What to do when you feel like doing NOTHING at all?

We all have such days, don’t we? When you know you have loads to do, but you don’t know where to begin? When the music that would normally instantly cheer you up, starts to irritate you? When all you want to do is sit (or even better, sleep) and wait for someone to talk to you, find out what’s bothering you, listen to your woefully endless piteous whining, when you yourself don’t know what’s going on inside your head?

I go through such days. Every few months.

And when such a thing happens, it takes me a while (or a lot longer) to get myself out of the fog. A few comforting words from friends and family might help me for a while. Getting out of myself, out of my home and into the World helps too. Listening to inspiring podcasts fills me with new enthusiasm, watching Do-it-yourself videos on Youtube brightens me up. But not for long. No sooner do I bubble with pleasure than my zest fizzles out.

Here are a few other things I try-

  • Traveling and exploring a new place, even if its a new restaurant in town, and meeting new people helps.
  • Retail Therapy helps some, but buying more stuff only creates buyer’s remorse in me.
  • Reading a good book helps too, but finding a book that will make me forget myself, my “worries” (’cause, seriously, most of the time my worries are my own creations!) will take me a lot of tries before I lay hands on “the one”.
  • Putting my phone and other electronic gadgets aside does the trick many a times.
  • Going for a long walk, preferably through streets lined with trees, with birds keeping me company perks me up.
  • Meditation helps and so does journaling- dumping all that noise in my head down onto paper.

I try everything I’ve mentioned above, one by one, little by little. And when they too fail to lift me up and put me back on track, then I……………………………………………………………

Don’t worry…. I don’t take this great blessing called Life for granted. So I’ll Thank God for letting me live, breathe and enjoy another Glorious day. I’ll Thank him (or her) for letting my loved ones live, breathe and enjoy this Glorious day too. And I’ll list the other big and small things I’m grateful for. And feel myself getting better.

Taking a deep, deep breath I’ll trudge on. The first few steps will be rocky, strenuous, an uphill climb. I’ll even find myself going back to where I began. Then I remind myself that I’ve been through this path. Many, many times before. I’ve seen its bends and experienced its falls.

I know I’ll make it past this hurdle and onto a smoother terrain eventually, however long it takes. I know I’ll be myself again.. 🙂

Thanks for being so patient with me. I hope my rambling makes sense to some of you at least.

With a truckload of love for y’all,

Manasa!

Summer Reading Fun

To me, Summer is all about lazing around, doing nothing but reading, hopefully with a bowl of fresh fruit to munch on or a glass of sparkling juice to sip, by the side. And that’s what my kids and I are mostly doing these past few days, as the temperatures soar outside. We are trying to make the best use of these days before the usual rut kicks in again by mid-June and we get busy with school! (Plus this time there’s the double bonanza of our littlest one starting big school too! Double Trouble, I call it!!)

So… We are forgetting all of that. For now. And immersing ourselves in reading and crafting and big-time movie-watching! Yay!

Since I’m big on setting goals for myself and my family, I decided to make a Bingo kind of reading challenge for Medha and I. Madhav will have his own next year, maybe? Before we began, I checked Pinterest and Google for the keyword, “Reading Bingo”, and found a ton of ideas. Basically, a Reading Bingo is a game where we read all the books listed in the chart, one by one. There will be all sorts of suggestions in it, like “Read a book by Dr. Seuss” for Medha, and “Read a Historical Fiction” for me. We will complete one book after another- I’ll read on my own, of course, and Medha will read with my help as she is still a level 2 kinda reader? (I don’t know where she stands. Maybe there’s a test for finding out?)

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We will stick stickers (Golden Stars!!!) to the charts after we complete each book and reward ourselves with something special after we finish the whole challenge. Medha is way ahead of me, already! That girl is very competitive!! While she might tear through all the books this summer itself, I might need the Monsoon and the Winter thereafter too, to trudge through all the books I’ve chosen. Some of them are mighty big, you see…

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I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to read some of the books we already own, but never read. And also re-read the books we read long back. I’ll be renting or buying the rest of the books only after we read the ones we already possess. It pinches me that I buy more books than I am capable of reading!

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Also, I’ll be reviewing some of the books along the way, Medha’s including. So, please visit us often to check on our progress and give your valuable suggestions. I’m all ears…

Love,

Manasa.

Perfection is for Gods!

I read this line in a magazine and felt so relieved! If Perfection is for Gods, then I need not be perfect. I don’t have to strive hard to be a perfect mom, daughter, wife or a daughter-in-law. There is no need for me to work my butt off to publish the perfect post. I’m only a human, after all. I make mistakes. All the time. And Perfection is for Gods, right?

That thought freed me. Now I can focus on simply Showing up and Doing the Work, and giving it my all, instead of worrying over the enormity of what lies ahead, how hard the task is or how it needs to be perfect (or almost-perfect) before it is put out for the world to see (and praise or criticize).

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Perfectionism can be demotivating. If I don’t have something really good to share, then I simply turn my back to my blog; If I expect to be praised all the time I cook something, then I’ll never try to be innovative in my kitchen; If I expect Medha to score very well in her exams, then I’ll scare her from trying something on her own and from making mistakes.

Mistakes are good. Making mistakes help us to learn and grow. Our Mistakes, our weaknesses make us human. As I read in the same article, “Let your weaknesses show. It is as titillating and attractive as showing a bit of your slip”- How beautiful and apt is that! Mistakes tell us what we are doing differently and what can be tried next to get the desired result. We only need to recognize that what we’ve been doing so far will not help us get to where we want to go. And we need to change course. Or, even better, sometimes  those same “mistakes” might lead us to an unexpected, but a surprising new destination.

I was one of those perfectionists myself (Not sure I’m completely over it yet)- Not doing a thing or trying something different because I couldn’t see the perfect end result before I began;  Not happy with what I’d make or write because I was too obsessed with being good enough or authentic enough. I’d compare myself with others way above me and fall short in my own eyes. I’d snip my ‘art’ right at its bud! It left me feeling miserable.

But not anymore. Now I tell myself (over and over again) that it is just me, Manasa, a mere mortal, who is just one of the many that come and go on this big, beautiful Earth created by God. It doesn’t matter if I sew the worst-fitted dress or write the most boring blog post  (like, I’m probably doing right now! Thank you, if you’re still reading this!:)) or do the ugliest painting ever. I’m sure I will. And it doesn’t matter one bit.

So… Make I will. Write I will. Sew I will. And do everything else that speaks to my heart. Every Single Day. 

It doesn’t mean I’ll have to do a shoddy job or a mediocre art just for the sake of doing. I’ll do the best I can with the resources I have. I’ll do it with love (to God and towards myself). I’ll let the Higher Power guide me. I’ll let my intuition pave my way. I’ll plunge into the darkness even if I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. And someday I might strike Gold, But most days, it is just going to be work, work and work. And guess what, I love this “Work”. If what you’re doing is something you’ve always wanted to do, like me, then you’ll feel pleasure in the “Doing” itself.

So I’ll keep on doing. Keep on going. And enjoying all along the way. I’m no Perfectionist. I’m not Perfect. I’m just a human. I’m  only a Doer.

Love you loads for being so patient with my rambling!

Manasa.

30 Things to do in 2016- Final Review

Hey, It feels nice to be back! We’ve been gone, like, forever! Hopefully, we’ll be more consistent in 2017!

I decided to try 30 new things to do in my 30th year and by the end of the year, I finished only 22. Here’s what I accomplished-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha

11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- 
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- 

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

I failed to achieve all the things I set out to do. Yet again. Procrastination, as usual, is the biggest culprit; setting unrealistic goals, like journaling 365 days, is yet another; other reasons too contributed to my less than successful endeavor- inefficient time-management, horrible mind-management etc. Ugh! I failed.

Or… Did I? 22 isn’t so bad after all, is it? It is more than half the number of goals I set for myself! If I never set 30 tiny goals or pushed myself to accomplish them, I wouldn’t have tried a single novel thing- I wouldn’t have gained the courage to invest in a sewing machine nor would I have learnt to hammer nails onto a wooden board from my dad, to make my weaving loom.

I’ve learned so much about myself (I love weaving so much! Reading Kannada books- not so much!) and creativity because of this exercise. I would never have learnt that creativity comes with practice, had I not read the book, “Big Magic”, or tried my hand at sewing, even though I had never even fixed a button or stitched a tear myself.

When I announced my intention to the world, my near and dear ones came forward to help me reach it. My sister created a Pinterest board of craft room organization ideas for me. In fact she was the one who suggested I set 30 goals in the first place. She kept motivating me through the whole thing. My sister-in-law designed and bought the photobooks of my kids. My grandma taught me how to sew and weave.

Despite my higher rate of failure, I won’t stop goal-setting anytime soon. So watch out for more for the brand new year!

Love,

Manasa.

29 things I’ve learnt so far

30 is a big milestone in everybody’s life. I remember my husband’s morose face when HE turned 30. He was acting as if his life was over. And then came 31 and age stopped bothering him. When I turned 30 a couple of months ago, I felt surprisingly calm. It didn’t bother me that I would never be a kid or a 20 year old anymore. In fact I felt I was at a better stage than ever before. For the first time in my life I felt like I knew myself.

On my birthday, Prasad asked me to look back over the past 3 decades (Wow! 3 decades of life on earth!) and make a note of the highlights of years gone by and my plans for years to come. I sat to do just that but decided to list out the things I’ve learnt so far instead. I like to think that I have learnt a lot of life lessons over the years, but here are a few, 29 to be exact. These are the things I keep telling myself over and over. I hope it helps some of you…

  1. Every morning brings a fresh start. So quiet that inner voice that pesters you with past regrets and future fears and start every day with a big smile and a few deep breaths (This one really helps I tell you. Anytime you feel stuck or scared, remember to do it. And tell me if you don’t instantly feel better).
  2. And about that big smile- don’t care what people think of you. Just keep smiling. Some people might think you are crazy or naive, let them!
  3. Slow down! There is no hurry. Nobody loses anything if you arrive a bit late or take time to do something. The worst thing is, you could be scolded or lose a job. But if you rush, you could lose your life.
  4. Make time to do stuff. To make stuff. Something. Anything. Every. Single. Day. That’s how you can keep that monkey brain calm and productive. Plus, you will have something tangible, useful, pretty at the end of it.
  5. Get up early if you have to. Get THAT THING done. Ha! Not the chores and all. That can wait; your other stuff, the stuff that lights you up.
  6. Most problems can be solved over a cup of hot beverage and with cool friends.
  7. Don’t hold grudge or think ill of others. You know not what they’ve been through.
  8. There’s something you can learn from every situation and person.
  9. Listen to your body. It knows what you really want.
  10. Love yourself. You’re just as special as the people you admire.
  11. Eat well. Eat everything. Eat healthy. Eat in moderation. Stop before you feel too full.
  12. Sleep well. Most problems are caused when you are not well-rested.
  13. If you find something interesting, even a tiny bit, like a topic, a book, an idea, a dream, then chase it by all means. Learn everything you can about it. Make it happen. It need not be useful. Sometimes it is and at other times it might lead you to something else, utterly amazing.
  14. Write everything down. It is the easiest, cheapest therapy ever.
  15. It’s the simple things, you guys, that give a lot of pleasure, like getting away for a shared cup of coffee with the husband, reading a good book and enjoying a good meal with the family; not buying more stuff.
  16. Money is very important. It lets you live the life you want. Earn it. Use it wisely. Save it. Don’t let it become your boss.
  17. Believe in God, a higher power, whatever. Just believe in something other than yourself. Keep doing whatever you are meant to and leave the rest (anxieties, worries etc.) to that God, higher power or whatever you choose to believe in.
  18. Be grateful you are alive. Every single day. Do not take it lightly that you are still breathing and functioning, especially with all the craziness that’s happening in the World.
  19. You could spend your whole life just admiring the beauty of God’s handiwork- our complex brains, the colorful birds, the gentle breeze etc. You need nothing else…
  20. Faith is one the main reasons why there is so much hatred on Earth. Practice the edicts of your faith and let others practice theirs. Respect and admire the beauty in diversity.
  21. NO phones or other digital devices around the kids! Be wholly there and spend endless time with them.
  22. If there’s something you think you will regret not doing, later, just do it today.
  23. Hold onto that child within you. Stay curious. Stay crazy.
  24. There’s so much love within you. Spread it.
  25. Likewise, there’s so much creativity in you. Share it.
  26. How will you know not to do something again, if you haven’t tried and failed at it at least once?
  27. Stumble. Fall. Dust yourselves off. Restart.
  28. You cannot punish someone for the mistakes THEY make. There’s someone else who’s keeping a count on all that. You can only show the right way and hope they take that route.
  29. Honesty is good, yeah, but not at the cost of hurting someone. Always find something nice to say first, before being critical.

Do you have any life lessons you can share?