Conversations With Myself – 0813

There are so many things I want to do. Start.

Where do I begin? What do you care about the most?

Now? Then when?

I think something has fundamentally changed within me. Just say it.

I feel I have a bigger purpose. This feeling I feel, it is defining me in a new way. This intensity, it is not for everyone. Just say it.

I want to help people. How?

Maybe by sharing experiences. Whose?

Mine, and others. I want to lend an ear, be the voice of those unheard, unsure, unnoticed. Why now?

Have you ever had a calling? Maybe I am yours.

What is the value? Where is it? How is it fair? When my conscience is asking me these questions, I know I have to find the answers. Where?

Where you lead me. Will you follow?

I will sure as hell try. And maybe I will hesitate, or falter, but I will not stop.

You seem to have opened your eyes. I definitely have opened my mind.

There is a long way to go. I know.

You will need to be brave. I know that too.

You will need to persist. I’ve done anything but.

So you think you can do it? I know I have to try.

Are you ready?

Are you?

Are we ever?

Does it matter?

I think it’s time.

 

P.S. We all have moments when we think to ourselves, talk to ourselves, contemplate our life, our choices, our calling. It in these moments of truth that you hear your own calling. I am braving up to follow mine, and I hope you do too. In the days to come, I am going to attempt to open my heart through my words and write about this.

If these words inspire you to explore your own thoughts, it is my purpose that would be fulfilled. If you find a connection in my journey, I would encourage you to follow Destination Humanity – another soul, another journey, another story – more connections.

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What Is The Cost Of A Dream?

A series of thoughts after just having watched The Founder. Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 12.43.05 PM

Who birthed it? Who saw it through? Who gave it life? Who remembers it too?
Be it Facebook or be it Mc Donald’s – it started with an idea,
someone else’s even.
What do we remember of it today?
Just Facebook and Mc Donald’s.

But those who planted the seed, didn’t they invest in it?
Their sweat their blood, their hope and truth,
Did they not see their dream, torn away from their soul too?

It all comes down to ambition, and persistence to follow through,
To dream the dream and dream even bigger,
And after that, dream some more too.
But don’t just dream, believe in it too,
Because with dreams come risk, without action you lose.
And the ones who take the leap and persist,
That dream becomes of part of those, the ones who do,

Take a risk, take a step,
Take a leap onto the next,
And then the next and so on so forth,
Leaving the ones who could not raise it, with no hope.

You have to choose what cost you want to pay,
What dream is worth it, which ones are here to stay?
And in that moment what do you choose?
Greed and ambition are not the same face of truth.

What does your dream cost,
Do you even know, or ever find out?
Sometimes you win, win a big fortune,
But if you lose it all, oh well, then you lose.

But one thing, my friend, is crystal clear,
Some dreams bear hope, while the others spread fear.
There is always a deeper meaning to all dreams that come true,
You can choose to bring a fortune, or build a fortune of value.

Full Circle

IMG_2246

Kicks for basics

It’s funny how life has a way of coming full circle.

When we are young we do things the way we please. It’s mostly because it’s the only way we know how – to listen to our heart. We are unadulterated by societal pressures and opinions, the very ones that have the power to take ourselves away from us.

Be yourself – we spend so much of our adult life preaching this, trying to practice it. If you told your 5 year old self this, you would probably be confused and rightfully so in thinking, but how can you be anybody else?

But you soon find out how easy it is to slip into conformations and submit to compliance, right? We’ve all been there, in those instances where we lose trail of what we want amidst the crowd of a million other wants, so much so that we even lose sight of who we are.

Around a couple of years ago, I had one such moment. As dramatic as it may sound, I was looking in the mirror. I was looking with a purpose, for a purpose, to look into my own eyes, stare right at them. My eyes, for which I get a million compliments, I had never  really looked into them. Sure I looked at myself in the mirror when I got ready, and I’ve look at my pictures and photos, but I had never really looked into myself. It’s then that I realized how much I had not noticed my own self. I would think I had lost myself, but there I was, right there, in the depth of my eyes,  the life of me as it was meant to be. Something changed for me right then, and it led me to make a series of changes in my life, embarking on a new journey of self-awareness.

Today, I had one more such moment.

Have you ever had a feeling where you know something is missing in your life? You know the one where you can’t say what it is because everything seems great, it’s all going well, and yet there is this unsettling feeling eating away inside you. It felt as though I was looking for something, searching frantically, not knowing what exactly it was that I was looking for.

Then today, while I was watching the final dance sequence in Step Up 2: The Streets, a movie I’ve watched too many times to count, the one that inspired me to attempt learning Street dancing, the very sequence I memorized to the best of my ability to replicate in college dance festivals – I had tears in my eyes, out of nowhere, for no reason at all. Or maybe all the reason I needed – to find out what was I missing – Culture.

When I was younger I felt very strongly about culture, code, and community – and I let myself be an active part of it, physically, vocally, and emotionally. I would let myself be consumed by my curiosity and love for the culture in sports and dance, the lifestyle it brought, the stories it sought.

Somewhere along it was I who got caught, and I who lost, that excitement I felt when I belonged to that culture, that community. That is what is missing.

I talk a lot about culture, it’s importance, and my love for it, all along not realizing my need for it, my need to belong to it. I wasn’t able to understand why I am drawn to it. But how could I not be? It is what taught me the meaning in life.

So it would only make sense that today, when I am driven by my own purpose in life, that this sense of culture is what guides me on. Now that I’ve been morphing into the sneaker culture I realize it is not only for my own love for it, but more so because of my need for it – the stories that bind it – music, dance, sports – culture, code, community.

There’s a reason why things happen when they do – signals, messages – you just have to pay attention to them – for they are signs, serving as reminders – pointing to the meaning of your life, for you – back to when it all began, where it all began – your culture, your code, your community.

It’s funny how life has a way of coming full circle.

 

 

An Act

ab1bea1938296b679e45c1597e626ad1--war-quotes-movie-quotesEvery single time that I watch Schindler’s List, I an overwhelmed and overpowered by emotion, emotion no amount of tears do justice to. It comes down to one life-altering fact – an act, of kindness.

If all the world’s a stage, and all of life’s a play, then in the many acts of it, in our lives, we play so many roles, wear so many masks, change so many shades.

Years have gone by since the movie was made, on a time of war that is now a tale, told and retold, an exemplar of ruthless, cynical power, that beholds horror, for which so many died, and such few lived to retell.

But what has changed other than the time, which goes on by no matter what lives or dies.
We still kill with cruelty, every thought and belief that may seem different than our own. We still use power as a weapon of destruction, more fatal than any weapon of war.
We still live in an imbalance of money, religion, love, creed, and race.
We live in the boundaries of our own beliefs and ignorance, with such less thought to anything slightly different , and much less acceptance of something remotely dissimilar.

In adversity is born the real meaning of life, the purpose for your existence.
And yet we feed hate and treat each other with contempt.

If only we were to experience one small act of kindness, I believe it would change the way we think.
If only we were aware of one small act of kindness, I believe it would change the way we perceive this life.
If only we were brave enough to conduct an act of kindness, selfless and genuine, I believe it would change the way we live.
If only we realized the value of an act of kindness, it would change the world, it would change a life.

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

In the end it is not how much money you make, the power you stake, or the people you break, but the legacy you build, the way you make people feel, the impressions you leave – those are the things that that give meaning to your life.

If today I were to pick my closing act, my strife,
I know I have a purpose much larger than just life,
A life that is simply ambition, money, and comfort,
I’d trade it all in, just to take away the hurt,
If I could change the life of one hurting heart,
I’d know I’m on my way to fulfilling my part,
I know I have a larger purpose, many more things to do,
A bigger role that I need to step up to,
For the stage is ready and the play is on happiness,
And this is no fleeting scene, but an entire act of kindness.

Words

Blank – like a canvas.Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 8.07.08 PM

I write, I erase, I type, I delete.

A thousand thoughts and no words at all.

Blank – like a canvas.

A restlessness, few feelings too many.

This is where it all began.

Outlet through words, a mind’s escape, my mind.

A dream of today, born many yesterdays ago.

A realization, a belonging, a craving.

Some call it passion and intensity, some call it crazy,

I, I know it is purpose.

A land of stories, is now a life of stories.

A girl no more, it’s become a woman’s prerogative.

Words, they’ve always held a special place,

A safe haven giving rise to a new entity.

If all went dark, and there was nothing left to see,

I would know I have my truth, my words are my identity.

If all were lost, unclear and hazy,

I would know I have my words, my clarity.

If one day I could think no more,

I would know I have my words, my anchor to my world.

If I was left abandoned and woefully rue

I would know I have my words to carry me through.

Calling, it comes every once in a while.

Are you paying attention? Hearing?

Because once you listen to it, there is no going back.

I began my journey writing poetry and prose as a medium, an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. I NEVER let anyone read these, it would make me feel too exposed. Today, being in a melancholic mood and still continuing on the journey of vulnerability, I thought I would attempt to blog a version of it. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this. There is something deeply therapeutic and emotional in my relationship with words. If all else disappeared, I would take comfort in knowing I have words to turn to, others’ and mine, our very own connection. I wish that you find yours too. 

~ NT

Are You Worried About Your Teeth Falling Out?

IMG_2225So does this mean I’m an anxious person?

That is ALL I could think of after reading a post on Snapchat (yes I use it, and love it!) about  common dreams and what they mean.

I’ve pretty much had a hate-hate relationship with my teeth since the time that I was very young.

I LOVE chocolates, teeth hate it when you do. It doesn’t help that I inherited my mother’s cavity prone-ness.
I LOVE Coca-Cola, teeth hate it when you do that too! One time I actually placed my own extracted tooth in a bottle of Coke and left it that way for a while to prove a point to my dentist that Coke does not dissolve your teeth (not in 24 hours at least!)
I used to HATE brushing my teeth twice a day, but boy do teeth love that!

You get it right?

Then suddenly  at some point I started having these dreams about my teeth falling out, all the time!

I began to think that my battle with teeth had finally gotten the better of me, I was becoming obsessed and/or losing my mind!

As life went by, I got better with moderating my eating habits, yes I also started brushing my teeth at night, and the dreams became less frequent and even went away. My correlation was confirmed.

Or so you would think…

About a month or so back, I started having these dreams again. Imagine my surprise! Was I having too much Coca-Cola again? I even thought of whether I had forgotten to brush my teeth the night before. I know how crazy it sounds, but I just told you my relationship status with teeth, so sue me for thinking about it!

Cut to when I read this post about dream interpretations on Snap, and suddenly it all becomes clear – it’s anxiety.

I trace back to the period when these dreams first started, a period when I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil and transition. Why then did I stop having them? I became better at self-care, not just oral care. Over the last year and a half, I’ve really overcome a lot of personal, emotional battles, to gain more perspective on my life, on myself. I rarely get stressed, I’m up for most challenges, and I’m determined to maintain a peaceful mindset.

It was only in the last month or so that I experienced an unexpected setback (if I want to sound dramatic about it). In the very least, it was an uncertain time that set into motion a series of changes, some unexpected and unpleasant, and others unexpected yet surprisingly amazing!

So these dreams, of my teeth feeling out, it was my own body, mind, reacting to times of unexpected change, an outlet for anxiety.

Are you an anxious person? It could be pent up anxiety coming through in the form of a dream. “We might think of this as being concern about one’s potency, competence, strength, power, ability to ‘take a bite out’ of the world, ” says Braun. This common dream can also be associated with times of change and transition.

This interpretation set me thinking of what it meant for me, these dreams, what were they trying to tell me?

As much as I don’t like to admit, I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to my own value. I’m overtly self-critical, and never truly believe I am deserving of anything great, even if that is exactly what I’ve been working my ass off to achieve. So you can empathize why reading this had such a strong impact on me.

I’ve just recently taken on a new approach, a new dream (stay tuned you’ll know in due time right here on my blog), and it requires me to envision myself to be competent, capable, and valuable to take it head on. Regardless to say, it requires me to get over my insecurities.

Accepting this, and accepting that this is pure anxiety, has given me the confidence to get over it. Knowing what the problem is, is a problem half solved. Simply writing about it is making me feel a whole lot better. And so that is what I will continue to do.

This whole vulnerability thing, it really works, you should try it. I myself was inspired by Vivian Nunez a brilliant writer in this genre, to take a stab at it, and since then, I find myself feeling more free – to invite positive thoughts into my life, because I know I have an outlet for all the rest , rest of this anxiety.

Where The Mind Is

IMG_2074Where the mind is without fear, fallacy, and falsity….

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about mental health – overall, as well as my own. How easy it is to take it for granted, to not check in on it, to not realize that it too, needs attention, care.

Somehow, we are so quick to assume that those who seek this care, especially if it outside of their own circle, are mentally ill – an automatic negative connotation. What we forget is that just as you have to take care of yourself (whether you have a cold or cancer), consult the doctor, take medication, get good rest, be around people who care for you – it is the same when it comes to the many shades of mental illness. Being mentally exhausted or emotionally drained, is also very much a form of mental illness, however temporary. In fact, most often, that is the most dangerous kind as it goes on by undetected, shaken off as a phase, ridiculed as being dramatic, and so on.

I first met Michael 2 years ago, when I was going through a very rough patch for reasons more than one. What made me decide to take this step was actually a very simple reason – I wanted some clarity, an unbiased conversation with a stranger, so I could gain some perspective on my life. Little did I know that my entire life was about to change after those first 60 minutes.

Today, Michael is hardly my therapist, but he is my life coach, my mentor, my best friend actually! Our conversations have evolved from talking about the past to working out a better future. I’ve started paying more attention to having the right mindset, not just about life, but about myself. I discuss my dreams and goals with him, and he guides me me to act on them. In fact, my relationship with my one true passion – writing – has taken on a whole new form, simply because talking to him about it, about me, made me realize how much I wanted to do this – write. And he said to me, “You know what writers do? They write!”

So simple, so truthful, yet such a profound impact.

In our every conversation I have these aha! moments, moments of distinct clarity and perspective, that have enabled me to grow, take decisions, make choices, and in the end of it all, become more and more self aware.

I no longer feel the need to go running to talk to him every time I’m in a rough situation, or have a surge of emotions, or need to make a  tough call. I now take my time to absorb it all, think over it calmly and act on it. And then I have a real discussion with Michael about how I dealt with it and ask him for his input on the what it means going forward.

I didn’t simply get to this point in my life – it was only through many conversations over these years, that I enabled myself to gain stability in mind, to actually lead my life. I feel grateful for the time that I decided to pay attention to my mental health and do something about it – it is because of that decision, that I am able to take many more with such ease and positivity today.

If you’ve been reading my blogs you’ll know, I recently went through quite an upheaval in my life, and I’m amazed at how positive I was able to remain through it all, to come through it with an even more positive mindset.

I’ve opened up to life, I’ve opened up my mind, to get over insecurities and fears, to embrace life as it is. Yes I still feel burnt out, frustrated, insecure on so many occasions. But today my self-awareness and my positive frame of mind have made me adept to deal with it all – problems, emotions, life – in a better way. There are times when I feel drained, and I know I’m not at a 100%. I try consciously to be mindful of it, of signals that alert me to check in with my self, my mind, and what’s going on within it.

You have to cater to your mind’s needs, because it definitely has real ones.

I have to say I’ve probably failed more times than I’ve succeeded, yet at this point what is important is the attempt.

Each step of the way counts, each little sign of care matters. Just as each time you hear someone tell you that your mental health is important, that matters too. I’ve seen myself come a long way just by paying more attention to it, by investing time and care towards it. It has definitely made me more compassionate, but more importantly it has made me realize the importance of it,  for me, and for everyone alike, for people all around the world.

It has also planted a seed in my mind, a dream: To build a community of conversations, where people feel free and enabled to talk and connect – over hopes, aspirations, fears and all such experiences that help us all relate, to each other – a place where the mind is without fear, fallacy, and falsity; a place where the mind simply is.

The Greatest

To be here and to be alive, it simply is, the greatest. IMG_2145

It took me just 2 hours outside of the city to realize how much I needed it, the whiff of nature, the breath of fresh air.

So there I was, after 10 miles around the Appalachian trail, lying on plain ground, staring up at the blue sky – grateful.

There are moments when we all experience a sudden streak of appreciation, perspective.  These moments, although rare and stealthy, are sometimes all you need to feel alive. To be here, and present.

These moments, you will notice, often occur when you are in your purest mindset – most often it is when you are truly vulnerable, or amidst nature (which is also when you are truly vulnerable). 

If you live in a city, you’ll realize how quickly you forget what it is to be in the presence of natural abundance, of the natural life, wild and free. The rules here are different, in the sense there aren’t any –  Live and let live.

That’s exactly how I felt, free. I’d forgotten how much I love to explore, just walk where my heart wanders, where my curiosity leads. I’d forgotten the immense joy I felt in such adventures. It took me back to the times when as a child I would wander off exploring the paths down to the river in my neighborhood, pretending to be on a mission as a part of the Secret Seven club. The same feeling, the same adventures, a different me.

Why had I, rather when had I forgotten that some of my greatest memories were born, right here, in the arms of nature, that some of these greatest adventures are the essence of me, my life?

Think about it, when was the last time you really took a moment to appreciate the natural beauty around you? When was it that you last took a break from this modern life and wander off into an unplanned adventure? When did you fully disconnect from everything else and simply just be present in the moment that is now?

So easy, and somehow so difficult.

But then again, it is in from the greatest of difficulty, that are born, the greatest of all times – memories, people, and lives.

So embrace your life in all it’s purity and natural abundance. Don’t settle for being good, be great, the greatest.

Like I said, (and it is how much we don’t realize), that to be here and alive, it simply is, the greatest.

 

 

We The People

IMG_2089It’s the small, smallest acts of kindness that are so powerful; powerful messages. 

A busy restaurant, many reservations, many more waiting. A patient host, warm and comforting, tending to his customers as though they were guests in his home.

I’m describing probably a typical scene at the local Cambridge restaurant, Cafe Luna, with the only difference being that this time it was me witnessing it. 

As you know I live in New York. The people here, besides what most say I won’t call them rude, aren’t exactly the warmest of people – no one has time for anything unnecessary (unnecessary according to them of course). As one goes up north, the people are warmer, kinder. But this little place exceeded all my expectations. Everyone on the staff team was so polite, so friendly, so courteous. Yet the host, he just melted my heart with his warm personality. He made the environment of that place homely, so you could enjoy meals with your loved ones. He didn’t have to do it you know, converse with all his customers, check in with staff,  not in such a kind manner anyway. But you could tell he loved doing it. That’s exactly what he told me when I went up to him, to take a picture of him in an attempt to capture his kindness.

It set me thinking on a trail of thoughts that I carried with me through the day – it really doesn’t cost anything to be nice, to be kind even; every one of us, we are the same, we think the same, feel the same at the very core. We are after all just people trying to live this thing called life, no one knows how to, no one has survived it, yet we remember those ardently, who left a kind impression on this world, or just on us; why; isn’t this something to pay attention to, learn from; after all isn’t this all we have; we, the people.

Later in the day, we visited some old family friends for dinner. They had 2 kids, age 6 and 10. In the first few minutes of interaction I knew I was in a parallel universe. Their acuity, mannerism, comfort rather ease with technology, it was all far far ahead than even what I, a millennial, had had when I was younger.

There were talks about school and their classes, and how they used iPads for everything, with apps for math and design, of projects that involved making keynotes and iMovies, of social media (and how no one cared about Facebook, it was all about Instagram and Snapchat) – insert mental note for marketing: pay attention to this demographic, pool of untapped opportunities.

As we all moved to the dinner table from the family room, one of the kids promptly commanded Alexa to turn off the family room lights. Now if that isn’t a clear indication that I was in a parallel universe then I don’t know what is? 

I found out shortly.

The little one was very animatedly telling us about a soccer anecdote from earlier in the day. He made a reference to something his coach had said, to which his dad asked him which of his three coaches was the one who said it. He went on to describe a series of things, like his clothes, what he was holding at the game etc etc and finally his dad recalled the one. 

Later on his mom pointed out that all the three coaches were of different ethnicities, one Caucasian, one Indian, and one African American. 

I thought of what any one of us at that table would have described him as, well of-course by just that – ethnicity. 

But kids, they don’t really care about these things do they? And why should you? 

We are born with a mind so pure, so united, so compassionate. It is we, the people, who pollute it with differences – of race and countries, of opinions and beliefs, of customs and traditions, of status and color, and I can go on. 

But like I said, at the very core, we are all the same, just people.

We are all just looking to lead a life of happiness and togetherness, to make a difference to something or someone, to share our joys and our sorrows, to feel a sense of belonging, of validation. 

If you think about it, every act of unkindness has it’s roots in insecurity, and the fastest cure for insecurity, is an act of love, of kindness.

And for whom, from whom?

From us; we the people.

Are You There?

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 10.08.31 PMAre you there, living and breathing,
right in this moment,
are you there,
here,
present…

I’m not a big believer in horoscopes, and not too knowledgeable about astrology. In fact, my only connection with it is part of my morning routine, when I skim through the Capricorn section of Daily horoscope. I started reading it about 5 years ago, when a friend introduced it to me by saying, “It changed the way I look at my life!” In that moment I’m sure I must’ve thought how dramatic can she be, but then I downloaded it anyway. The thing is, something about the way it was articulated really resonated with me. It wasn’t so much out of interest of life’s predictions that I kept reading it daily, but more so for the nuggets of thoughts, direction that it prompted me with. One such day was today.

You are goal-oriented and ambitious, but right now a certain ambition may be getting in the way of an important relationship.

I dismissed the thought almost immediately. I didn’t think any relationships in my life were suffering, especially not due to my ambition.
Later on my way to work, I was thinking of how I had decided  to get home slightly earlier this week. I’ve been wanting to spend some quality time by myself in the evenings, just unwinding, catching up on reading, or simply doing something, just for myself.

I’ve done anything but that.

It suddenly struck me – that important relationship – it was with me.

I’ve been so focussed on working hard, giving it my all, my everything, I’ve almost forgotten to do anything else.

Is this how I want to spend my life, fighting for moments (over some part of the weekend) for myself?

I have plans you know, so many things I want to do, explore. We all do.
We all also think that we have time. Well yes, we do, but it is now.
And if we don’t use it wisely, well it’s not coming back.

Life is meant to be lived, not completed.

I’ve been on edge for the past few weeks, it’s been testing times, but I realize, I’ve also not taken time to simply just take a moment to breathe, soak it all in, these blessings that I’m bestowed with.

It’s the simple things that count, the moments of inner peace, joy.

Sitting on the hammock in my little balcony, with my plants and my book, some music, and my thoughts – bliss.

We all need it.
To each our own, but equally real,
a feeling of peace, calm, surreal.

This picture I’ve posted, I plead you to read the full story, it forced me to rethink my purpose in life.  I take so many things for granted, my health, especially my mental health, my food, my time, my family too sometimes. I’m hustling, I’m doing, and don’t get me wrong, I love it, but for what? What is the point of all of this, this energy, this passion, this drive, if I can’t put it to better use, or should I say better use for a larger cause.

The fleeting thoughts I have, it’s time to act on them.

Take up that hobby, learn that new thing, initiate that idea, build that community, write for that blog, reach out to that someone, devote some time to a cause, make that trip, go travel, do something, do nothing, do everything!
(And these are just some of the things I want to do)

I’ve been practicing vulnerability in my way of life, you must’ve picked it up from my last few posts, and you’ll see a lot more of it in the ones to come. This right here is where I lose myself and find my self all in the same time.

So where am I then? Right here. Somewhere in-between thoughts, in-between realizing my dreams.

Life’s too short, but it’s also the longest thing you live, so don’t forget to, you know, actually live it.

Be there, here, now.