About Living from the Heart ~

We live by stories passed on for generations about who we are
and where we should be going. But these stories don't always let us live our best lives, because they aren't our personal legends.

Living from the Heart is about discovering our own stories. Choices with Intention. It is the journey to be true to ourselves and to dare to be all God and the Universe made us to be.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Growing Pains

If i were never defeated, I would never know how to get up
If i were never grieved, i would never know how to soothe the pain and survive through it
My pain makes me human enough for my heavenly soul to touch the earth..
and connect to others around me meaningfully.

So if my wish is to connect with others and be a part of the whole - surely..
I will experience pain. But not as a punishment or as a torture.
Merely as a means to gain a greater space in my heart..for more than just me.

Love.. has so many faces. I'm still learning them all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I don't have to know it all..

I spent my early years of mothering trying to answer every childish question. My daughter was new to the planet and naturally had a healthy dose of curiosity. However, she is hitting 9 this year and i have no one but myself to blame for her tendency to question everything. But that's still okay really. It's that she just shoots off questions without thinking whether it's worth asking or not that irks me. When my second daughter developed the same annoying tendency, i knew i had to do something to keep sane.

And that's when it dawned on me that in life, it's not whether i have all the answers. Because like my kids, i could be asking useless questions and filing away unnecessary information. And then i also realised that it's not actually possible to have all the 'right' answers because the world and it's thousand variables keep evolving, and lately at an alarming rate too. I can't keep up anymore. And honestly, i don't think my kids could or should either. After all it's not exactly that impressive to walk around with a smug know-it-all attitude because on most days, people aren't really even asking.

And that's when it really hit me. Who's asking? Asking. Questions. QUESTIONS.
Suddenly it became clear to me that it doesn't matter as much how good i am at giving answers as it is for me to be able to ask good questions.

If i can ask good questions, i won't have to worry about information overload. Not if i can ask myself how much i really want to know and more importantly, why i need to know that much. I won't have to feel out of place. Not if i know how to ask the people around me interesting and enlightening questions about them to learn what makes them tick so i can adapt better. I won't have to worry anymore about feeling unloved. Not if i can ask myself how i really want to feel valued and know the right way to ask others for the affirmation i need. Asking good questions suddenly appears to be a far more fetching skill than having good answers tucked away for a rainy day.

Naguib Mahfouz aptly hit upon the same discovery i had made when he said, "You can tell a man is clever by his answers. You can tell a man is wise by his questions."

Indeed. I wonder if Mr.Mahfouz stumbled upon it after his nerves were shot by over-zealous children as well.

Anyway, so these days i've stopped scrambling to find all the answers in life to pass on to my children, or for myself for that matter. I've quit trying to teach them all i know. Instead, i ignore them if they ask bad questions and ask them specific open ended questions in reply to their good ones. After all, my best lessons in university were taught by teachers who asked the better questions. I think now that maybe both my children and i are better off developing self awareness of our own needs and requirements, which can only come from being able to honestly ask oneself and the world, tough yet meaningful questions.

I did have some resistance when i first unleashed my Socratic method on them, but they seem to have caught on quite well. I think they may even come and thank me much later in life. Maybe even sooner than later because i do now recall overhearing my second daughter stopping herself in mid-question just the other day to say, "never mind, i won't ask bad questions." That seemed pretty self aware to me. And yes, i don't get so irked anymore. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

There is no failure. Only feedback.

“Memories are reminders of what God has done and where we could have done better.” ~ Ravi Zacharias

Reading this is intimidating to me. It makes me feel that memories are scary things..like a strict old school teacher who brandishes the cane instead of encouragement for mistakes made. I have no problem with the God bit. It’s not hard for me to believe that the Universe, a Higher Force, the Great Spirit – whatever you relate to most - does have a hand in our days. It is looking at what I could have done better that I have an issue with. That disciplinarian approach to life. It feels highly judgmental. It carries a wrong versus right, good guy versus bad guy connotation that I no longer feel is the truth of my world after all.

What if all that I could have done better was exactly what I needed, so that I could be where I am right now? Given my unique set of circumstances and life experiences, what exactly is 'better'? Do I compare to my own standards or someone else’s? The fact that I made a judgement call in the past and that I have come this far must mean that I did what best I could AT THAT POINT IN TIME. Why even revisit that moment to salvage working parts? The way I see it, if I can look at the same situation and see a different path from the one I took – it means I have grown or changed or evolved somewhat. So it also follows that my past decisions could never have been better because I would not have been the wiser me now, back then.

I see no point in looking back in judgement. Today is all I have. Tomorrow, some events today would have helped me evolve even more.. enabling me to make different decisions for the same situation I meet today because tomorrow.. I will be wiser than today. So I can never really use yesterday's scenarios as a truly worthy yardstick for my tomorrows. By tomorrow, most if not all, the possible variables in the situation would have changed, including me.

I think I would rather go by the belief that “There is no failure. Only feedback.” I am more comfortable with that. It’s encouraging. It’s building. It’s affirming. And most of all it’s freeing. My memories then become fuel that I can easily burn up and use to power up my todays. They have no hidden regret or guilt attached to them. What I could have done better in the past then just becomes a neutral experiment, an experience, which provides me with relevant feedback. So I don’t get hung up on the fact that I made a bad choice then and need to avoid more bad choices in the future. Instead, I can wake up every morning truly believing it’s a brand new day, just like the day I was born because I no longer ever need to fear making bad choices. After all, there is no failure. Only feedback.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Loving Boundaries

I get very drained by relationships where i cannot be genuine and authentic. So in order to love well the people who do matter to me, i need to let go of those who drain me of my ability to be true to myself. They may not understand why i need to let go, but i send them love and peace that someday they will understand in their heart that my choice was never against them, but because i am being honest with my own limited capabilities in that relationship. I cannot love halfway. It is all or nothing. To love halfway in any relationship would dilute my ability to give all and well in another.

That's just the way i was made. I do no one a service by going against it.

The Magic of NowHere

I have a knack for being able to see through clutter, superficiality and cosmetics to find value amidst it all. Some part of that was inborn, and gaining an Accountancy degree probably helped fine tune it. There were two lessons i learned from my accounting degree. Firstly, the principle of substance over form and secondly, to convert data into useful information for the end user or purpose. I did not become an accountant, the industry itself was too left brained for me in the end. However, i have successfully applied those two life changing principles in my personal life and the life of those in my orbit.

Seriously, rummaging through receipts in a shoebox to make useful sense out of them to avoid a taxation penalty or audit disaster is much akin to sorting out the myriad of emotional bombarding people and life hurl at you and turn it all into something purposeful. It's also useful to avoid information overload and see through foolishness as well as hurtful situations to find your personal pearl of wisdom where you least expect it.

And so i actually got something amazing from watching The Love Guru. (Of course i recommend watching it with someone who can really laugh as a prerequisite for being able to endure Mike Myers for that long). I learned that you can go from being NOWHERE to being NOW HERE.

Corny? On the surface,it's downright shoddy. But I've had enough practice seeing substance over form.

Applying it to my own life i see that i do tend to live in limbo dwelling on what i should have done or what i should be doing. What i could have done and what i could be doing. Very rarely do i actually enjoy what i am doing RIGHT NOW. I live for the most part like an automated cyborg. I have all my task programming for the day in my head and somehow, i keep thinking that when the weekend comes - THEN i'll enjoy my days doing what i enjoy. Thing is the weekend rolls around and by then i have become so habitually task programmed, only something that truly makes me a fish out of water, like a wedding celebration or a class reunion where it is a completely unfamiliar setting, can actually make me snap out of my programmed mindset and enjoy the actual moment.

Now this implies that when i am in my daily element, i am less likely to actually enjoy my life and words like Boredom, Distracted, Unfocused and even Trapped can all become relevant adjectives. Bottom line is, i can see how i have been ending up feeling so unhappy. So wistful for a better life sometimes.

All the while my better life is right underfoot.
Except i can't see it because i am looking either to what i enjoyed in my past or what i can enjoy in my future.

And so, i think Guru Pitka has given me a very simple word play to remind me of the powerful life magic of BEing in the NOW.

What if i could press the Reset button on my mind and pretend I just arrived on the planet? Start fresh as if it's my very first day here. No regrets, no worries and most of all - no preconceptions of what life is. If i were born today in the full capacity of my current mental and physical faculties, what could my life be like right here and now? I would have no previous mental programming so i would have to go by intuition, by following my heart.

I'm going to laugh when i can and cry when i must.
I'm going to look for silver linings in everything.
I'm going to start living everyday like it's my first.

I'm going to give a serious shot at going from being Nowhere to being Now Here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love is... transforming.

My cousin's engagement party last night was a traditional engagement with ceremony and protocol . Almost a wedding it was.  But what stood out was the end of the ceremony. With our family being predominantly Hindus and the engagement being a highly Charismatic Christian ceremony as the boy's side are Christians, it was high religious tension and an open minefield of possible exploding judgments. But after all the stifling protocol, my cousin brother made the most marvellous speech about how proud he was to have a sister who has turned out amazing, how much they love her and how happy they are to be welcoming her beloved into their family as he has made their sister so happy and is a great bloke all on his own, how their dad was definitely looking down and smiling, and finally how everyone present meant something because they had come with love and in the end that was what really mattered. Such a fitting finish to an event intiating the process of uniting two lives and two families. Everyone's hearts that were so trapped in Egoic protocol just a moment before that..melted. It was a miracle. It was so powerful the love coming from him..my cousin started crying and her mom and sister too. And their love..it just undid everyone. 

I live for moments like that. When i can see people just really being themselves from their heart..unscared. 

I see my generation doing more of that. Are we losing our culture? We certainly aren't as bothered to preserve all the protocol that have "rank and file reminder" display written all over them. We  are far happier to have meaningful ceremony without the elements that confine people into set roles. I think we are evolving our culture, not losing it or even worse, diluting it as our elders live in fear of us doing. We are more than happy to carry the costumes, the settings and the minor protocol that make us uniquely us without confining our identities. And so i believe we are not diluting, but purifying our culture by carrying into the future only those elements that will keep it relevant and heartfelt ...possibly the reason people invented ceremonies in the first place. As a genuine  expression from their hearts rather than convenient guidelines of behaviour to masquerade behind.  So perhaps, after all these years, last night i saw an amazing transformation that will set the pace for years to come for my generation. That we live unashamed of being true to ourselves. We are proud of where we have come from, but we are not trapped in our past. Our pride is of gratitude not superiority, so we are not ruled by the fear of losing our positions in the great scheme of things. 

Perfect Love drives out all fear. 
"Where there is no love, put love, and then you will find love." ~Mother Theresa

I would rather choose love over preserving cultural protocol any day. Because the latter can exclude love, as i have seen growing up, but the former has a way of making the protocol actually  meaningful, as i saw last night. 
Yes, living from the heart is... transforming.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Liberty Rose - A Battle of Love

It always hits us so hard to see children ill..they are just starting out..why should they go through so much pain? And yet, look at Liberty Rose. She has defied odds maybe by simply being a child and not being able to dwell on negative thoughts about her challenge. With love given to her, she has seen only the daily joy of being cared for and lives to continue in that love. We see all she could be doing. She may only see all that she already has. In her gratitude is her positive attitude and so she fights unconsciously..responding to enormous love around her. Liberty darling, you remind me today to approach life like a child untainted by the memories of difficult times in this world. To receive love given to me and fight for the people who love me..so i can still be here to love them back. Darling, your name says it all. Freedom To Be. To merely BE and not be defined by what I have and haven't accomplished. 

And as a mom, i can relate to those caring for Liberty..it isn't easy. I have a high need family and i wish some days that the world could understand that no matter how much i love the ones in my care, i get tired too. I fight guilt sometimes for wanting to have a break..and i fight guilt for mothering less than my ideals. So today as i send my love to Liberty, i send my love to her caregivers as well. I so know they need it. To Love themselves too and to have the power today to show obvious love to the older siblings as well. As understanding as they can be, it isn't easy for them either. A special needs family is always a balancing act between tough love and compassion, between acceptance and fighting. It is a blessing to gain and maintain that balance. 

LOVE - it is the only power that can see us through the shadows without fear and with victory ♥ ♥ ♥ 

If you would like to show your love for Liberty Rose, you can go to

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Passionate With No Apologies

I admire this woman for the way she is true to herself. 

She hitched her dreams to a star as a child, worked to reach the skies and is now shining bright up in the ethers. 

She is talented, fiery and stunning, yet down to earth and loving with a big heart. 

Imperfect and yet unapologetic for it. 

"She's a very good looking, very refined, very sophisticated woman but her spirit is of the people. She's a member, let's say, of the proletariat. And so she can, with all the spleandour of a beautiful woman, play roles that are opposite of the sophisticated. Even though she can seem neurotic at times or plagued by doubt, underneath it all she has a very earthy strength. It has something to do with her roots." Pedro Almodovar

Almodovar's description moved me... i now know why i am inexplicably drawn to her. 
Like Penelope, even though i can be neurotic at times or plagued by doubt, underneath it all is a very earthy strength.

When i grow up, i want to be just like Penelope Cruz...passionate with no apologies for following my heart.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Art of Living

Every one has a WORD. 

I first heard of this from Elizabeth Gilbert in her book EAT PRAY LOVE. I think it's possibly why one of the famous lines from the Gospel is "In the beginning there was the Word." That makes sense to me now. 

Reading Elizabeth's Italian friend ask her "What's your WORD Liz?" was a life changing moment for me. I knew right then that I had to find MY Word.

I think maybe our Word can change as we evolve. I think maybe it's always the same underneath but can change, like a shadow does,  until we find IT - the actual object forming that shadow.  

My Word is HEART. 

It can be rearranged as Earth ~H(Eart). 

Heart. Earth. 

Yes..to me it makes complete sense to live my life on this earth only one way ~ from my heart. 

I am an Artist and my canvas is my life. 
Love is... my inspiration.