How I Learnt to Live Now!

If I ever find myself stuck in a rut, I ask myself: “what is special and unique about where you are in life right now?”. It always seemed impossible to live in the moment, to breathe in the now and just be. Having suffered with depression and later anxiety, it was just so hard.

Depression and anxiety is a cruel combination. Depression casts a dark cloud as you wallow in the past, anxiety leaves you paralysed and petrified by the future. This leaves little room for the present. My life was held prisoner between Depression and Anxiety, while lines formed around my eyes due to fatigue, dehydration and the passage of un-savoured time.

A huge burst of bravery and determination to be with the one I love catapulted me out of my comfort zone when I moved to India, initially making my mental health worse. My old habits didn’t fit in with this new way of life. My concept of personal space and etiquette didn’t translate, I had to face my fears and anxieties. I no longer had a choice, I couldn’t hide behind familiarity.

Here I was, with the man of my dreams, but the perfect partner isn’t a cure-all. I discovered, despite popular belief, that only I could cultivate my happiness and health. 

Every time I found myself outside my comfort zone, doing something I felt scared to do, I shed a little piece of anxiety. This started with small and simple things, such as smiling at the people I didn’t know during social situations I didn’t understand.

I didn’t want to be a prisoner anymore.

As I was a world away from my normal, I realised how much time I had wasted not doing the things I could no longer do. I should have spent more time with the people I love, I should have enjoyed wearing fluffy slippers during cosy winter nights, I should have watched the ocean more often when it was only a five minute walk away (I now live 500 miles away from the coast in the geographical centre of India).

I began to make lists of the things I wish I had done more of before I moved to India.

Then, I had an epiphany…

In England I couldn’t get up at dawn and watch flocks of parrots fly overhead, I couldn’t wear flowers in my hair everyday, I couldn’t sit in the tranquillity of a temple a short walk from home, I couldn’t celebrate colourful festivals or be immersed in a new fascinating culture.

That’s when I started to try to appreciate what was special and unique about where I was. I started smiling at the colours of rangoli, the way saree pleats moved and the smell of monsoon rains. I found comfort and courage in learning and trying to understanding the differences between the culture I grew up with and the culture I plan to grow old with.

The lists of regrets came in useful though. I have been working my way though them during my visits to England, with more happiness and confidence. 

We’ll never be able to live this stage of our lives again, we should appreciate and celebrate what is special and unique about our now. Some days are harder than others. If you are struggling to live in the now, start small, take a deep breath and smile at something you find beautiful.

It helped me so much.

Seize the day, as the say.

***

Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for daily updates and discussions!

You’ve Made the Wrong Choice

If you are open about your life, you will undoubtedly receive a whole heap of unsolicited advice. Most is from a kind or concerned place, sent with love and good wishes, and I send abundant appreciation for that advice, even if I don’t always choose to follow it. Then, of course, there are the moral policers who are waiting to say “you’re wrong” or “you’ve made a bad choice”.

There are several things in life which are undoubtedly wrong, hurting people or inaccurate math for example, but the things I’ve been criticised for, told I should change immediately, are my personal choices. Life is complex, nuanced, layered and everyone is different. What is wrong for you, might be right for me and vice versa. I believe that people should have a choice. If everyone followed the same life path, life would be pretty boring (and kind of cult-ish).

Wouldn’t it?

It’s not only my choice in husband or my choice in home I’ve been told is wrong. It’s my choice to learn from and experience my husband’s culture and religion. I would say to anyone with the opportunity to experience another culture or travel to a distant land, grab it by the horns! You don’t have to change who or what you are, but seeing life from a different perspective will inevitably open your eyes and shed your preconceptions. You don’t always need a plane ticket to broaden your mind, simply stepping out of your comfort zone can trigger an inner revolution.

When I was younger, I really wanted to be religious and have faith, and I was kind of jealous of those who did. I yearned to know an absolute truth, I wanted a guaranteed, tried and tested, path. I spent several years reading about Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Kabbalah. Some parts felt intrinsically right, others didn’t. I’ve since come to peace with the fact that I don’t fit into a religious label. I’ve realised that if God was powerful enough to create a universe, surely s/he would be able to lay out more than one path towards her/him. I have learnt that for me to feel aligned with something higher, I need to stay close to things that make my soul sing.

I remember in school, we had to do a test to discover our learning style, whether we learnt best by hearing, seeing or doing. The teachers recognised that we all learn in unique ways, they used the results of the test to customise their teaching to maximise our potential. I think this applies to life, we are all unique, following different paths. Sometimes we make mistakes, we learn through trail and error, but it is our unique path, our choice.

***

Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for daily updates and discussions!

Easiest isn’t always Happiest

It was my 27th birthday yesterday, and what a year it’s been! I can safely say, the best year so far. Far from the easiest, but definitely the happiest. Whilst I was 26, I built stronger bonds with family (in England and India) and broke bonds with unhealthy beliefs about myself. I have learnt that seeing your child in pain is more painful that childbirth. I have learnt how important it is make a life long commitment to learning and to make lemonade out of those lemons.

My birthday last year involved morning sickness. I later started to watch my stomach grow and grow, then wiggle and squirm. I faced a tough decision on whether or not to stay in the Indian Summer or return to England to give birth. We had a beautiful baby shower, a heartbreaking goodbye and long haul flight. I spent two days in labour, two hours pushing and two months in with my family, making happy memories, before flying back to India (to make a few more).

 

I’ve felt the sting of guilt when taking my baby away from a family who adore him and the blissful sigh of relief when reuniting him with his father and family who cherish him. An international marriage is not easy, there are many disadvantages. It’s been a tough road, and continues to have its bumpy days. But, where is just so much I would have missed out on if I didn’t take that leap of faith.

my-sister-and-i-babywearing-in-india

To this day, I’m still surprised that I met someone so special on the Internet. This year I realised if I hadn’t moved to India for love, I would not have faced the challenges that helped me learn, grow and heal. If I hadn’t moved to India for love, I would not had the experiences that have shaped me into the person I am proud to be today.

Someone close to me told me, before I moved to India, it would be easier to marry someone from England. Easier? Probably. Would I have been happier? I doubt it!

***

If you want to help me celebrate my birthday, please consider making a donation to Women In Need. A charity based in the city I call home, Nagpur.

Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for daily updates and discussions!

Garbha Sanskar: How I Practiced

grandma in law Indian

Ayurvedic scriptures state that Garbha Sanskar is essential for creating an intelligent, attractive and healthy baby. From my experience, Garbha Sanskar is a great way to keep you positive and focused during your pregnancy, you can bring these practices to your attention … Continue reading