Unusual self care practices

What can be so unusual about self care? The answer totally stands out from the traditional idea of self care which involves spa treatments, meditation classes, yoga, gym memberships or “protecting your energy” by staying away from negativity. In today’s post, I explore a four-fold approach to everyday life that might freshen your perspective on what it means to care for yourself on a deeper level and value yourself in a way that prepares you to face the battles of life.

  1. Getting to know yourself

Staying open to re-discovering who you are and what is important to you, in my books, is the highest expression of self care. Sometimes we tend to blindly accept certain behavioural patterns or mindset habits that we might have subconsciously picked up over the years, some of which might be unwanted or even toxic. Having a genuine sense of life-long curiosity towards why we operate the way we do without criticising ourselves is not just a path to become our own best friend but also a way to show ourselves that we care enough about ourselves to invest time for it.

2. Showing who you are

Showing who you are includes not just being vulnerable but also about confronting your overly judgemental and cruel aspects of your personality. Nothing screams self care as much as showing up as your authentic, awesome self. Regular self-inquiry aimed at improving your alignment to your core values and your authentic essence might seem like a lot of work. However, it is in the process of humbly showing up as your ENTIRE, gracious self that you experience the utmost freedom of self love and inner expression.

3. Going with the flow

Non-resistance to the flow of life significantly reduces that proportion of human suffering which is self-inflicted. Going with the flow doesn’t mean giving up or not having any goals in life. Being flexible with our plans, NOT unconsciously expecting people to fill previously-abandoned roles in our life, giving other people space to be themselves and staying open to miracles are excellent examples of self care and preservation. The concept of viewing life as an open-ended question and embracing uncertainty allows you to believe in your divine power of creation, sustenance, safety and resilience.

4. Empathising with others

When I started viewing Empathy as a self care ritual, my life instantly became reprogrammed to attract love, peace and conscious connections. Although empathising with others might hardly seem related to our own wellbeing, this practice cultivates the habit of valuing one’s own inner peace over mundane dramas. It helps to know that every single person in this world has their own unique journey filled with joy, pleasure, suffering and other types of karmic repercussions. Only someone who genuinely values and cares for themselves with full understanding of their own power to love, forgive and connect can actually empathise with others. This practice has the power to transmute our feelings of greed, jealousy, shame and hurt that we constantly experience into love, joy, belongingness, gratitude and service.

A gentle approach to self improvement

Why is it that sometimes we can be overly critical of ourselves and other times, we are so shy to call out ourselves on our nonsense? It is so interesting to me to see how much of a double standard we impose not just on others but also on ourselves. In my opinion, while the most obvious forms of self love garner attention, the subtle forms of self love often go unnoticed. However, what I am about to discuss is less related to self love and more related to integrity. I am not referring to how you show up in the world, no. It is different. I feel that it has more to do with how you show up to yourself. “And why does that matter?” , you might ask me. Well, we owe it to ourselves to not be afraid of striving to improve as a person, every single day. We owe it to ourselves to want to be better humans. “Isn’t accepting all parts of you is what self love is all about?”, someone might ask me. True, absolutely! I am all about it! Compassion starts with self but the reluctance towards self improvement or change of any kind in the pretext of practicing self love is what I intend to discuss here.

I am not trying to say that we must yell at every person who doesn’t want to follow the path of self improvement. Change is very hard for humans. No, no, let me rephrase that. Change is very hard for human Ego. We, humans are definitely capable of positive change. Many might disagree with me. We are a part of this wonderful planet and the fundamental nature of a human is to love and be love. When we are born, we are this cute little blob of giggling, hairless, pure being, with heart full of wonder and good intentions for others. When we start to get into the conditioned environment around us with the help of our parents, teachers and relatives, we start to very quickly mimick and learn from others in order to adapt to this life on Earth. With time, the Ego develops a pretty good model of how to behave in order to survive in this crazy place. While our Ego is basically trying to protect us, it’s no surprise that Ego can cloud not just our world view but also our perception of how we must operate on a daily basis and that is why we need to self-assess gently.

Self-assessment can feel like self criticism but when you do it with love, you literally soothe your crying baby, your Ego. Over the years, I have had countless moments when I have said to myself, “Girl, nope, you can do better” and “Girl, this totally contradicts what you preach and it’s time to make amends”. It was not easy and there were several years when I was pampering this stubborn child within and covering my act with a label of Self love. I guess, for me personally, there came a point in my life when I stopped caring about others but I started to drive that energy inwards and care about what I think about myself more. This was a game-changer for me and perhaps, some people out there could also relate to it when I say we often say we don’t care about others’ opinion of us but secretly we obsess over every little detail. I did for a longest time of my life. When I drove that attention inwards, I started to see all of my “ugly” or might I say, dysfunctional coping mechanisms I had developed over the years which I had labelled as self love. This realization liberated me in a way that initially made me pass a high level of judgement on myself. However, thanks to all the wonderful resources out there, I learnt how to work through them with love and to continue to be open to the process of self-assessment without being hard on myself.

To self-assess gently, we must first address the thought that often comes up in this context: “Something is wrong with me”. Believe it or not, it is possible to change without being your worst enemy of all, your inner critic. There is a very fine line between feeling inadequate and feeling accelerated towards levelling-up your game. That very fine line is made up of a solid foundation of self worth and an eye to identify opportunities for improvement. When your idea of self worth is tied to doing something and not doing something, it is problematic because this is where the thought of not being a perfect person comes from whenever you take any form of criticism. When you know that you are worthy regardless of how “perfect” your life is, a little bit of effort towards self improvement doesn’t feel so threatening. Recognizing the potential to improve in a certain aspect of your daily life is often initiated by inspiration. Inspiration can very quickly turn to envy and I believe that for however small amount of time, we do get inspired first and then it triggers our “Something is wrong with me” web of thoughts and this probably shuts down our desire to get inspired to actually do something about it. This source of inspiration doesn’t have to be external. You don’t have to adapt a morning routine from an Autobiography or a money-making strategy from a book on Business. You could! However, I believe the simplest of changes is the one motivated by intrinsic factors. Ironically, many of us are most stubborn to it as opposed to making changes that are driven by the lives of our favourite famous personalities.

The most important aspect of self-assessment gently is to get an understanding of who you are as a person. I am not talking about what you tell others who you are and what you THINK you are. Getting to know who you are is an undertaking that’s totally worthy of your time and this is going to take some deep journalling sessions. You tell people and you tell yourself what you like and what you despise but is that all true? How have you been feeling lately? Have your priorities changed? In this age of social media, it is very easy to lose touch with self awareness because we are constantly trying to project a version of ourselves that is deceptively convincing. Somewhere along this journey, we lose sight of the true version of ourselves and the version we project onto the outer world. All of this might sound like a lot of work but think about this: there is no person in this world you have been with long enough in this lifetime than YOU. I feel it makes total sense to constantly check in with your beautiful self and be your own accountability partner. If I buy a new iPhone, I would do everything in my power to maintain it to the extent I can. Human mind is a complicated and highly intellectual machine and while we operate it, we forget who we are. We think we are our mind. If we start approaching this as an act of maintenance and care with an open heart and love, the shame associated with the act of dissecting aspects of your living is dissipated.

When there is no fear or shame associated with change, introspection and improvement, the obstacles of self-assessment is removed. But the final component to this process is LOVE. When I say the word Love, I imply that there is no space for judgement. Whatever comes up when you review your life, it is important to treat it with love. What do I mean by that? I want you to use your power of love to heal whatever needs to be healed. You are a spirit having a human experience and the biggest tool in your toolbox is Love. Whatever comes up when you go through a review of your life, you accept and you look at them for what they are. If the moment calls for it, you can get excited about this new set of challenges. You are a well of infinite power and solutions. When you believe in your ability and inner wisdom to find solutions for literally anything conceivable. In your own eyes, you become invincible. You cry, you wipe your tears and then you tell yourself, ” Okay, this is new, let me find a solution for this”. You are the coach you get a lifetime access to and hence, no amount of self-assessment is going to scare you.

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The magical experience of walking

Who would have thought walking can be magical? I know, walking hardly sounds magical. In fact, with the new quarantine lifestyle, even walking seems like a chore. I am here to convince you that walking can be the most joyful experience you will have today. Have you ever closely looked at your legs? Stop everything you are doing, go to your closet and look at your legs in the mirror. Appreciate them for what they are. Think about how strong those leg muscles are and how wonderfully they carry you from one place to another with grace. Your legs dance with you, sprint with you, support all of your organs and your entire weight. Your legs tell you when you feel chilly and need a pair of warm socks, they help you find balance when you trip on the road and even train with you at the gym every single day. When you walk, your legs coordinate with each other, the nervous system and the external stimuli so perfectly that you hardly have to pay attention in order to walk properly. Over the years, you have gained experience walking on hilly, rocky, smooth, slippery and puddly surfaces. You now know exactly how to walk on those surfaces, how much pressure to apply on your feet, how long a stride to take and how to avoid obstacles. We hardly give ourselves credit for our amazing capability to walk and excel at it. If we get a stroke, we might possibly forget how to walk and have to learn it all over again. Fascinating, isn’t it?

You can walk while you talk, walk while you eat, walk while you read, walk while you think and the best of all, walk while you overthink things in your head. Have you ever thought of, you know, just walking? I remember the time when I first discovered that walking is simply amazing! I was in the second year of College and I was very much into mindfulness at the time. It was a sunny afternoon on a weekend and the corridors of my dingy Indian dorm were poorly lit. There were not many people in the corridor at the time and the foyer led to an open space that connected my dorm to a long walkway. I decided to take a nice long walk from my corridor through the well-lit foyer towards the long walkway that opened up to a huge outdoor seating area. I was preoccupied by school stuff and my head was about to blast open. So, I said to myself that I can’t allow any more stimuli into my headspace and I started walking like I have nowhere to be. The moment I decided to let go of the inner arguments and “just” walk, I noticed something remarkable. I started to consume the experience of walking with all of my senses and awareness.

With every step I took, I started to feel my own body weight a bit more than I usually do, as if I am literally dragging this 130 pounds of flesh standing up against the gravity. I started to feel with my feet the rough topography. I was involuntarily trying to sense the temperature of the floor. I suddenly became so aware of the empty space around me. If I stopped walking, the space remained the same and if I resumed my walk, I was moving through that space. I looked at the ceiling with a child-like curiosity. I felt time slow down ever so slightly for me to feel relaxed and didn’t need any alcohol or drugs to feel that way. I simply started to witness the various background noises of people talking originating from a distance. Somewhere within me, a seed of joy was growing. I felt this insane rush of happiness, just by enjoying my newly expanded range of awareness. It was purely delightful. I couldn’t explain why such a simple act of “just” walking made me realize the beauty of everything about that moment. A wave of gratitude hit me. I reached the outdoor area, I looked at the beautiful patterns of the pebbles on the ground. I sat down at the corridor near the mud and could clearly see the grains of sand. Wow, what a texture! I took a palmful of sand and felt it, as if I am a 5-year old at the beach looking at sand for the first time. I looked around, some people were in a group laughing loudly while others occupied the corners with their laptops and study material. I looked around, I looked at all of it as if I don’t belong to this scene in the movie. A deep sense of peace and contentment rested inside of me. The only way I would describe that moment was magical. From that point in time, I feel in love with the habit of being fully present when I take a walk in the park, especially on days when I really crave for some magic!

Walking can be a great form of meditation, In fact, Buddhist monks practice walking meditation, which is basically “just walking” but with a bit more grace, love and total awareness. Any activity can be turned into meditation if you use the entire range of your awareness. It is that simple! Next time, when you find yourself walking, spare a few minutes of multitasking and try “just” walking. I wish and hope your experience turns out just as magical as mine, leaving you with a heart full of peace and a face decorated with a big smile.

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Being happy for others

We all talk about it. We all claim to be happy for others but do we really do it? Who cares, right? Do we really NEED to be happy for others? Have you ever wondered why is it that it is so hard to be happy for someone else, especially when we do not have what the other person has in his/her life? In my opinion, jealousy is a spectrum. Some of us are indifferent to others lives because let’s face it, our lives keep us busy and we like it that way, busy hustling with no time to spare for others problems. But I couldn’t help but think about those of us who are openly bitter about others being happy. People who belong to this category do not have much time to focus on others either. However, they somehow manage to express their discontentment while gossiping about their “good” friends or their supposedly close relatives and their seemingly perfect lives. In the eyes of these individuals, the happy people in their lives are just sitting in their beautiful mansions, collecting bags of gold coins and taking skydiving lessons using their private jets while all they might have received was a promotion or an elite gym membership. They LOOK at those face-tuned pictures of their friends with hundreds of hearts on it and they choose to SEE a damage-proof glowing and a healthy skin. They LOOK at the group picture of smiling faces and they choose to SEE a group of people who never have misunderstandings, thriving in harmony. While most of us know how deceptive appearances are, I am more interested in understanding why is it so hard for us humans to naturally be happy for others. After all, compassion and open-heartedness are supposed to be innate human qualities right?

So, how does jealousy originate in each of us? What does jealousy indicate? The most obvious answer for these questions is sadness and frustration from dealing with one’s own issues. When you are sad, you can’t possibly be happy for another person, even if it is someone very close to you. When you are sad or frustrated about something in your life, have you ever observed the narrative your ego gives you at the time? It is most certainly ALWAYS exaggerated. What do I mean by this? Suppose you are frustrated because you can’t afford your dream car, your Ego narrates this situation to you as if you are so poor that you probably have to save way more than you need to in order to afford the car. The Ego follows this up by saying that you can NEVER afford a luxurious lifestyle and then it tells you, your friends will overtake you in this “RACE” to “WIN” life. This goes on and on until you are sitting in your couch, sulking and criticising yourself over every purchase you had made up until that point. Eventually, your Ego convinces you that you are one step away from being destitute and that you need to up your “game”. Why?- because you can’t afford your dream car at that moment in your life. Why does your Ego wants to do this to you? Because your Ego always wants to protect you and it doesn’t know the scale of danger so it always assume the highest level of danger waiting to appear down the road.

What does your Ego or your sadness has to do with another person’s happiness? Nothing! This is it! Then, why does it always feel like it is all connected? Because we humans as a species always want to be a part of something. It is our innate desire to be included and to seek company and be around people who are like us. We don’t want to be left out. When we were hunting for food as a primitive being, it is probably dangerous to go through something that your tribe doesn’t know about or cannot help with because that would mean you will probably be left alone to die in order to save the rest of the tribe. Misery loves company. Deep down, a truly bitter person would probably be thinking, “how is it that I am suffering and you are not? This is unacceptable!”. Because of this crowd-gathering habit of ours, the realization that we are alone at struggling with something is very painful and our Ego wants to make us feel safe. So, our Ego nudges us to find ways to feel safe and included. The instinctive solution would be to make others miserable or point out their problems to make them less cheerful and in your point of view, more “humane”. The extent to which people put in efforts to make others miserable varies a lot and it is directly proportional to how alone and unsupported they feel in their lives.

We are not born bitter. We ALL are loving and kind sentient beings and that is our true nature. Perhaps knowing how Ego, also known as our our false Self, blocks our ability to be happy for others can help us understand how pointless it is to feel jealous. The next time your friend or acquaintance talks about his/her blessings, open those strong, confident arms and give them a hug or a handshake. Smile and send them loving energy and wish them well because there is one thing that is COMMON in you and your friend and that is the fact that you both are human.

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Why do we love being in misery so much?

Why do we love being in misery so much?❤️ Before my spiritual awakening, I used to think that my sole purpose of life is to be happy but I had not done anything to achieve that goal. We all say that we don’t want to be sad but subconsciously, many of us love being the object of pity and possessing a victim identity. I used to think that having friends, travelling to exotic locations and earning the educational degree of my choice would make me happy. I am sure many people would be able to relate to the wishful thinking that I had and that chase that never seemed to end. But in spite of reaching those destinations, getting those double taps on Instagram, having a “friend circle” and loved ones, I still felt unfulfilled and sad. Come to think of it, I have observed this in many people I have met. I wanted to understand this aspect further. So, I happened to do some journalling and turns out, I used to give excuses to stay unhappy because I thought my traumas made me who I am. Without that, I am not worthy of attention. As a positive person, I can say now that being one is like being a magnet. My pleasant energy and willingness to listen tend to attract many people towards me. But eventually, people find it boring because I can put a positive spin on anything and that’s not entertaining, that’s a buzzkill to many people. So, people naturally don’t want to be a buzzkill themselves. And, how did I transform from someone who needs pain to feel validated into someone who doesn’t need it? I simply realized that I had to change my intention. The sole purpose of my life is still to exist happily and peacefully, but this time, it is just for me. I want to be happy, for myself and not for the society. I can be a person, radiating positivity and still be interesting and this realisation changed my life for the better. I don’t consider my past valuable anymore, at least not to the extent that it becomes worthy of my attachment.
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Beneath the beauty..

How would the world be if we all saw each other just as souls? An amorphous energy field constantly vibrating and constantly being created from cosmic forces. A body with no body but a hazy shining aura of infiniteness. A being with no purpose but to exist, thrive, create and experience virtual reality with so much love radiating from our core. How would it be? How would it be if people saw me with that image and not my external appearance? Imagine I said hello to you and all you could see was this insanely powerful and complicated electromagnetic field constantly exchanging information with the cosmos and energizing thoughts? No pretty eyes but my third eye. No cute smile except the kind and welcoming light. No dark hair except my crown pulsing in alignment with my energy flow. No words except my boundless spirit of one love for all genders, appearances and age. How would it be? Boring right? Yeah, I can understand you and this is exactly my point. I am a woman but I don’t identify with it anymore. The only identity I own is that I am a soul, just as divine as everyone of you. It is oxymoronic because identity dissolves when one realises that he/she is love and the higher power. However, for the sake of functioning and understanding, I am choosing to use it as an identity. So, what am I trying to say? I am trying to say that beauty is not permanent. It is an illusion. External appearance is an illusion. It’s an oversimplification of your spirit. When I understood this, I no longer see others as a guy or a girl. I see them as a person, a divine being and a fellow spirit, experiencing this wonderful journey of life. What was interesting to me is that the moment I started doing this, I  felt so free and uninhibited. No drama, no politics, no games and only neutrality. Neutrality might be boring but it has definitely made my life a lot easier.❤️

Is optimism a privilege?

Is optimism a privilege? There is this popular notion that being positive, motivated and indulging in self care are a privilege and only people who are considered privileged can afford to spend time for it. What does it mean to be privileged? I think that it means having a roof over your head, some money to comfortably support yourself and at least a hobby to keep you happy. But does privilege equal happiness? As a privileged person, I can assure you that it is not, at least for me. I would like to think that problems are always relative, always. That doesn’t undermine the suffering someone goes through. No one, literally no one alive now is exempted from the  life lessons they are destined to learn. I would like to think that every soul has a customized cosmic plan, designed by themselves at a higher state of awareness (I can say that as a God-like state, to make it easier to understand). It is important to be grateful for everything that one has but that doesn’t mean that there is no justification for someone’s suffering inspite of them having food to eat and some money in the bank. What strikes my mind now is that regardless of how privileged you are, you need motivation, self care and any tools under the sky to live your best life possible. In fact, the more misery you are going through, the more you need those tools to keep up from crumbling under the pressure of life. When life offers you help, it is a sign of synchronicity. It means that the universe is listening to you and your higher self is trying to help you. If you are just a bit gracious enough to accept help, it would make your life just a little bit more tolerable and for many of us, that’s a lot! ❤️

What makes a good human?

❤️What makes a good human? Is that even a thing? And who are we to judge a person to be good or bad?..I have always wondered! Our society loves binary categories and only recently, things are changing. I have seen it in my own life. In my past, I have heard from others all sorts of binary labels for me..I can either wear a bindi(dot on my forehead) and chant mantras or I can wear a cute summer dress and drink cocktails..I can either be shy and quiet or be flamboyant and extroverted…I can either be popular or be a geek.. I can either be spontaneously creative or I can be a fraud.. People are so quick to put other people into boxes(even in their minds) and I have always wondered why. Come to think of it, I realized that I used to do the same thing too, just inside my head. Human beings are complicated, like, really complicated. We are constantly trying to figure out people, just the degree of effort we put in varies. I get it, it is what makes life interesting! Fun fact, I am a huge potterhead so I agree with Sirius when he implied that there are qualities in everyone they consider good and bad. Personally, I choose to see the brighter colours in others, the genuine smile, the strong warrior, the cute crying rabbit and the wise and patient turtle in others. What I mean by that is, being an empath is great if one chooses to use it and to use their intuitive abilities to see the beauty in others and appreciate them and to feel the pain in others and offer love and comfort to them. But in my opinion, you don’t have to be an empath for empathizing with others and choosing to see the beauty in people. ❤️

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Embrace the word “No”

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It was raining outside. I had my cup of warm instant coffee beside me. I cranked open my window, letting the moist yet gentle breeze of a spring afternoon hit my face. As I was in that moment soaked in bliss, I let my mind unwind to let this charged environment take control of me. While I was jogging my thoughts, I found myself interested in understanding my habit of saying no to things. By this point, I can proudly say that I am an expert in expressing disapproval. I began to wonder why, regardless of age, all of us find it difficult at least at some point to establish boundaries be it with superiors, friends, partners or colleagues. Nobody wants to be seen as the bad guy because we crave the validation from others. Some people do not care if they are taken for granted as long as at the end of the day they get to take a Selfie with that person. I begin to wonder, why do we have to do this to ourselves? We tend to forget that we have an option to say no!

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Being assertive in this era of social media is absolutely essential for one simple reason: SELF CARE. We deserve compassion and when we feel that we have so much to give another person, we definitely have plenty to give to the most important person in your life, YOU. All of us work so hard every day to achieve our goals and are constantly bombarded by criticism and other challenges. The least we could do is to take care of ourselves, especially our mental health. We owe it to ourselves to sometimes not be the superhuman that we aspire to be. We owe it to ourselves to not give a crap about pleasing someone or everyone. We owe it to ourselves to be genuine because genuineness is sexy and opposite of exhaustive! Say only what you mean, rinse and repeat. Make it your “go-to ” behaviour. That way, we take in only as much of stress we can handle and we don’t feel bad for avoiding excess stress.

Now, I know saying no to things requires us to be strong and ready to face conflict. Until quite recently, I used to suck at confrontation and I’d say, a lot of sucking at confrontation has made me this person today who can hold an argument without tearing up out of anger. So, I’d suggest, never stop trying! Having said that, do I mean that one has to be a negative person, who is stubborn and never accommodates to others schedule? Absolutely not! It is imperative to know your REASONS for saying no. Have a moral checklist for yourself. What do you want to be known for ? How much nonsense can you possibly put up with? Are you saying no because you don’t like the energy of certain people or a place? Are you saying no because that person said no to you in the past and you want to take revenge? Is your behaviour a good reflection of what you stand for and what you believe in? Did you think for a moment about your reasons or you are just in a cranky mood? Is your action going to negatively impact someone to a great extent? Think about it.

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It is very easy to judge someone these days. Hence, it is also very easy to be judged by others for everything we do and that is inevitable. If I learnt anything about saying no to things through my experiences, it would be to be aware of the fact that when I can say no to someone, others can also have their reasons to say no to me and that is okay. It is crucial to realise that everyone has his/her imperfections and sometimes it calls for maturity to be accommodative and respectful of others boundaries. Empathy can also help us find the right reasons to say no to things whilst preparing us for disappointment. It helps us toughen up easily and honestly, is so rewarding. So, no, you don’t get to be mean and ain’t nobody going to allow you to walk all over. This is a two-way street. Although I learnt these things very late and the hard way, I believe that the joy of growing up is never-ending and we need to embrace every little thing that makes it possible including the word, “No”.

Happy growing up! 🙂

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Meeting with your younger self

Human beings are great story-tellers. The joy of reminiscing is beyond imagination. This is particularly true when people talk about funny, adventurous or pleasant incidents. Most of us love to think of our college or school days and share interesting stories that makes us feel nostalgic. It leaves us with a desire to not just relive those moments but also to stay in that space-time forever! We make efforts to linger over those visions with an unconscious hope of feeling the same level of pleasure even in the present. After a certain point in life, somehow something about the present makes us to want to go back and keep going back in time. This sort of memory replay is not uncommon in younger adults. Sometimes we do this to feel proud of our accomplishments and our journey on the whole. Sometimes, we do this to envy a simpler time in our lives when our problems were easier to solve. Sometimes it can happen that everything is just fine yet we feel the necessity to escape reality for a few minutes. Yet other times, it can reflect an inability to let go of a painful incident. It doesn’t matter why we chose to have these “meetings” with our younger selves, we all do it.

When you decide to travel on a time horse, you may notice that you can halt at two types of stops – the ones that hold painful and embarrassing memories and the ones that hold heart-warming beautiful memories. In my experience, recollection of happy memories are more intentional than an accident. When that happens, my heart swells up in pride and I let it soak my soul, trying to hold on to that memory. When I randomly get reminded of an embarrassing memory, I hate my mind for bringing it up on a perfectly happy afternoon. My mind tries to relive the moment and the painful emotions thereby making me feel agitated. It doesn’t matter if the memory is good or bad, reliving it almost always leaves me with a realisation that the present moment is not the same. The present moment is like an open-ended question. If you allow it, the present moment has the potential to change things for the better and definitely, not worse!

Even with meditation and self-awareness, an average individual struggles to tame this wild elephant that is one’s mind. It is not easy to  train our mind to be present. It is possible with practice but not effortless for most of us. For some beginners, it can cause additional pressure to stay focussed all the time. Should we give up? I believe that we can help our mind suffer less with a range of approaches. Firstly, showing yourself some compassion and a lot of acceptance would go a long way! When your mind hops to a painful memory, accept it and realise that it doesn’t define you anymore. Be kind to yourself like you would be to your friend. When you think of an accomplishment of the past, don’t get cocky! The more wisdom you accumulate, the less entitled you feel for appreciation from yourself. That’s just how it is. That’s the true mark of growth. Loving your imperfect present and trusting your evolved self takes more maturity and less ego. Once you get a sense of this statement, it is easier than you think to embrace and let go.

Secondly, if you want to meet an older version of yourself, ask him/her for specific advice instead of mindlessly wandering in the memory land. Let me explain. All of us evolve as a person with time. At every phase of our lives, a certain aspect of our nature was at its prime and we had worked hard on the others to survive and conquer the challenges of that phase. For some of us, that quality might have been patience or perseverance. For some of us, it might have been courage. For many of us, it might have been an ability to care less about what others think. For a few others, it might be people-skills. So, I would say you take this opportunity to look back at an older version of yourself for specific insights when you are in trouble. It is a simple concept. The next time your mind reminds you of a time you turned red with embarrassment or anxiety, “pinch your conscience” like disciplining a child and direct it towards a positive learning exercise. Condition your mind to seek happiness in wandering to some memory where you can learn rather than relive the anger. I am 24. Whenever I feel discouraged or flustered on passing up an opportunity, I still look up to my 17 year-old self for advice on working hard and moving out of my comfort zone. Every time I do that, it only gives me more willpower to act and mould my present than a feeling of nostalgia.

Lastly, learn to be a proactive member of your team that is yourself! Be on board. Be on point! Don’t be that person that reiterates the obvious like a broken tape recorder! A general awareness that the time is fleeting and thousands of people like you across the globe are growing into better individuals can help you push your foot on the accelerator. Never let your mind fool you into feeling stuck in the past. Adopt subtle ways to out-smart and systematically interrupt your “auto-pilot” mode in order to anchor to what really matters 🙂

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