Tag Archives: holiday

’tis the season

My favorite season is finally upon us! Looking back at the past week, and all of the Thanksgiving celebrations and festivities, I am just seriously humbled and overjoyed with all of the opportunities that have come my way in this life. We spent time with friends old and new, we spent time with nature and just being in God’s creations, and we even watched the square in Santa Fe get lit up with their Christmas lights. Seriously, I have so much to be grateful for. Everyone does, we just get so caught up in life and everything that is coming our way, that we just forget to pay attention to all the things that we do have. I am completely guilty of this myself.

I went Christmas decoration shopping yesterday, and got a little carried away. I wanted everything to be so perfect from the outside, that I lapsed and forgot what this season is all about, and why it’s my favorite time of year. Sure me being the perfectionist I am, I want everything to look perfect. But the Holiday season isn’t just about the outside. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a perfect Christmas tree that looks like it came out of Home and Garden or Southern Living magazine. But, did that become my focal point? And for a split second, maybe it did. It’s my first Christmas with my husband, of course it’s a big deal to me. Somehow, I got lucky with a great life partner who calls it as it is, and made me remember why I love Christmas so much.

Sure, Christmas has turned into a huge commercial holiday, but it doesn’t have to be just that. What is true Christmas spirit? I love this season because it’s all about giving and spending time with your family and surrounding yourself with people who love you. It’s about something greater than yourself and realizing that there is so much more beyond our little bubble. It’s understanding that everyone on this planet is connected in some way or other. And of course it’s about Santa coming and visiting all the children in the world and spreading true Christmas cheer.

Nandan and I decided that we are going to truly make this a season of giving. How can we spread true Christmas cheer to the people around us?

By not being a Grinch. By being loving and caring. By being kind and supportive. By being giving. By providing to the best of our capability the things our family and friends really, truly need. By having a smile on our face no matter what life brings us. By giving back to our community. By helping out at a food shelter. By being open. By being grateful.

The hardest part of this challenge? Taking these and going beyond just the holiday season. By implementing this into our lives past December 25, and into the new year. We’re not perfect. But, we can sure as heck try our best.

We went to dinner last night with our uncle. After we were finished, we were surprised to find out that the family sitting next to us had bought us dessert. Complete strangers, just spreading some holiday love. It’s as simple as that.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And merry, loving, caring, grateful, and giving.

How will you spread holiday cheer this year?

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When I came back from India a week ago, the first thought that came to my mind (besides the wonderful feeling of thinking how soon I’ll be showering in my own shower and sleeping in my own bed) was how my journey is over. It had been a great three months, but now it’s over.

And now, it’s 2013. I didn’t really think of resolutions or things that I wanted to work on. I thought back to the ones I made for 2012, and started thinking about where I fell short and what I could have done better. I went back to thinking about what my resolutions could be for the new year.

We make such a huge hype over the new year. It’s time to start fresh. Make goals that we want to accomplish that year, things we want to change about ourselves, etc. But, why do we limit ourselves to just that one year? Not only that, but then when we miss one day of not working out or waking up early, we sort of just give up. I mean, I do at least. I realized that this way of setting resolutions for that one year, it just doesn’t work for me. I can honestly say that I’ve never, to this day, lived through on any resolutions I’ve ever made in the new year. I even get a second try during the Indian New Year!

So, I thought about what I can do differently this year. If there is one (okay there were a lot, but here’s one that is pertinent to this situation) thing that I learned while I was in India, it was that the world isn’t waiting for you. Incredible moments don’t come to you. You have to create incredible moments for yourself, all the time. I was talking to two of my close friends on January 1, and at that moment I made the decision. I decided that I’m not going to sit around and wait anymore. Life is going by quick, I mean, I’m going to be 23 in May. 23! If I don’t start making my life incredible, it might be too late.

Here’s what I decided: to make a list of every place I want to travel to, every dream I want to accomplish, every lifestyle change I want to make, every relationship I can’t live without, everything. Everything. And every day, I’m going to put some sort of effort into living my life with incredible moments, instead of just waiting for them. The best part about this is, first, these aren’t restricted to just one year. 2013 is going to be a year where I begin to start doing something great for myself. I want to really do things that make me happy. I won’t beat myself up when I don’t do something one day. (I told myself I’ll start doing surya namaskars every day, even if it’s just one or two. Didn’t even start on Jan. 1.) I’m going to create incredible moments for myself. Second, incredible is defined by me. I no longer need an external reference to tell me if I’m progressing or not.

It’s going to take a lot of effort to accomplish the task at hand. But, the beauty of it, it’s not a “mission-accomplished” kind of task. It’s a journey.

So, here I am. It’s January 2, 2013, with a brand new journey at hand. I’m excited for what this year is going to bring. There are lots of new adventures to be had, so here’s to 2013–a year of hope, love, excitement, and many many incredible moments.

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?

blessed.

as i sit here thinking back to the past 5 days of diwali, i can’t help being drawn to the realization that i am so incredibly blessed. there is so much i have to be thankful for, and the question that looms in the back of my mind is, how can i show my gratefulness?

this was my very first diwali celebration in india, and it was such an incredible experience in itself, and the more i think about it, it included a lot of “firsts” for me. it was my first time doing rangoli (see picture), it was my first time doing fireworks by myself (i have a fear that they’ll blow up in my face before i can run away), it was my first time celebrating with family members besides my parents, it was the first time i felt a sense of community during such an auspicious time of year, and it was the first time where diwali wasn’t something i just came home to after a long day of school and classes.

the food was amazing, the decorations were spectacular, the clothes were beautiful. but more than anything, the time spent with my family and neighbors, the excited atmosphere, the smiles on everyone’s faces- that is what made these past 5 days worth it.

sometimes it’s really hard to look past the dazzle of this season. i’m guilty of it every year. this time of year is by far my favorite. i love christmas shopping and cookie baking, but i get so involved that i forget why i enjoy it so much. it’s not just to get presents for my loved ones, but the horrible traffic and long lines are worth it when you see that smile, that genuine expression on their faces that show how much they appreciate what you just did for them.

it’s about being the light in the darkness. there is more to just lighting a divo or stringing christmas lights outside your house. one small flame can brighten an entire room. one small act can change another person’s entire perspective/attitude. there is a mantra in the vedas “tamaso ma jyotir gamaya” which translates to “Lead me from darkness to light.” lead me from ignorance to knowledge. i want to seek the Truth, but when i can’t see clearly, when i’m lost in the dark, how is that journey possible? this path has been lit for me. how will i show my appreciation?

so, i think there is more to gratefulness than just a prayer of thanks. i can wake up every morning and tell God how thankful i am for every blessing i have in my life-family, friends, education, health, etc. but, sometimes just a genuine hug or smile is more than enough. i can be that light. after all, i am just an instrument of God, and my actions speak louder than my words.

first day divas on our balcony

me and my cousin working on our rangoli. safe to say my neck hurt a lot after it was done

final product of rangoli. so much time spent on this for real. not to mention my hands being 7 different colors because of the ink of the sand

decorations outside of our door in the hallway. each night we would light the divas with our neighbors

so many fireworks!

one that i set off. so proud!

fireworks

“Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”