The Liebster Award

A big thank you to Chocoviv’s Lifestyle Blog for nominating me for this award! Yippee! This is my very first award on WordPress and I am so happy and grateful. I recently came across Chocoviv’s blog and found some really interesting posts there ranging from art to cooking to environment. Please do check out her blog!

RULES

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the questions given to you.
  3. Nominate 2-6 bloggers and notify them of their nomination.
  4. Create 11 new questions or use the same ones below.

Questions (Original)

  1. How would you describe your blogging journey in 3 words? Creative, Joyful, Insightful

2. What do you love most about blogging? It helps me translate my feelings into words and art and share and connect with like minded individuals. On the way I hope to inspire others also.

3. How long does it take you to compose a blog post? It can take from an hour to a day depending upon the content.

4. Imagine visiting your 7-10 year old self. What would be his/her advice/message to your current self? Take care of yourself and nurture your gifts.

5. What is the one thing you learned during this quarantine period? It’s ok to invest time on myself.

6. Coffee or tea? Both

7. What are the 3 things you are grateful for today? Home, Family and Faith

8. When you are feeling down what do you do to cheer yourself up? I mostly watercolor, listen to my favorite songs on Spotify and sometimes declutter!

9. What is one habit you want to break and why? Worry less over things that are out of my control.

10. What is your dream destination? A two week long vacation in Hawaii maybe!

11. What language would you like to learn? I have been trying to learn Spanish on Duolingo.

So here are my nominees

agrlwithablog

My Take on Things

The 3H:health,happiness,healing

It was really fun answering Chocoviv’s questions! Hoping to hear from the nominees also!😊

A daily ritual

Yesterday after more than a month, I picked up my daily ritual of yoga stretches. I knew there was something missing. I could feel it in my bones! When you take a pause from your daily ritual, you don’t feel anything for sometime but after a while it starts taking its toll on you and considering the chaos we are already experiencing around us these days, it is easy to get overwhelmed and let our emotions get the better of us.

My daily ritual got lost somewhere in all of this – that little peaceful corner in my mind, no longer accessible…. And so patience started running short and the creative tank a little stale. Something was indeed missing! How do I refuel?

Stretching through the asanas followed by a few minutes of quiet breathing brought me back home – to that place of groundedness and calm. In the soft light of the early morning I listened to only one thing – sound of my breath…..

Nature’s pace

I wake up early these days to catch a few uninterrrupted minutes. So much happens in these moments as I examine the swirls rising from my tea, the sun bursting forth through the clouds and the light permeating every crevice on earth, dew drops glistening off the blades of grass, a blue jay fluffing itself and the sound of quiet…

Feeling nostalgic?

Come Monday morning and I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia and it got bigger by the hour. Living far from your folks across the globe, does that to you and it’s always a single thought that provokes a cycle of old memories. I googled about how to deal with ‘nostalgia’ (haha) and ended up even more overwhelmed than before as my eyes ran through some ridiculous and boring suggestions! The grey overcast and drizzle outside was not exactly helping me either. My dog was not in the mood for a conversation! There was leftover food from the day before so there was no cooking needed. And I didn’t know what to paint!

So I (reluctantly) stayed with my thoughts that were playing on a never ending loop – old memories, childhood, friendships, choices and on and on….but you can only take so much! Taking a cue from my kids who had played a you tube video on diwali lights the night before (I had loved it), I picked a video on nature – it was long and had some relaxing music to go along – and I let this video play for a couple of hours while I went around my business. Every time I was plagued by a thought, my eyes traveled to the screen, and I instantly felt better.

And so Monday went by (thankfully) and by Tuesday I was back in the mood for some painting. I started on a collage of scenes in watercolor from pictures I’d taken this summer. When I’m done, I’ll post them here for sure. I was still nostalgic but the colors kept me focused on the work.

But the universe was listening to me I guess…..

This morning I picked up Happiness is the Way by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer – these words stood out – “I can control my thoughts. My feelings come from my thoughts. Therefore, I can control my feelings”. As I continued to read, everything began to make sense. I realize now that every emotion stems from a thought and this is why it’s so important to pay attention to our thoughts because they will soon be accompanied by feelings! If I want to feel positive, I should magnify and encourage the positive thoughts and if I have a negative thought (sad, worrisome or angry) coming up, I should immediately discourage it – you know nip it in the bud!

Thinking about a happy past or missing a loved one is totally normal and it’s ok to do that as long as one doesn’t get trapped in the never ending loop of emotions. I have now learned that sending love and gratitude to the person or the memory and then moving on to the task at hand is more useful than wallowing in my thoughts. One might wonder “why not just distract yourself with a book or a movie or your phone”? Well this can work too but sometimes we are too confused to even distract ourselves.

Today is again a very cold and wet day. But I turned on the fairy lights inside and decided to share my thoughts (positive ones) with all of you.

Hope you find this post useful. Have a great day!

It’s a beautiful day

Is it? Sure enough there’s sun shining down brightly and an absolutely cloudless blue sky, but every day is beautiful in some way or other. So why today?

I was wondering about all this as I sat by the large window, relishing sips of ginger and black pepper tea and bites of something I had prepared for the first time – a barley salad (I will share the recipes in a future post).

My point is, I think I found this day extraordinary only because I was looking at it from a different perspective. First I picked a spot that I don’t usually, maybe because it’s further away and requires climbing steps (lazy me). And secondly I picked something healthy and wholesome to munch on. I was enjoying the view so much that I found myself relishing every bite of my breakfast as well as feeling inspired enough to pen this post!

This makes me think how many times I might have overlooked the specialness of a day just because I was in a rush or going about my day working the same old boring way!

Well now I am ready to take on the day, chores and all! A little bit of novelty brings a breath of fresh air to the day.🌿

A Hand lettering journey

Growing up I remember my mom doing a lot of calligraphy. She had some intricate looking pens that she used to write with. I can still recall the scratchy sounds of the nib on paper as she created each letter.

Funny how those memories came flooding back as soon as I began to notice some beautiful hand lettering posts on Instagram! “I must create something like this.” After all these years of lack of practice my lettering skills had gotten a little rusty! How I longed to create those flourishes again……

Did that mean I had to relearn? Maybe….

To my great relief, I found this wonderful little book called Lettering for Planners by Jordan Truster and Jillian Reese of Loveleigh Loops. You can’t find anything simpler than this! I started with a brush pen that I purchased for $2.99 at Hobby Lobby and some graph paper (as I didn’t have dot grid paper). You don’t need a lot of tools. See!

Consistent practice is what makes one better at this art (like any other art)! So I practice whenever I can. Inspired by one of John Muir’s quotes, I created the above piece, I know it’s not perfect…. but I love the journey – learning, improving and most of all enjoying every scenic path!!

One cup at a time

Painting these blue teacups in watercolor was such a pleasure. I used to see paintings of pretty and dainty teacups on Pinterest, and they always reminded me of some other time. Finally one day I was inspired to paint.

I remember seeing rows of dainty teacups in fine china adorning the shelves of the cabinet in my mom’s dining room. Looking back even further, I remember seeing them in my grandma’s kitchen. Hand painted and delicate, those exquisite teacups with matching saucers perched quietly on the high shelves must have listened intently to the conversations around the dining table, observing old and new generations coming together, absorbing their stories…….

I cannot look at teacups without reminiscing about old times!

Love your work

Sometimes all we need to do is to look at all we have done and delight in our talents to feel confident!

Once in a while grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and turn back the pages. Revisit your work – prose, art, photographs – whatever you create on a daily basis.

Really look, express gratitude for your god given gifts, and take pride in them! Love whatever you do and feel the positivity seep back into your life. How many times have we appreciated someone and restored their self worth!

It’s time to extend that tenderness towards your own work.

Happy Women’s Day to all

Today social media was flooded with loving messages dedicated to moms, sisters, daughters, friends, and coworkers. It was heartening to see the underlying message of self love being poured out there. But we need not wait only for ‘today’ to celebrate the women in our lives and remind them to love themselves first. Care and compassion for self should be a daily reminder. There is nothing selfish about this because when we take some time out to nurture ourselves on a regular basis, we feel stronger and better about ourselves, physically and mentally.

Often times we mistake self care for physical acts alone such as pampering ourselves. True, these are some of the ways but they are short-lived. Self love is a daily process!

What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake or fail at something? Is it “I suck” or “It’s ok, I learned something from this”.

What do you do when someone puts you down? Do you keep quiet or do you stand up for yourself? Do you mumble a soft ‘yes’ or do you politely but firmly say a ‘no’?

This is self care.

Take a break when you are tired. Don’t feel guilty about it.

Learn to say ‘no’.

Speak up. Stop being a doormat!

Take care of your health, physical and emotional.

Carve out time to walk in nature, relish a cup of coffee, journal, meet up with like minded people, read, paint…..whatever your heart desires!

This is self care.

Pet moment

On a cold morning laced with frost, I drove my kid to school, all the time whining about the temperature and the morning traffic. When I stepped back into my home, my seven-year-old Maltese came to the door, wagging his tail, stretching himself – he had come all the way to the front door to welcome me! He does this every single day – just like the “important” things I have to do – messages to answer, beds to make, countertops to clean and so on.

Today, however, I dropped my bag and keys, picked him up and went straight to the couch. He snuggled into my lap, I ran my fingers through his silky fur. He closed his eyes. No sound except for the wall clock ticking and the morning birds chirping. I closed my eyes lost in the bliss of the moment. Everything else can wait…..

Into the dawn

This morning as I was packing the last sandwich into the lunch bag, my eyes fell on a glow outside.

I opened the blinds on the door and there it was, a pale crimson halo on the horizon against the dark silhouettes of the bare branches of Bradford pear trees.

Usually my next step would have been to reach out for my phone and click away, but I did not do any such thing. Instead I stepped out into the chilly dawn, plunging my hands deep into the pockets of my sweater to keep them warm as I looked upon the horizon and up at the sky.

There was Venus, shining so brightly as always in the dark blue sky above me. A feeling of deep calm engulfed me as I stood there in the coolness, watching a golden hue replacing the crimson. A plane flew by, its lights flickering and then everything turned quiet once more.

It was time to go back inside.