Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Tribute to Shadow - My German shepherd

My Dear Shadow

The silence in the house hits you hard. The welcome bark of my dear Shadow will never be heard again. There is nobody asking for his share of biscuits when I wake up in the morning to have my first cup of tea.I saw him take the first breath eleven and half years ago and 5 days back I saw him take his last breath. The moment of separation cannot be expresses in words, it somewhere numbs your senses, it tears a chord within you.

Looking back there is a lot to learn from him. His resilience, enthusiasm, an unshakeable faith on the people he knew and loved, all teach me to look at the positives in life and take life as it comes.I still remember the first time when Shadow was around three and half months old and had just learnt his toilet manners. It was the month of January and we were in Gulmarg, Kashmir.We were sitting inside our room which was quite warm, outside the temperature was below zero degrees and it was all snow clad. Shyamal was sitting and wearing a T shirt and track pants, I at least had a sweater on. Shadow wanted to go for a toilet break. he indicated the same, looking at us, his eyes conveying that if you want you can come along and he opened the door with his snout and walked out. We also hurried behind him and had to bear the temperature outside.

The Two Brothers

By the time he was fully grown up his standing height was same as mine!!. Even when I went out for five minutes, on my return he would greet me with his paws on my shoulders. The day  we came to know that I had conceived, Shyamal and I came back home discussing on our way back that we needed to tame Shadow a bit specially the way he greeted me when I came back from outside. However there was no such need. From that day, as if he knew it all, he stopped climbing on my shoulders to greet me. nature is great and so is this breed of German Shepherds and so is my Shadow whom I shall always miss for the rest of our lives.

He was a big brother to my son Antariksh, who always addressed him as 'Bhai'. It was amazing to see the manner in which Shadow was protective about Antariksh. Gypsy, Shadow's mother passed away only a few days before Antariksh was to be born therefore Shadow automatically took it on him that he is responsible for Antariksh's welfare. Antariksh too will have to cope up with the tremendous loss.

                                                              Antariksh and Shadow

He was my baby and I do not know how will I manage without him. Every corner of the house and specially the sofa in the drawing room looks and feels so empty. The vacuum created cannot be filled. I will miss him on my walks and and in every aspect of my life. I pray that his soul may rest in peace and god may send him back to me whenever the appropriate time comes for the same.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How to always stay inspired and motivated

With increasing stress levels in our lives, more and more people are finding that it is difficult to remain inspired and motivated all the time.The problems are many and the solutions are often not found easily. In such a situation to remain enthusiastic all the time is not an easy task.However a life without enthusiasm , without any motivation creates a vacuum . Our lives loses its vitality.We need to ask ourselves are we living a life without any purpose or are do we have enough zeal and enthusiasm to stay inspired and motivated in all our activities as well as help others associated with us to do remain so .In this post we look at some of the tips  which if we try and follow and inculcate in our lives will help us to feel and stay inspired and motivated in our day to day lives.

One needs to make the time to connect with ones more playful side, the child within our selves.To energise ourselves it is beneficial to take time to study the positive qualities of children and model their ability to stay energised, imaginative and completely in the moment no matter what may be going around them. The child in us remains alive throughout our lives but as we grow, we bury that child deep within ourselves and stop reacting to our natural instinct which is very much like a small child awed at the beauty of the life that the almighty has bestowed on us.Reconnecting with this part of our own selves enables us to be completely clued to the present and also is a beautiful way to stay inspired and motivated in all our activities just like the way we used to be when we ourselves were children.

Inspiration and motivation can also be got from looking at the lives of ordinary people living extra ordinary lives. Adversity does not dither them.They look at them as opportunity waiting to be unleashed and explored to unearth the true purpose of their lives. The other day I was watching a program on the television which was an award ceremony organised by the Times group in which the ordinary citizens of India were being awarded for their exemplary performance in their own respective fields. Each of those individuals, each of those stories were inspirational. They were all ordinary people like all of us from different backgrounds but each of them were living extra ordinary lives. Challenges do not stop them in fact they see them as opportunities and get motivated to resolve them with renewed vigour.If there is a lack of motivation and inspiration in our own lives it helps if we connect with such motivated people as they help us in rediscovering our own selves and live a life full of enthusiasm.

To regain ones enthusiasm and to remain inspired and motivated all the time it is important for us to be connected with our own purpose.If one is aware of what one wants it is easier to stay motivated and inspired.It is also important to put challenges in front of us on a daily basis and be our own judge, this helps us in realising our mistakes , look at our lives from different perspectives and helps us in improving our own selves for a better future.

A smile is a marvellous expression. We need to get in to the habit of putting up a smile.Whatever be the situation in our lives, it always helps to put up a smile. This somewhere connects with our subconscious mind and tells it that we can handle it all and we will continue to remain optimistic in every given situation.It spreads energy and enthusiasm and keeps us inspired and motivated helping us to fulfil and realise our dreams.We should learn to look at the positives in our lives. Initially it takes time, but later it becomes a habit.

To be inspired and motivated it is of paramount importance to stay healthy. Only a person who is both physically and mentally healthy can remain enthusiastic and motivated to do things he wants to do. Eating properly and proper sleep is essential for us to maintain semblance in our lives. It keeps us focussed and helps us in  channelising our energies in the proper direction.If one is finding it difficult to make the most out of their day to day lives there is an amazing guide created by none other than one of the most reputed blogger of our times, Steve Aitchison wherein he shows us steps to become an Advanced Early riser. The Guide further shows us how to maximise our time to work on our passions, our goals in life and teaches us how to get a great nights sleep. We can all use a little extra times in our lives, with this guide one can easily gain 7-28 extra hours per week. Click here

To top it all one needs to have faith, faith in our selves and faith in life as such."As human beings our tendency is to tell life to listen to what we want. But life doesn't work that way.It gives us what we need what is best for us, what is in our highest interest.Your life will work much better once you begin to listen to life. Let it lead you rather than trying to push it"-Robin Sharma

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How to deal with crisis in our lives

"We could never learn to be brave & patient, if there were only joys in the world". -Helen Keller.Often in life when things seem to be going on pretty fine, that we are brought face to face with a situation we probably would never envisage in the wildest of our dreams. The real character of a person comes to the fore when he is faced with a crisis/ situation in life he least expected. The crisis may be of different types, however ,whether it is related to the family or finance it catches us unaware.A crisis in life can be viewed as an examination which every individual has to face at some point of his life and how we deal and react to in such situations makes or mars our life going ahead.

Accept reality : Often when faced with a crisis in our lives, we tend to not accept the real situation in hand.We tend to keep analysing what should have been or what could have been, had this problem not cropped up in our lives.For eg in the present global economic crisis many people all over the world lost their jobs, their livelihood. Many in such a situation would be blaming the political class or the bureaucracy for the mess that has been created in their lives.But cribbing/or lamenting over a situation which is not in our hand does not help in any way. Accepting the reality and facing it helps us to come in grip with the crisis in hand. It is equally necessary to give us the requisite time needed by our own selves to come to terms with the given situation and then resolve to deal with the same.

Talk to someone you trust: Sharing our problems with someone, and talking about our problems helps us to come to terms with  the crisis as well as it allows us to see the situation from a different perspective. We often refrain from talking about our problems in the fear of what might others feel and say. However talking about our problems allows us to clear our own minds and also seek the aid of someone who might give us proper guidance regarding the same. Herein the family or our close friends often come forth as a big support factor therefore in the hay days it is always important to keep in mind the value that family ties and good friends have in our lives. 

Crying helps: Statistics reveal that woman cope with crisis or difficult situations in life much better than men, because women share their problems with others as well as allow and do not refrain themselves from shedding tears if they feel like. Crying helps us to emotionally heal ourselves and also does good to us at the physical level. Therefore if we feel like crying we should not stop ourselves from doing so, one feels much lighter in the heart after that bout of crying.Specially if the crisis is something like the loss of someone close to us it really helps to cry if we feel like and crying restores and calms the nerves of the body.   

Look at other positives in life: When one road ends ,life often leaves open several others. It is entirely upon us to tap on those doors and realise their value in our lives.We should also learn to appreciate the little things and joys in life for they are what actually keep us going. Difficulties are often opportunities  to be waiting to be explored, and after a lapse of time we realise that what happens is for our good and there is a supreme being overseeing all of this and knows what is ultimately best for us.

Take recourse to Nature/hobbies: Often lot of people cope with a difficult situation by taking recourse  to the beauty of nature or also rediscovering their lost passions/hobbies as this allows to divert their attention and cope with the problem at hand in a better way.  Reuniting with our own self is an important lesson which we often forget in the mundane chores of our lives, but when faced with a crisis often helps us in understanding the true essence of life.

It goes without saying that time is the best healer so what ever the situation it helps to understand that it will pass. Nobody ever said that life is a bed of roses.Life is more often than not is a bed of thorns whether we allow those thorns to hurt us or we crush them depends upon our attitude towards life. The importance of balanced life cannot be undermined and when faced with a crisis like situation we understand the value of the same all the more.It is important to have faith in the divine grace,as in spite of everything it leads us to our true goal."A smile acts upon difficulties as the sun upon the clouds-it disperses them"

Friday, 16 November 2012

How to manage Personal Finance

The first day at work- the first money earned -the happiness and achievement associated with the feeling cannot be expressed properly..However as time flies and responsibilities add up we all get into a grind where the cycle of earning and spending becomes a vicious one. If we do not have a proper plan up our sleeves, how so ever we may earn may not seem to be sufficient for the times to come.

We have already seen the Importance of goal setting in our previous blog. As in other aspects of our lives setting goals for a healthy financial life is of paramount importance. Most of us tend to give importance to how much we earn. However it is how much we save and what is our modus operandi in doing so that according to me is of immense importance.

Meaning thereby if we have proper goals and proper planning ahead of us we can enjoy peace of mind , and it would be easier to handle the various stages and challenges that are set forth for us.While making a strategy for our financial life certain things ought to be kept in mind.

Analysis of current  financial situation:Before embarking upon the task of setting goals for a better financial future we need to sit down and take stock of our current financial situation.In doing so look at these following aspects:
  • Current budget - Earning-Spending and Saving ratio.Before making plans in our personal finance we need to be aware of our present budget.
  • Your current portfolio-Most of us do start saving as we start earning but on an average we do it in a random manner without any actual pan or strategy in place.Therefore we need to write down in one place all that we have saved, the instruments in which we have saved and there present value so that we  can see where we need to continue and where we need to make changes.
 Current Age: Our age is a very important factor that needs to be considered before setting realistic goals for a healthy financial life. For e.g.- The strategy to be adopted  by a person who is 30 years old would be very different from a person who is 50 years old. Age of a person is a very important criteria as this is what enables us to see the time horizon available to achieve the different financial goals as per an individuals requirement. Also this determines the instruments in which an individuals investment should be based, for instance a 30 year old can have more investments in the equity market whereas a 50 year old nearing his retirement should be more cautious and have more investments and savings in debt instrumentalities.

 Temperament : Our temperament is what also equally determines our modus operandi in choosing our saving and investment strategy.By temperament here we mean whether we are ready to take certain amount of risks in our financial planning or we are totally risk averse when it comes to do anything to do with our money.For instance a person who is ready and willing to take some amount of risks with his money should choose to invest in the equity market whereas a person who is totally risk averse should choose to invest in debt instruments such as bank fixed deposits or bonds etc. This coupled up with the time horizon available for realising each of your goals contribute and determine the strategy to be adopted for financial planning .

Liabilities: An important criteria that need to be considered before adopting a strategy for setting forth an effective and achievable financial plan in action is to determine and ascertain the present liabilities/responsibilities that we have . Liabilities may be in terms of number of people dependent upon us, the number of loans and mortgages that need to be repaid etc.For instance a 30 year old may have more liabilities than a 50 year old, therefore we need to consider and take into account this very important factor before setting and rolling out any financial strategy in action.

Categorise your Financial Goals: Different people have different financial goals. It will all depend upon our individual circumstances and choices.We need to break down out our financial goals to achieve clarity with regards to the plan to be adopted. Broad categories may include goals for your family: children, parents spouse, retirement planning, planning for paying off your debt. Whatever our goals are we need to categorise them with a time horizon associated with each of them so that we understand our priorities and chart out a feasible working plan for the same.

Many of our discontentment stem from lack of clear perspective with regards to adequate structure with regards to financial planning.If we have our financial life and goals in place we can concentrate on other important and enjoyable aspects of our lives.So go ahead and enjoy a blissful  and healthy financial life!

Recommended Books:

   Rich Dad's Cash flow Quadrant: by Robert T Kiyosaki

The Online Self Improvement and Self Help Encyclopedia

Monday, 12 November 2012

How to Keep Family Life Happy

Most of our activities in our lives revolve around our families. As a child we are dependent upon our parents,our siblings,as we grow our life revolves around our spouses, children and the extended family which become a part and parcel of our lives.In each stage of our lives we are introduced to various relationship which  then become an integral part of our lives.

To achieve a balance in our lives and to be content and happy it is important for us to prioritise our responsibilities towards our families.The rate of divorce and break-ups in the society is increasing at an alarming rate.The discontentment and the old family values and traditions, respect for our elders, the sanctity of the institution of marriage is all in jeopardy. The reason for all this is that we lack balance in our lives. We strive to achieve happiness for our families but because we lack a direction, a concentrated focus, a focussed goal for this aspect, we somewhere fail in our aspirations and the best of our intentions fall flat and and we fail to have a happy and contended family life.

Do we ever pause to think why is our family important to us.The continuous grind of our daily lives makes us forget the importance of the pivot of our lives. All our work , all our efforts are directed towards providing happiness to our near and dear ones but since we are not able to communicate the same in our actions and deeds towards those who matter, no body is able to appreciate the same, which leads to discontentment and frustrations.We need to refocus our energies, channelise our thought process, understand the value of our family in our lives so that we are able to direct our energies towards developing healthy relationships with the people close to us.

What then is the solution, how do we then bring back the zeal and enthusiasm back in our family lives.There are no strict guidelines but these are the broad parameters which if followed will bring back happiness and contentment.

Keep aside the EGO: The other day I read a beautiful article on ego by Osho.It beautifully describes the ego and why we cling to our ego, and are afraid to let it go lest we lose our identity. But to an extent the cause of many miseries specially breakdowns in relationship is the ego wherein we are not able to get away from our own self , where we fail to look at the view points of the other people around us. To have a happy family life and to have healthy relationships with people around us we need to keep our ego aside and understand a situation from the perspective of the other person.

Learn to Communicate: Many relationships suffer discontentment because people fail to communicate their actual thoughts to the other person. Till the time we do not let the other person know what is their in our minds we cannot establish a healthy rapport with them.So even if you feel that your thoughts may be disliked by the other person, it may be better to let the other person know of the same as he may have an explanation for the same of which we may not be aware of. For example I am unhappy with my husband because he always gets home late. I appear disgruntled when he comes back home after a day of hard work hoping to have a good time with me but finds me disgruntled and is perturbed.But neither of us communicate our feelings to each other. Over a period of time this situation gets magnified and may lead to unhappy consequences. Therefore in any relationship it is important to communicate and let the other person know our minds and not keep waiting for the other person to pre-read our minds.

Learn to listen: According to me more than communicating, listening to others is an art. It requires patience.In the long run it is one of the main basis for any successful relationship.It is only when we listen to others can we see the situation from their perspective.It allows people to understand the other person better ,understand their point of view and only enriches the relationship.

Learn to appreciate: As human beings we crave for appreciation for any work that we do.However we become misers when it comes to appreciating others for the work done by them. It especially is the case when it comes to appreciating the people close to us who selflessly devote their energies and time to fulfil our requirements.How many of us take out time to say a thank you to our parents or our spouses for the immense contribution and sacrifices they make for our growth. We instead take their actions for granted and fail to appreciate the same. Appreciation of the people around us helps the relationship to thrive and strengthens the basis of our family lives and adds value to the same.

Identify with each others aspirations:The family ought to work as a team, we need to sit together and exchange each others dreams/ thoughts.Many of our problems in our relationships arise because we are only looking at what we want and do not look at the other persons dreams and aspirations. If in the family we dream together, aspire together, we will be much happier as we will be able to live life from each others perspective and respect each others thoughts. There is transparency in our relationships

To add balance in our lives it is important to keep our relationship with the people around us happy.It is important to act like a team, set goals on a daily basis and dream together and identify with the thoughts of the other person.If we have strong family ties, the worst of situations and crisis can be dealt with, without much problems for families create a support system which provides a safety cover for individuals.

The Importance Of Goal Setting

Setting goals in our lives helps us to focus and channelise our energies in the right direction.Most of us lead our lives without understanding the purpose for which we have actually been sent to this world.It is not necessary that each one of us have goals which need to be such which will necessarily change the entire universe but the purpose would be solved if they help us in changing the way of our own lives and the people around us.

Most of us never think of specifying and substantiating the goals or so to say the purpose of our lives and do not dare to look towards doing so because most of us are scared that we will not be able to fulfil them. We are scared of failure but fail to realise that by not setting a goal for ourselves in itself leads to failure because we are going ahead without any direction.Just  imagine a situation where we have to go from X place to reach the place Y however we are clueless about the direction . Not only will be our journey to the place Y be difficult but the time wasted in reaching the destination will be much more than what it otherwise would have been.So by setting goals we give our lives a direction and by giving it a time frame we help our minds to identify with the purpose.

We utilise only a fraction of our minds which otherwise is a powerhouse waiting to be explored.We need to develop a belief system which will tell our minds that the goals that we have set forth are achievable.For writing down what we want in our lives is only the first step but till the time we do not develop the confidence to believe that those goals are within our reach we cannot achieve them in reality.So we need to develop  a system of communicating with our inner self where we do not get influenced by the happenings in our outer world and identify with the mind and the soul to let them understand the purpose of our lives.

Hope and faith are one of the most essential aspects of our lives which we cannot do without.Goal setting and successfully achieving what we aim for cannot be done till the time we have the hope, and the faith that we will be able to achieve it. It consumes our time, it makes us uncomfortable but who said that life is a bed of roses. To achieve what we aim for needs our concentrated energies but rest assured once we are done through, it helps in giving us a direction and help us in achieving true happiness for not only our own self but also people close to us.

Most of our frustrations in life are a result of a certain degree of stagnation in life which takes place because in the course of fulfilling our day to day responsibilities we forget about our dreams. We rather try to pacify our thought process by getting comfortable in the stagnated stage of our lives and the passion to live life according to our own terms, is lost in the mundane chores of our daily lives. Goal setting helps us to re- identify those passions which get locked up deep in our hearts, it helps us to re-connect with our own self and brings passion and the vision back in our lives which get blurred because of our slumberness.

It is important for our sustained  and continuous growth to rekindle and re identify the child within us and explore all those hidden dreams which would enable us to make our lives more purposeful. I take a lot of inspiration form my own son who is aged 7 years and am amazed at the simplicity and the inquisitiveness these little children have towards life. It is not only important to have one big goal or dream in life but we  also need to look and identify with those little day to day dreams and pleasures which make our life truly happy!

How to live a Balanced Life

Life at times appears to be a constant struggle ,where we struggle to meet ends either at work or at home. We often hear the phrase to live a "balanced life". We aim and strive to perfectly balance the various aspects of our lives and in the quest keep experimenting throughout our lives,juggling through each day hoping for the best and praying for the same.

Remember those days of our childhood when each day we used to get up with a new zeal , a new purpose in life. But as we grow up surrounded by the pressures of life we forget to live those dreams and tread over them as if they never existed.We need to relive and rewrite those dreams and see if any of them are still close to our heart. We need to reconsider our priorities in life. Of course life,as we grow up brings forth new circumstances and new responsibilities, therefore we need to pause and re prioritise our goals and focus on what is important to us for our growth. We should not cease to grow and treat each day as a learning experience , a lesson taught to us by no other school than the greatest of all, the school of Life.

The pursuit of a living a balanced life exists within every human being some are able to achieve it and some struggle to achieve the same.There is no straight jacket formula to lead a balanced life but there are some broad parameters which can be laid down which, if followed will help us in finding that balance we want to attain in our lives.

Balance in our Personal life: For most of us when asked why we are ready to endure all the hardships in our lives reply that we do so to give happiness to our near and dear ones.Therefore it is important that we ensure that our relationships with people close to us are healthy. It may be relationship between the parent and the child, husband and the wife, between siblings but you must make effort to keep your personal life happy.

Balance in our Financial life: Many of the problems in our life stem for mismanagement of our financial life.It has been rightly said the "Money is a means and not an end in itself", so we should pursue to earn money but for that we should not lose out on every other aspect of life.It should be our aim to keep our financial life healthy if we aim at having a proper balance in or lives.

Balance in our Physical life: Being fit and taking care of our health is of paramount importance if we really need to attain a balance in our lives for we may achieve the best of comforts in our lives but if we do not have a healthy body we cannot reap the benefits of any other aspect of our lives. People who ignore to keep a balance in their physical life and do not give enough priority to it, at some at point of life realise their mistakes but at times it is only too late in the day to undo the wrongs of the past.

Balance in our Social life: It is often said that the man is known by the company that he keeps. Our environment around us help in shaping our future so it is extremely important that we choose who are our friends.A lot has been said about the selection of friends and with the burst of technology the barriers of geographical locations is a thing of the past. But we should learn to keep a balance and check on the freedom that has been unleashed for one incorrect choice can ruin our future.

Balance in our Spiritual life: This is to me it is one of the most important aspect of our lives which help us in enduring the various situations which we face in our day to day lives."The true aim of life is to find the divine's presence deep inside oneself and to surrender to it so that it takes the lead of the life, all the feelings and all the actions of the body"- the Mother.

We need to re-establish connection with our inner-self  and understand what is important for our lives and what is that we need to achieve in our lives. Life is a learning curve where every experience, every relationship is an opportunity to explore the unexplored.A right understanding of the purpose of our lives will help us resolve lot of ongoing conflicts in our lives.

Recommended Books:

1 .     Over the Top By Zig Ziglar
2.      Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant: by Robert T Kiyosaki
3       Exploring Reiki: 108 Questions and Answers