. This kind of weather affects me just the same and I find staying at home unbearable. I confess, I am one among the many who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) who report lower satisfaction with our lives, and there is never any getting used to, no matter where we are. We just need the sun, that’s it.
It is common knowledge that sunlight produces vitamin D, promoting the brain’s production of serotonin, which lifts our mood, and has been proven to be a very effective treatment for people affected with SAD. Studies show that beneficial effects of warm and sunny conditions on mood can best be felt if one spent more than 30 minutes outdoors that day. And a change in our mood almost always has a marked effect on our behaviour. When we are happy, we not only feel more favourably disposed to one another but more helpful as well. This is perhaps what prompted me to venture out this morning, to get some sunshine.
Sunlight has the power to boost positive moods, alleviate negative emotions and eliminate fatigue. But to reap in those wonderful benefits, one has to leave the confines of the four walls and go outside. Else, even good weather can have negative impacts on the mood, especially for those who are confined indoors, but perhaps gazing enviously outside at the fun they are missing out on.
Someone has wisely said: “If you wish to reap the psychological benefits of good weather, go outside.” It is now a little over an hour while I have been sitting and typing on my keyboard. I can’t wait to hit the publish button and breeze out again.
Do you, like me, feel that cold, wet and humid weather conditions make you depressed and low? How does one lift one’s mood and how does one cope? If you are reading this, please do leave a little note to share your thoughts and experiences. That sure will brighten up my day 🙂
Linking this to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings
When I woke up this morning, at the crack of dawn, my first thought was to look out of the window and see what kind of day was lying ahead of me. Everyone else was fast asleep and I did not have to rush to get on with the chores, as I normally do on a Monday morning, as the school holidays were still on! Having woken up early, I knew I was going to have an extra hour all to myself, so I hurried off to the kitchen, put the kettle on and decided to step out for my early morning walk. For the past four weeks, I have been listening to my body and regularly going for a 3 km walk every day. I cannot describe the joy that comes from doing this without fail every day. The sound of silence has been my constant friend at this hour and as the morning progresses, the stillness fills up slowly by the rhythms of an action-filled day, the call of birds, the shuffling of leaves, amid the varying pace of other walkers in the park, who also come to savour the silence, without fail, walking to their own beats, humming along or listening to their headphones.
It is that time of the day when I am usually at peace with myself and my surroundings, as it happens to be the most profoundly silent of all my waking hours! I have never felt more alive as in these quiet mornings.
These are my moments of absolute quiet, when speech no longer exists, all noise is filtered out and a peaceful vacuum comes to rest between me and my chores. I guess this is perhaps because I have always loved silence. Having grown up in a quiet hill town, and spent most of my childhood listening to nature and the occasional barking of a dog in the neighbourhood, I have grown up to appreciate that stillness, which some people find absolutely unbearable.
To those who hate silence, this might appear to be sheer torture but to me, this is nothing short of a boon – the fact that I enjoy the absence of words and experience a sudden rush of thoughts that makes my mornings beautiful! I savour that vast emptiness of the hour to welcome dawn as the sky changes colours from dark to a splash of gold and crimson.
I am thankful that I happen to live in a quiet part of a very busy city and although it is far removed from the kind of quietness I have grown up with, I am happy to savour whatever peace comes by, before a lazy morning starts and noise takes over.