Tag Archives: Family

Family (of Redwoods)

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Nandan and I have been enjoying our Christmas break in San Francisco the past few days. Today was our last day before we head to round 2 of vipassana. We spent the day at Muir Woods right outside the city. I learned something really neat during our hike this morning that I wanted to share with you all.

First: most trees in an established forest do not grow from single trees. They actually grow from sprouts from healthy trees. These “parent” trees essentially grow burls at the bottom of the trunk near the roots and then these burls turn into saplings, and eventually individual trees.
Second: these saplings will essentially form in a circle around the parent tree, forming what is known as a family (of redwoods).

I just thought that this concept was so cool. The idea of family constructs isn’t limited to the human world. You can see this idea of a family literally all throughout the natural world, even in plant life! This seriously blew my mind.

I’ve always believed that there is a lot to learn from nature, but today I learned a huge lesson. I learned that just like the sapling is dependent on the family for its growth and nutrition, we must be willing to be open to the constant stream of nourishment that is coming our way from everyone that surrounds us. But, more than that, we must be so filled with compassion love, and nourishment, that it should be constantly flowing out of us and into the hearts and souls of the people around us. We are just as responsible for the giving of nourishment as we are for the taking of it.

This was huge. This idea of growth is so obvious in the physical form in nature, but never have I seen it this way. This experience could not have come at a better time as I start my second round of vipassana, and as we finish Christmas and 2013, and start a new year. Maybe my resolution will be to be full of love and compassion for everyone that crosses my path. Can’t wait to see what the new year has in store, and what incredible new experiences I’ll stumble upon next,

Can’t wait to share my experiences with you all about my second vipassana! See you in 10 days!

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just laugh

I just got to Philadelphia yesterday to spend time with my family in the North East, and help my aunt with my older cousin’s wedding. It hasn’t quite reached the period of crazy franticness and chaos, since it’s still just a few people here, but we are enjoying our time during the calm before the storm.

I am the second oldest cousin on my mom’s side, and I was spending time with 2 of my younger cousins yesterday. Just catching up and goofing off as 3 girls would do when left alone. Cousin #4 out of 5 is about to start her freshman year of college. While we were taking care of random things that needed to get done for my aunt, she wouldn’t stop giggling. Every single moment this girl is giggling and laughing her way through every task. Out of her entire 18 year life, I can’t recall more than 2 times where I’ve actually seen her upset or angry or mad at anyone. Thinking back, I realized that she has just always been like this.

While I was seriously thinking about this weird behavior of hers, the psychology major in me immediately jumped to, “Oh, it’s just a defense mechanism. Oh, she’s just deflecting. Oh, it’s just this or that.” But, later that night I realized that she is just an incredibly happy individual. And I realized that even though she’s my younger cousin, this one little thing is something so much to learn from. She is always freaking happy!

When I talk about living a positive life and constantly having an optimistic outlook, she is literally the embodiment of just that. If someone says something can’t be done, she thinks otherwise. When someone isn’t up for a certain task, she is there, jumping right in and finishing the job. At the age of 18, she’s mastered a skill set and created a personality that most people don’t even achieve by the time they are 80. It really is incredible.

How can one girl just be this incredibly happy? It’s because she chooses to. She is the best example of being aware, and choosing to be the positive one. This is something really hard to do, and I myself struggle to see outside of myself and outside of the smaller picture. But, it comes to show that surrounding yourself with the right people make a huge difference in your life. Every minute I spend with her is just another minute that I feel better, more relaxed. It’s all about the energy you exude.

We have to be constantly aware of what kind of energy we are sending people? Our aura can indirectly and directly affect those around us. Whether she is aware of how great of an energy she gives people, I don’t know. But I know that it is something that I strive to be more mindful of.

Confused as to how to go about doing this? One thing that I do sometimes, is when I am eating breakfast, or doing something part of my daily morning routine, I set my intentions and think about a few people that I want to send positive energy to. I don’t “pray for them”, but I think about our relationship and all the great attributes that specific individual has, and just think to myself that I hope he/she has a good day. Literally just sending some positive and loving energy to them. Whether or not it reaches them, I don’t know. But I do know that for me, there are some days that are just better than others, and I know that someone, somewhere in this crazy world, is thinking about me, and hoping that I have a good day, that I am conquering my fears, that I am achieving my goals. And knowing that is really a great feeling.

Sending all of you positive energy and lots of love on this beautiful Wednesday morning!

I am my mother’s daughter

My dad has been out of town since Thursday. My mother and I haven’t been alone together for this long in quite a while, as in by ourselves. Growing up, my mom and I didn’t agree on a lot of things. Day after day, I would promise myself that I would never do the things my mom did, or act the way she did.

The longer I was away from her during college, I began to notice that we have the same tendencies and mannerisms. I like things done my way. Everything has to be neat and organized. Randomly, I would go into cleaning sprees, making sure there wasn’t a speck of dust in my apartment room. After moving home from college, these habits continued. I began to realize that my mom and I are really similar, really really similar. Is this why we were never close growing up? Was I fighting a mirror reflection of myself growing up?

My grandma (mom’s mom) was with us for a few months after I moved home, and a few months after we got back from India. Watching my mom interact with her’s was like watching my relationship with my mom. I began to notice how she treats her mom the same exact way I treat her. It dawned on me, I am my mother’s daughter. Am I going to turn out just like my mom? Would my future daughter turn out the same way?

Looking back at the generation of women before me, I realize how strong and compassionate they are. They are the epitome of what a wife, mother, daughter, and sister are. I see what it means to be a woman–the sturdy backbone, the compassionate heart, the loving shoulder, nurturing hands. I guess if I end up the same way as my mother and grandmothers, I won’t be in too bad of a place. I mean, they’re all incredible ladies that I’m so fortunate to have in my life. They’ve set the tone for what a true woman should be.

I have begun to appreciate my mom so much more these past few months, and I literally don’t know what I would have done or how I would have turned out if it wasn’t for her. I don’t tell her this enough, but I love that woman more than life itself.

So, what’s the point of this post? Nothing more than another realization I’ve had in life that I know is going to help me in the future. It’s funny when things begin to make sense. Life always gives you clarity when you’re most prepared.

I (think) I’ve said this before, but the relationships we have in our life play such an essential role in our development. Are you learning about yourself? Are you growing? Are you becoming closer to your goal because of that other individual? These are questions I ask myself, but really need to ask myself much more than I do. Because these are the people that I want to turn to in times of need. These are the people I want to share my successes and my failures with. These are the people that are going to help me seek the Ultimate.

What better relationship than the one with the person who knows you best, whether you want to admit it or not. Family will always be your family at the end of the day, whether you like it or not. So mom, if you’re reading this, I love you. And thanks for being the best mom a girl can ask for!

I am my mother’s daughter.

Three Generations

Three Generations

Mama's Smile

Mama’s Smile

 

relationships

One of the most important things that goes on in India is visiting family. I haven’t seen a lot of them in 7 years, and a lot of family I’m meeting for the first time! I really didn’t realize how big my family was, until I for real thought about it, while I was at my mom’s mom’s house in the village. There were new relationships and connections with my family every day. It was pretty cool, and way more than I can remember

I started thinking about all of the relationships I have in my life: friendships, personal relationships, family, co-workers, my relationship with my community, and yes, even my Facebook friends. Each one of those relationships play a very crucial role in my spiritual development.

A real relationship is where you are really truly developing into a better version of yourself, ultimately bringing you closer to the Ultimate. Just recently, my best friend and I were talking about how after our friendship rekindled essentially, we’ve been more confident in ourselves, are more optimistic, and are really just happier. This is what a true relationship is about. I think to my friends from college, Bridge Builders, youth camp, whatever situation, and how blessed I am to have found people in whom I can grow closer with the Supreme.

“The true soulmates, those who are really meant for you, they always show up, at the right time, and at the right places. You can’t search for these friendships, they just happen. A real friendship consists of more than social exchange and emotional support. In a real friendship, one plus one always exceeds two. Such friendships need hard work. You can’t plan on coming across such friends; you have to leave the start of such friendships to the chances”

This quote is from a book I just finished reading, “The Alchemy of Well-Being” by Indrajit Garai, and I think it sums up pretty well the essence of a relationship. People come into your life at exactly the right time, when you need them the most. And if they leave, then they’ve played the part they need to make you a better person. This last part is sometimes hard for me to grasp and understand. Why do friendships end? Why do I stop talking to people I once was so close to? Everyone who you cross paths with has a role they play in your life, whether it be to be your best friend, hurt you so that you are able to learn from the experience later on, encourage you to achieve your ultimate goal, to love, whatever. But, not everyone is meant to stay in our life forever. We can learn something about who we are from each encounter.

A relationship should be a mirror reflecting the image of who you really are, and helping you turn your flaws into perfections. Something that I’ve begun to think about is if I’m being a true good friend to those around me. I’m glad that I have so many relationships that really reflect the person I am, and friends who have my back, encourage me in all that I want to accomplish, and tell me when I’m being unrealistic or just dumb.

So, whoever you consider family or friend, love that person/group. They’re here for your personal growth!

“In a real friendship, one plus one always exceeds two.”

Countdown to America: 13 days

routine life

My granddad (dad’s dad) just celebrated his 83rd birthday during Diwali. I really admire him. For a good majority of his working career, he would ride his bicycle to and from work, and work at least 10 hour shifts 6 days a week. Talk about a “when I was your age” story. So, at 83 years old, I’m sure anyone can imagine, that someone is going to be pretty stuck in their ways and routines. The first few weeks I was here, I was really astonished at the fact that he would easily wake up at 4, 5 in the morning. Naturally, my grandma would yell at him and tell that’s entirely too early to be getting up and making a ruckus in the house. So, now of course, he wakes up at a little later…at 6:30 am (this is a struggle for me regardless).

His routine is pretty perfect and to the tee. He wakes up at 6:30. Makes a cup of tea for himself. Waits for the milkman (yes, a milkman still comes to the house to give you milk here). After the milkman has come, he sits on our swing and reads the paper (but only the headlines, because the other print is too small for him to read). Then, when everyone else wakes up around 7:30/8:00, it’s round 2 of tea. And by 9:00am, he’s showered, gotten ready for the day, morning prayers completed, and is sitting quietly on the swing. And that’s his routine. Every morning.

I began to think of my “morning route”, and realized it’s so willy nilly, and very dependent on what I have going on for the day. Whereas my gdad, no matter what’s going on, his routine is stable. If I have yoga, I wake up at maybe, 6:30, sometimes 6:55 (for my 7am class that is). If I don’t, hello 9:00am! Sometimes I eat breakfast, sometimes I don’t. Basically, it’s so irregular. And sometimes, I’m just too lazy where I don’t even do my morning prayers or make time for meditating. What’s wrong with me? Will it take me another 60 years to reach the same place my granddaddy is at? Why am I so situation-dependent?

I don’t have an answer to this question. But, I know it takes constant effort. I mean, seriously, how good are we at keeping our New Year’s Resolutions? (If you’ve figured out the secrets, share them here!) It’s really hard to live a stable life. But, I do know that some sort of routine is good for a healthy life. I mean, my gdad, he’s 83 with not a single health problem. He’s doin’ something right.

Do you have a daily routine that yo follow no matter what the situation is?

not quite 17 things I’ve learned this past week

Today, I woke up early to go to a park and read the Geeta. Well, a transliteration of it at least. A very good one might I add. If you want to know the author, let me know. But, back to the point I’m trying to make. A lot has been on my mind the past week, and it’s really hard for me to express those thoughts. I get embarrassed, and afraid. Afraid that people will judge me for what goes through my mind. Maybe they won’t agree with it, maybe I’m too scared to not be accepted. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe maybe maybe. This is what my life has become. Endless amounts of maybes that encourage me to teeter on yes or no. Like my mom always says,”maybe is not a real answer”. And she’s absolutely right. Everyone knows the definite answer to every situation, idea, feeling, thought, question, everything…but we’re just to something to admit it. Acceptance. We all strive for it. But is it absolutely necessary? We came into this world alone, and we are going to leave alone. I know that this is a semi-depressing thought, but it’s the truth. The people and things that we surround ourselves with in our lives are there to make this journey we call life a little bit more pleasurable. We learn from them and these things, hoping that at the end of the day we have become a better person. So maybe if we thought of life in this sense just a little bit, we probably wouldn’t have so many “maybes” and we would probably be more confident with ourselves.

While reading the Geeta this morning, I came across a few things that I think if I understood better, I could learn to be a more confident individual. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me understand the purpose for what i’m living a little bit better:

  1. we have 5 senses. we let these senses take control of our actions. wrong. our mind needs to control our actions.
  2. everyday we are led by our desires. we want this and that, and all those things over there. but, are these desires going to help us grow towards our ultimate goal?
  3. we are all connected. all humans are part of mankind/humanity/whatever shall you. so, if one person is affected, than so everyone else is too. this leads to my 4th point
  4. why are we not more merciful towards the other human? are we not all part of one species? doesn’t it make sense to have a little bit more sympathy for other people?
  5. my final point: everything that makes us up as an individual is constantly changing. it changes with the people we are with, the situation we are in, the surroundings that consume us everything–our personality, ego, senses, emotions, will, intellect. EVERYTHING. how can we honestly say that we are this, or that we are that when we aren’t anything but situational.
point 5 is what i will elaborate on this week. so look out for that. until then. peace to you.