Do you have the courage to go looking for the magic in you?

breatheMany of us have been taught to be safe. The world is scary, unpredictable. Do the safe thing, for who knows, what might happen. And so we are safe. We don’t take risks. We don’t speak our truth. We skim life, instead of diving deep and getting engrossed in the juicy, messy business of living our life. We do the best in the situation we find ourselves in, instead of choosing to put ourselves in worlds where we want to be. Sooner, or later, we find that we  can’t hear ourselves anymore. There’s a deafening quiet where there should be an inner radar. And then, because we don’t want to feel like hiding our gifts and our voice and our  idiosyncrasies in the treasure chest that stays locked in our hearts anymore, we start…opening up. We begin, in the search for ourselves, and in search of the magic hidden inside of us.

I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us as human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels-that’s creative living.

The courage to go on that hunt in the first place—that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.

Elizabeth Gilbert

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Feeling alone? Remember our shared humanity

Sometimes when we’re in new situations, it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes, we feel alone, esMApecially if we’re not used to talking about our concerns, or there is no one around we trust to share our difficulties or sorrows. At times like these, it is useful to remember our shared humanity. This is not the first time this has happened. This is not the last time this will happen. And to remember, as alone as we feel in this, people ahead of us have walked this road. They understand. Reach out, to those you trust. But only to those who are worthy of your trust.

Constantly reflect that all the things which happen now have happened before: reflect too that they will happen again in the future. Have in your mind’s eye whole dramas with similar settings, all that you know of from your own experience or earlier history – for example, the whole court of Hadrien, the whole court of Antoninus, the whole court of Philip, Alexander, Croesus. All the same as now: just a different cast.

Marcus Aurelius

Paying heed to the little voice inside us

instinctsWhy do we stop paying heed to our instincts? For me, one of the reasons is my distrust at times with the squishy world of feelings. How do I know my “instincts” are right, and my feelings are not just a figment of my imagination or passing feelings? And how also do I explain to people that I have a “hunch” about something? And so, over the years, I have nurtured my left-brained, analytical self to help me navigate in the world, to mixed results.

As I look back though, some of my biggest mistakes in recent years have a unifying thread: my inability to heed my instincts.

How do we learn to listen to our instincts? Here’s an excellent tool that I came across in the wonderful Danielle LaPorte’s, The Fire Starter Sessions.

My personal theory is that you get ample intuitive information about someone in the first, say, eight seconds of meeting them. If your antennae are honed, if you’ve made a practice of following your instincts, then you know in the first handshake; you know when someone shows up two minutes early or two minutes late; you know from the sound of their voice on the other end of the phone; you know from the tone of their email. Somewhere in your being, you just know. Like or dislike. Open or closed. Curious or careful. Eight seconds. Pay close attention. There is a Buddhist saying:

As in the beginning, so in the middle, so in the end.

And so now, when I meet someone new, I am trying to pay attention to my little voice, to listen to what she has to say.

What are some of the ways that you have used to become more aware of your instincts and to trust them?

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The Hobbit: Stay safe or have an adventure?

I admit it. I haven’t read the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings.hobbit Somehow, I missed these in my growing up years, my school library in Bombay was surprisingly bereft of these titles. When the movies came out, they didn’t catch my fancy. But just this weekend I chanced upon this beautiful copy of the Hobbit on a lazy farmhouse where I was spending the day with my husband. Immediately the words were spinning a story and speaking a truth in a way no movie speaks to me.

In the passage below, Mr. Baggins, the hobbit, feels a tug between the safe and practical side of his personality, which says, stay where you are, be safe, and the part of him which wants more, which says, there are adventures out there for you to live and see and feel.

As they (read: the dwarves) sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up–probably somebody lighting a wood-fire–and he thought of plundering dragons setting his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered, and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill again.

Sometimes, as we hesitantly edge toward new adventures, we feel fear. Our minds conjure worst case scenarios of all that could go wrong on our adventures.  And we hit the brakes. We stop. But maybe we need to think of all that could go right…maybe we need to include in our calculations, the cost of missed adventures. Maybe we need to say, it is time.

Are you feeling this tug between the head and the heart? Between the old and the new? Between staying still and flying? How do you know what’s the right thing to do?

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