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Ghosts….

I was just reading or rather listening to this book ‘Ghosts Among us: Uncovering the Truth of the other side’ by James Van Praagh..interesting book, I though there was some truth to the book however since James is also  TV guy and an entertainer I though  there was some additional element of drama like spotting of celebrity Ghosts and speaking to Abraham Lincoln so I won’t endorse the book wholeheartedly but will share my take on the parts I agree with from the book and generally in life about Ghosts!

So do I think Ghosts exist? …..actually I do…I think Ghosts are real…

Ghosts  are also just energy…energy of people who have passed over from their bodies. Ghosts can be good energy trying to help and make the world a better place or bad energy just like people. I hate watching horror movies because it about bad Ghosts…I also hate watching violent negative movies with sad endings.

So have I had a Ghostly experience….well…Ghostly experiences are hard to determine and define and can very often be dismissed as coincidences.

One encounter which kind of stands out was when my grandmother passed away.

She was in a hospital for many days in Mumbai and I was in Hyderabad driving around 8:30 pm though the golf course and suddenly the lights on the street flickered and I and the friend  I was driving with both felt goose bumps and looked at each other with a ‘did you feel that…something was weird’. We ignored it and drove back to our campus and forgot about it. Next day morning my mom called me to tell me that my grand mom had passed away the previous night and when I checked with her the time of her passing it was around the same time we felt the wired sensation and the flickering of the lights. My theory was that it was my grand mom saying good bye. See now that is the thing about supposed Ghostly experiences…you cannot say for sure what it was.

We know that what we felt that night for a few seconds was real…the goose bumps the flickering lights, we also know that my grand mom died that night  but was it my grand mom’s ghost which cause the feeling and the flickering…we will never be able to prove given the scientific constructs of today but I think I know.

Have you had such energy driven ghostly experiences?  I would love to hear them…we don’t talk about it very often because somewhere we think it makes us sound crazy  but you will be surprised…almost everyone has had at least some interesting ‘energy’ experience!

Look forward to hear your experiences!

Cheers!

S

 

 

 

 

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Blackberries

I have been dog sitting the last couple of days and because you have a dog you need to take him for a walk around the neighborhood.

So while taking my dogies for walks around I noticed there are so many blackberries growing all over the neighborhood which we barely noticed last year because all we would do is sit in the car and drive out!

I struggled with the thought ‘Hmm…these berries look like blackberries from the grocery store but are they safe to pluck and eat!? ‘ It just shows how we have becomes slaves to organized food and removed from nature…blackberries grow on trees and not in grocery stores..duh! It is not that like I did not know they are grown on trees but since they were not in a packet..I was not sure…are they  I checked with a neighbor…can you eat these berries and she said  of course  you can and then I started my routine for plucking and eating berries off the shrubs around!

And boy…are they yummy or what! The pleasure of plucking and eating something off the tree is something different..:-)

So all you people in Seattle who are wondering if you can pluck the blackberries from the shrubs and eat…yes you can….they are yummy and safe…I have survived the week eating 10-12 berries everyday! 🙂


Happy plucking!

Cheers!

S

 

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So Why Don’t I Write!?

My last post very eloquently established the benefits of writing and made some compelling arguments to establish why ‘everyone should write everyday ‘  so now comes the next question, why DON’T  people not write everyday…ok lets makes it more personal  and  then see if that template will fit the larger ethos…

So why don’t I write everyday…!!??

I don’t know what to write…its not that I don’t have any ideas…. to the contrary there are so many things swirling in my head in fragments of thoughts that I don’t know what to choose and if it is substantial enough to make a blog post…

Should I write about my experience with dog sitting with  Rover or my new found love of starting a little patio garden or the lovely taste of blueberries that I pluck and eat from the street outside or about my multiple takes on ‘energy’ …hmm …maybe I should eventually write about all these things! So it is established, not knowing what to write is just an excuse and not the actual reason…

So what are the other reasons?

I don’t have time….Hmm…this is classic reason, very easy to give for anything and everything you don’t want to do…and if I am honest I waste soooo much time watching Netflix and doing other useless things that it is not funny. I definitely have time to write especially now that my husband is travelling and I am in an antisocial mood and don’t feel like going out and meeting my friends… I have all the time in the world! There was a time when I was on an exchange program to Switzerland and I was actually really busy touring I managed to write one post everyday….the quality of posts may be questionable…but the point here is that I made time to write even when I was super busy…

So there goes another reason….then why don’t I write more often?

It takes too long and my distracted monkey mind comes in the way….well…that sounds about right and I cannot refute that reason…yes I tend to get distracted, every time I sit to write my monkey mind wants me to do something else and I just don’t get to it..

Hmm…so I got one valid reason…but is that reason enough…? It is not that I don’t know how to control my monkey mind, I am a well functioning individual at least most of the times…I know how to control the monkey inside my brain…I  ensure I brush my teeth every night and empty the kitchen sink before sleeping no matter how tired and bored I am…

So why can’t I control my mind enough to sit down and write?

I did not know ‘Why’ I should write… There is a book I got from a Secret Santa called ‘Start with Why’, I have not yet completed reading the book  but the concept that I have gathered so far is that if you know ‘Why for doing something, you will find the ‘How’ to do it. We normally focus on the ‘How and forget about the ‘Why’. I would try and motivate myself by saying I should write at least one blog a month or I should sit down from 2pm -3pm to write but I never got around doing it, because somewhere deep inside I did not have a convincing ‘ Why’ for doing it!

Wow…Life would be so different if we had a resoundingly convincing ‘Why‘ for everything we did! This can be another series of post idea’s …Why do I work? Why do I work in an IT services company? Why should I write my mission statement? Why do I do what I do and why don’t I do what I don’t … Why Why Why! Don’t know if I will get answers to all the Why’s of life but what the heck…I think it is worth exploring! I hope you dear reader..join me in this journey finding the answerer to the ‘why’s’ through writing…:-)

Bottom line, I have convinced myself about the “Why I should write” so now hopefully you will see more blog posts from me!

Cheers!

S

 

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Writing…

Everyone should write, Everyday.

There was a time when I used to write a blog post every day, well at least I did it for a couple of months…now I am struggling to write even one post. This is something I need to change.

Why do I want to get back into writing?

Writing helps you to structure your thoughts, be more articulate and put your point across succinctly. This was something I was pretty good at when I was younger but I feel that I am struggling with it these days. Now I know more, so it would help if I could put my point across effectively!  Your brain constantly needs to be trained to build on existing skills to develop and retain them. Writing or  giving a speech would help to build the neuron connections in the brain to be structured in your though and communication.

Being in the information age, we are bombarded with stimuli and information. It is critical to be able to structure and communicate the relevant information.Writing helps to build patience and concentration. Writing is not quick…well on twitter it is but writing anything substantial takes time, patience and concentration. This is another skill I believe i need to hone further. I tend to be flightily and distracted and my monkey brain keeps telling me to do something other than what I am currently doing.

Even as I sit here, my brain is telling me I am hungry, kind of sleepy, I should have tea or maybe lunch, watch TV and finish ‘The Fosters’ episode  which I left half and oh my phone is ringing i really should pick that up. Gosh the speed of thoughts in this brain of mine is crazy. Writing would help to contain and tame the monkey  in your brain. The monkey is important, you want to be able to think all those things but the monkey needs to be in control and I believe writing would help discipline the monkey.

When you write, you create something that did not exist, you contributed your little bit to the universe. It may not be path breaking or a blockbuster  but you have still created something new and that is a satisfaction in itself. Who knows what lives you impact by sharing your thoughts! I just stumbled upon a blog by  a lady called Lakshmi Iyer ( https://lgiyer.com/ ) where she shares her experience  about adopting two white girls and raising them in a multicultural family.  We have been talking about fostering/ adopting a child in the US but had many apprehensions and one of them was about how it would be to raise a multiracial family. I don’t know if we will actually go and adopt/foster but the point here was that Lakshmi who I don’t know, may never know created something new in the form of her blog which was relevant and had a positive impact on me. So go ahead and write…create…add to the universe! I may not be able to paint or sew or make movies to add to the universe…but I can write… so I should!

Writing makes you calmer. I guess this may just be an effect of taming your monkey mind but I distinctly feel so much calmer now that I was 30 mins back when I started writing this post.

Writing helps you to understand yourself better and I  guess since you understand yourself better, you become a better communicator. There is so much inside us that is hidden and writing helps to bring it out to your awareness. Like for example, I had no clue on what this post was going to be about I did not plan to write about advantages of writing but I just did and now I know the advantages of writing. It may sound kind of counter intuitive but you don’t necessarily need to ‘know’ when you start to write but you ‘know’ because you wrote…Does that make sense?  Just go with the flow…write and you will be surprised what comes out. You don’t need to write a blog for the world to read, you can just write for yourself in the old school dear diary and it will change your life!

Wow…I am impressed with everything writing can bring to your life!  Now that I know why it is so good to write, I am pretty sure I will write more!

Cheers…to more writing! God help!

Love

S

 

 

 

 

 

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up Marie Kondo

I would have never pegged myself as a person who would read a book on Tidying up and actually apply it, but I don’t know what came over me and I got the audio book and I listed to it end to end , applied some parts of it and I highly recommend the book!

Key take away from the book  was the burrito style of folding clothes that you store in your cupboard, it is amazing how much space it clears up. Seeing is believing. I wish I had taken before and after pictures of my drawers but alas I did not.

It is actually magic, try it for yourself. Empty a drawer and fold clothes burrito style and put it back and you will see the difference.

For those who are like me and had no idea on what the burrito style of folding is check out this video

Try it and share your experience!

Cheers!

S

 

 

 

 

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Night Shift on the IPhone

There have been multiple articles and research which claim that looking into the bright phone screen around bedtime and if you get up in the middle of the night  can mess with your sleep patterns.

Smart Phone companies also know that and to help us they have a not very well known but useful feature called ‘Night Shift’ on your iphone.

You can set up a time and the phone will automatically dim the screen to a warmer light instead of the regular bright white backlight.

I have set mine up for 10pm to 7am everyday and I think it does help in some subtle ways. I know ideally we should just keep our phones away in a drawer and live life gadget free  for a few hours before we sleep but till we get that discipline into our life let us at least set up the night shift phone on our smart phones!

So how do you set up the Night Mode?

1.Launch Settings from your Home screen.
2. Tap Display & Brightness.
3.Tap Night Shift.
4.Switch Scheduled to on.
5.Tap From/To.
6.Tap Custom Schedule and enter the time  you want to phone to go into night mode!

I wonder if they have a auto schedule for the Do-Not- Disturb mode as well on the phone…I will check it out tomorrow morning!

 

Till then…Good Night Sleep Well!

Cheers!

S

 

 

 

 

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Will Heart & Mind..

The concluding chapter of the book Grit summarize the concepts covered albeit a little different from my summary of the book but it also added some interesting aspects.

A question that I found particularly intriguing was:

How does Grit affect your family and friends? Is having single minded focus which borders on obsession take away from the people around you?

The author does not answer it but leaves it open ended, she just says it needs more research. I live with an extremely gritty person and ironically that this is something I hate a love about him …so I would definitely love to read about the affect of Grit on people around you if they ever write about it!

Another interesting aspect this last concluding chapter talks about is that is Grit everything? After 270 odd pages talking about how essential Grit is..it is a good question to ask…:-)

To my great relief, the author  also concludes that Grit is not everything and success which is more likely to come because we are gritty may not necessarily translate to happiness.

She clusters human characteristics into intrapersonal (Will), interpersonal(Heart) and intellectual(Mind) dimensions

Intrapersonal Characteristics (Will)  includes, Grit, Self control, determination, focus etc which make it possible to accomplish personally valued goals. These are also called  “Resume” virtues.

Interpersonal Characteristics(Heart)  includes social, emotional intelligence, gratitude, kindness, empathy, control over negative emotions  and things which help you get along  and help  other people. These can also be called “Eulogy virtues”

Intellectual Characteristics (Mind) which include  zest for life, curiosity, openness to learn. The book does not have another term for it but I feel like calling them ” Experience virtues”

So while Grit is important….we have lot more to us as human beings…I think I am personally stronger in the ‘Heart’ and ‘Mind’ characteristics  and need  work on polishing my ‘Will’ characteristics  and reach my potential.

Cheers to becoming more Gritty!

S

 

 

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Brain Gym?

brain-gym-2

 

I was reading an article in the Time Magazine website which asked” Is my Smart Phone making me dumber?” Well we all know intuitively that yes the smart phone are certainly making us dumber, I do not remember phone numbers, routes to places, b’days and so many other things which I would not too many years back.

But one thing that stuck a cord was  how they compared smart phone, always connected to the internet culture to ‘Cars’.While cars certainly made our lives easier and took us places faster we lost out on the physical benefits of walking to places and started living a sedentary life. Now ‘Cars’ were not the only technology to blame, we no longer have to plough fields, or carry large bags of food home, even for entertainment we now can sit on the couch and play video games instead of actual games.

Our life has changed tremendously and many of us  barely have to do physical labor as a part of our daily routine for work or recreation.

I am guessing a century or two ago if someone told people that there will be a concept of a ‘Gym’ where people would pay a monthly fee to walk on a treadmill that does not go anywhere or do ‘repetitions’ with heavy weights just for fun, it would have seemed as a crazy though but that is a necessity of the age

Similarly if I talk about a Brain Gym today, I will sound really silly but given the way artificial intelligence and technology is progressing “Brain Gyms” may become a real concept in the not so far future!

If you think about it Schools and Colleges are today’s Brain Gym’s but what happens to people after they finish studying and are in jobs which are pretty routine highly assisted by technology which does not require them to really think? Would our brains atrophy with lack of use and stimulation? Will the human race become stupid?

Well maybe not, we may have ‘Brain Gyms’ crop up around neighborhoods to improve our cognitive abilities.

So what would the future Brain Gym look like?

It will have different machines which you can go an work out in like you do in a physical gym today. Some of the machines I can envisage in a typical brain gym would be:

  •  Memory games station  to help to improve your recall: This is like the old card memory game we would play as children
  •  Problem solving stations: Maybe you play chess with the machine or solve a math question
  •  Learn a new skill:  A computer generated piano, guitar, knitting teacher
  • Learn a new language: There are so many courses available where a machine can teach you French or Spanish
  • Meditation booth which would be the equivalent of the current sauna’s after a round of hard exercise 🙂
  • The personal trainer would be your coach and track your individual  progress if you decide to pay a premium  or you will have gym trainers around the machines who will help you

As I write this, I actually feel it is a an interesting business idea. There is technology available for most of these things already if there was a place like this today, I would pay a $ 100 a month and go on a regular basis.  I am only in my 30’s, with a decent corporate job in a tech company and I already feel my brain is fogging up with all the technology around me.

Skeptics may say, hey you can do a lot of these things at home yourself  or with different tutors, well you can also do almost everything you do at the Gym without going to one…can’t you?

I definitely see “Brain Gyms” in the future….Do you!?

exercise-brain

 

 

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

I am almost at the end of an audio book which I have been listening to for the past couple of weeks called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Angela Duckworth).

I think this is the first audio book I may have heard till the end and I think Audio books are a brilliant concept. Amazon bought over Audible and that is one way to pay to pick up audio books but for people in the United States, head to your public libraries, they are simply brilliant and have quite a decent collection of audiobooks that you can download.

Grit was recommended by one of my Yoga class teachers and hence I picked it up. Overall while the concepts are very intuitive and not rocket science it is nice to hear a book on it because it reinforces things that would be in your subconscious.

The crux of the book is that hard work, perseverance (Grit) and not sheer talent is essential to excel. Grit is something that can be nurtured in yourself and the people you mentor/parent.

The book is divided into 3 part

Part 1: What is Grit and why it matter

Part 2: Growing Grit from Inside Out

Part 3: Growing Grit from Outside In

Part 1.What is Grit and Why it Matters?

Honestly this was not really new information but the anecdotes were very interesting and it was over all well written and engaging. It had elements of 10,000 hours of practice from Malcom Gladwel book and other concepts which you know intuitively.

We  all subconsciously believe successful people are “naturals” which puts us the hook and we can sit back and say I was just not born with it but the author emphasizes that “Effort” is what matter and everyone can be extremely successful if we persevere.

My one line summary takeaway from this section was ” Effort Counts Twice”

Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = Achievement

Part 2: Growing Grit from Inside Out

This was the key section of the book for me. My take the 4 P’s of Grit “Passion, Practice, Purpose, Positivity“(The author wrote it as Interest Practice, Purpose and Hope)

I am still struggling to find the first P…my real passion and this book does not really clear the cobwebs on that but my take was that you still need to build your grit though this journey of life so when you do find you passion you are all set.

Once of the concepts discussed in the book on practice which I really liked was “Deliberate Practice” . It was observed  in research that people who did Deliberate practice were better poised for success as compared to people who did mindless practice. Mindless Practice is better than no practice but deliberate practice is the best. Again no rocket science  and very intuitive but still nice to read to reinforce

So what are the pillars for ” Deliberate practice”

  1. Have Stretch Goal
  2. Practice with full concentration and effort
  3. Immediate feedback
  4. Repetition with reflection and refinement

I am planning to use this for running, will let you know how it goes.

I also liked her take on purpose. A lot of us do not feel very passionately about our job’s and the reason for that is that we are unable to assign a higher purpose to what we do.

The author says, you can move from job to career to calling without changing anything.

A brick layer who says his work is to lay bricks is doing a job, one who says he is making a building looks at it as a career and someone who says he is making a house of God has found his calling!

Interesting but how do people like us implement this in our lives and jobs?

The Author suggests

  1. Reflect how the work you are already doing can make a positive impact on society
  2. How is small but meaningful ways can you chance your current work to enhance its connection to your core values
  3. Finding inspiration in a purposeful role model: Who would you like to be like in 15 years?

I can think of how to apply the first two points but have not yet found the deeper meaning of the third point.

I work in business development for an IT services company. Our official spiel is we sell digital solutions and consult customer but bottom line is we sell talent and get great technical folks to work with customers.

Like everyone else there are days I don’t like my an I wonder what the hell is the purpose of all this…to make money for some shareholders?

But when I look at my job as getting people jobs in fields they love and help to feed their families and grow I suddenly love my job because I am making a difference in the lives of all my associates and families. My core value is that people come first and I have done my best to be the champion for my associates within the organization.

The authors take on hope/positivity was that if you feel you can succeed you will be more gritty. Again common sense but nice to read. My take away was that I need to improve my self talk and more positive.

Part 3: Growing Grit from outside In

This part was about how you can get your children, your tea to be more gritty and build a culture of grit. While this was interesting to read, I am currently working on myself so the earlier section was more relevant.

 

So here is my brief synopsis on the book, I hope you enjoyed reading it! Look forward to you comments!

Cheers!

S

 

 

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