Looking back on 2011, it was an amazing year! I feel like I have grown up in so many ways and become more youthful and kidlike at the same time. I was finally ready to let the wounds from my past heal, forgiving all including myself. In that, I have felt a freedom I have never experienced before. Here are the top things I take with me as I step into 2012:
- Love, with no expectations. For some people in my life, I would love them but also have expectations. This would often happen with women to whom I felt bonded. It’s as if these relationships are in my life so that all my neuroses can surface and I can face them and release them. I would over-give and create an imbalance in my head. I would want my needs for nurturing etc., met. I would judge and misinterpret people and hold them to high standards. And, of course, whatever I was doing to them, I was doing to myself. Bottom line is the more I pulled, the more people would pull away. I was operating from my wounds. This year, I allowed myself to come face to face with my old habits and patterns in close female relationships and released them. I am so grateful that my dear friends have stuck by me as I shed these layers. My relationships now feel so clean, light and easy.
- Vibrate at the highest level possible. Whatever we put out creates our current reality and future experiences. Even when I am down and I put a smile on my face, soon I feel better because the physical act of smiling causes the brain to release many feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. So, anytime I was unhappy, I would consciously switch it by laughing, smiling, meditating, visualization, etc. And sometimes, I would sit with my unhappiness and hold it with much love and compassion. That would also help dissipate the negativity, allowing it to be replaced by the warmth of a hug.
- Family love is a strong foundation. This year, I got to enjoy seeing my son Pranay, who was born Nov 2010, grow in so many ways. It was also wonderful to see my daughter Shayla, who is now seven, blossom. And it has been wonderful to celebrate my ten years of marriage to my husband Gaurav. I used to look outside my family to friends, study groups, work colleagues, etc. with whom to share ideas, have fun and grow. I did not plant enough of my energy into the home. Once I started doing that, the family unit felt so much more cohesive and I felt so much more grounded. This has enabled me to operate and give from a much more honest place while feeling the safety and love from my family, my rock.
- Embracing my imperfections. I used to have very high expectations on myself (which would get projected onto other people). I would judge myself and beat myself up. If I did anything ‘wrong’, I would lament for a long time and frequently beat myself up about it. This year, I began to understand that all unproductive patterns and behaviors stem from our wounds. So, I am not a weak or bad person. I am just human who is dealing with her pain and wounds. This has allowed me to take responsibility for myself in a much softer, gentler way. And because I have embraced my imperfections, I am embracing others’ as well. True acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and unconditional love for others and me.
- Breathing and Mindfulness. For a cerebral person like me, the gift of breath and mindfulness are invaluable. In a difficult situation where the tendency is to overthink and problem-solve, becoming fully present in the current moment is huge. Brain literally stops churning and things around you become more vibrant. Focusing on your in and out breaths is very powerful. You can be doing dishes, but if you are fully present, you come alive in a way that’s indescribable. And the practice of mindfulness permeates all that we do – eating, thinking, living, doing, etc. Situations usually become problems when we obsess about them. If we become present, we allow ourselves to be guided by an inner wisdom to better handle any situation at hand.
- Be childlike, not childish. In honesty, looking back at myself, I have been childish. Because I felt certain of my needs were not met growing up, I projected them on others to fulfill them. I would ask, pull, judge, control, defend – in a very nice way – but trying to get my needs met nonetheless. Well, even though I was operating from my ‘wounds’, it’s ultimately no one’s job to meet those needs. Being childlike, on the other hand, is to have a lightness and exuberance that all is well and joyful and most importantly, being childlike keeps us young as we age biologically and helps us stay in the present moment and feel alive in that space (versus the monkey chatter of the mind which ruminates about the past or worries about the future). As I have gotten older, I have never felt better.
- Have fun! Do what feels good. I dance. I have been taking ballroom dance classes since I was three months pregnant and now, I am training for a little dance recital in Samba and Cha Cha, at the tender age of 38! I am so happy when I dance. I feel so young and vibrant, something that lights me up in so many ways. I also take Zumba classes at the Local Y. I just can’t imagine being on a treadmill; that does nothing for me. When I do Zumba, I come alive and my full body, mind and soul are getting the benefits versus just going through the motions or thinking “I need to exercise”.
- Speaking my truth. I used to not like to ruffle feathers and in any kind of encounter, I would usually say ‘I’m sorry’ without even knowing what I was apologizing for. In addition to suppressing what I wanted to say, I would suppress the emotions that would come up and intellectualize or stuff them away. Now, I check in with myself and say what I feel I need to say in the kindest and most respectful way I know how, I allow myself to feel the feelings that come up without judging or shooing them away. I then make a conscious decision to release all that comes up and trust that everything will unfold for the highest good for everyone involved.
- Do right by the body so you can focus on living. I have learned that the greatest benefit to properly nourishing my body is that my energies are freed to experience peace, joy, love, happiness and life. My obsession is not the prefect body or the perfect size. But if our physical conditions affect us, we may want to address them and give ourselves freedom from them. And the root cause of our physical problems are mostly at the energetic or emotional level, so it’s about tapping into those areas. In our family, we support each other in attaining good physical health so we can bring more to the table — energetically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Asking for Divine Guidance and Surrender. So many times this year, with my children, career decisions, relationship dramas, etc., I continually learned that it’s important for me to step out of the equation and let the organizing force of the Universe – whatever you want to call it (God, Source, Divine, Nature’s Intelligence, etc.) – take over and that all I need to do is to trust that this ‘force’ will guide me well. Having faith that all will work out puts you in a place of peace and joy. This has served me and is the foundational learning for me in 2011, allowing all my other lessons to surface in the way as they have.
I am so happy for all the wisdom these lessons have given me as I move forward in my life. I have seen how exactly the right people have come into my life at the right times so I can learn my lessons and shed my layers. I am very grateful for all experiences this year!
I wish you all a wonderful 2012, filled with love and laughter, health and happiness, peace and joy.