My Life Worth Living

Many of you have heard me talk about Robin Sharma’s 5:00 am club (my Holy hour) and how I am a proud member. It took me over a year to get to the place where I could easily and gracefully get out of bed at 5:00 am every day and I relish starting the day before the sun comes up. I love being able to see the sunrise; there’s something very special about the time right between dark and day break. Naturally, to be able to wake up at that hour requires that I turn off the lights and be in bed at a reasonable hour – usually 10:30 pm, no later. This too took practice. Interestingly, this discipline took a LOT longer to cultivate than the discipline of waking up at 5:00 am.

Since the start of the New Year, after all the holiday festivities were said and done, after the tree came down, the house got cleaned and we marched into 2015, I have been faithfully waking up at 5:00 am, working out every day, by either hopping on our trainer bike, going for a run (I love running outside when there’s no one there…I run in a safe area, I wouldn’t advocate for running in the dark if you’re not a 100% certain of your environment), and even yoga using my handy dandy Yoga Studio App. Even if I just get to do a 5 minute yoga routine, it feeds my soul. On some of the mornings when my body isn’t wanting to do the more active exercise, the yoga helps just move my body to wake me up. After my exercise, I usually either write in my journal or read something meaningful. I also take this time to review my Big 5 goals for this year. I LOVE this time. Even if I don’t end up doing much more than a work out, this early morning ritual wakes me up in a way that helps me fuel my day with the right nourishment for my soul.

Earlier this week, I had one of those days that in the past were standard days. I had started at 5:00 am as usual and then after getting my kids off to school, I had back to back appointments all day until I picked them up, after which we came home, ate, did homework, tag teamed them with my husband, and then I went back out to attend a training by one of my favorite Network Marketing trainers. I didn’t get home till after 10:30 pm. Needless to say my energy was completed depleted and I was entirely spent! Consequently, I did not get up at 5:00 am the next morning, I did NOT exercise or spend time writing or reading, my soul was undernourished and my body was exhausted. I didn’t course correct that day by spending time recovering and then getting back on track the next day. No, rather, because I had slightly veered off course and because I didn’t immediately auto correct, I veered MORE off course. Now, the next night, instead of going to bed early to get back on track, I hung around with my husband till even LATER than usual. I fiddled around my laptop doing nothing more productive than checking Facebook. So as a result, a second day of No Holy Hour ensued, and now I am even MORE off course.

Interestingly I am observing myself and my actions as if I am outside my body, which is the reason for this post. I have never been this observant of my own behavior before, mostly because we are all so b*&y in the hamster wheel of life (remember I boycott the word b&^y last year?) that we don’t take the time to see what things we are doing that don’t serve us. When I replaced the word b&^y with productive last year, I was amazed at the time that showed up for me, and how things got done with ease and grace and with time to spare.

All I needed to do in order to veer back on course is to sleep early, so I can wake up early again and everything will be back to normal, and I am finding it hard to do just that.

My husband had to remind me that it was late yesterday yet again. Today, I woke at 5:30 am (ok, so that’s a bit better) and interestingly I had this awareness, that I needed to exercise. I felt lazy to go outside or get into bike clothes, but at least I could do yoga. So I found a 15 minute routine and did it before sitting to start write this post. By the time the weekend ends, I am committed to being in bed no later than 10 pm so that come Monday morning, I can be up again to renew my membership in the 5:00 am Holy Hour Club.

So what I realized through this was this:

  1. All it takes are slight tweaks of behavior to change a habit from one that’s not serving us to one that is. What’s one thing you want to do differently? Do you need to drink more water? Perhaps you can start by increasing just one extra glass of water a day. Do it first thing, as soon as you get out of bed, or the very first thing when you enter your kitchen in the morning. Do it consistently, same time every day for 21 days and you will have formed the habit of drinking more water. Drinking a glass of room temperature water and a splash of lemon or lime juice first thing in the morning is a really good habit by the way.
  2. Our lives are so overly filled with activities, that we don’t have the time to slow down and consider our actions and whether they are hurting or helping ourselves most of all. I used to LIVE in this overdrive mode; in the kind of day that I had just once this past week. I booked my days to the gills and its no wonder then that my health wasn’t at its best, my habits didn’t serve me and I couldn’t be the best version of myself for my kids, husband, friends and family.
  3. In creating space, by creating boundaries and saying NO to projects and other things that don’t serve my top priorities right now, I created space for myself to BE more and DO less. I am after all a Human BEing, not a Human DOing. This allowed me to have more meaningful relationships with fewer people instead of having a 100 acquaintances. I am spending time cultivating friendships that mean the world to me AND more importantly, I am way less cranky to my family. I can laugh more, be more joyful and music to my ears, my 4 year old son lately has been saying ‘mommy you’re FUNNY’!
  4. I can LOVE more LOVINGLY. This one’s a big deal to me. Family is in my top three core values and yet family is what was taking the brunt of my burn out. I was less tolerant with my children and impatient with my husband and even my parents. I was on autopilot as a mom, wife and daughter. And I didn’t like it at all. I needed to be more present, more focused and more joyful for the 3 single most important people in my life…my husband and two kids.
  5. Today, in simply listening to my body and doing 15 minutes of yoga I was able to bring myself back on track. My mind is no longer racing at a frenetic pace and it can serve as an energy charging station for the people who I interact with, vs. being an energy sucking station (ever encountered one of those people? I used to be one!)
  6. Interestingly and not surprisingly, I am being more productive, more is getting done, I’m more aware of my projects/tasks and am methodically and carefully checking them off my list with a renewed zest.
  7. I MISSED my evening wind down holy time. Because I was staying up so late, I felt like I couldn’t take the 10 minutes I take at the end of the night to gather myself, give thanks, wind down in meditation and float off to dream land, instead, I would get into bed right away, then end up staying up even later because I couldn’t calm myself enough to go right off to sleep.

The ripple effects of overloading my agenda in months and years past is far greater than I even imagined. It didn’t just affect me, it affected people and activities around me. It caused me to be late, behind schedule and panicked, which caused me to be short, impatient, and slightly intolerant. It caused me to drive more aggressively, wonder why everyone was so slow on the road and just simply be unable to see the beauty of the world around me. It caused me to talk, walk and think at a pace that most people couldn’t keep up with.

Interestingly, I am finding myself at my creative and professional best as well. In clearing out the energetic and physical clutter in my mind and life, I have created space for magic to happen and I can see the momentum building to what’s possible for me. As we enter the year of the sheep, the year of collaboration I am excited to see what partnerships will transpire because of the space I created.

Now what I live for is the sounds of the birds, the patterns of clouds, sunrises and sunsets, the smell of the roses my husband bought me for Valentines Day, the orchid bud that’s beginning to open, the one that my 8 year old daughter and I have nurtured for half a year, the tapping of the birds at our feeder when its empty, the smell of incense burning in my home every day, the giggles of my children as I play tickle monster with them at the end of the day, the belly laughs I get when I make funny faces at them, the surprised smile on my husband’s face when I say or do something that he doesn’t expect, the playfulness that’s come back into our relationship, the purring of my kitties as I make the time to sit on the floor and tickle and play with them and quality time with girlfriends who I love and adore.

Isn’t this what life should be like for us all? It’s not impossible, and I’m here to say that it’s not hard. Mother Teresa said, ‘The Ocean is Made Up of Drops.’

The first step is awareness. Take stock of your life, keep a time journal, track where you’re spending your time for a week. Then we can assess from there. Let me know if I can help you!

Thank You doesn’t begin to cut it

This is a very special day to me. Not only does it honor the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have and continue to sacrifice their lives and their freedom so that I can have mine. They spend time away from their families, so I can be free and enjoy time with mine. It is no coincidence then that 10 years ago, my husband Jason and I bonded ourselves in marriage this day 11.11. In full transparency, at the time I was a bit clueless that it was Veterans Day – even though I had lived in the US for 11 years by then. I chose it because he proposed to me on 1.11 and I wanted to keep the number pattern.

That year, we realized the significance went beyond the number pattern. Not only was his grandfather a Veteran, but my grandfather too albeit in India where I was born and raised. Naturally we had to have two weddings – one here, in the beautiful Central Coast so that it would honor our beloved Gpap, and in Agra, India to honor my Daddy. Both of whom served in the Air Force and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Today, I am blessed that Daddy is 99 years young; Gpap left us 3 1/2 years ago 27 days before he would have turned 90. We buried him in Arlington with Military Honors. I was privileged to be there and receive an Eagle head from one corner of his tombstone. A day doesn’t pass by that I don’t think of him, and I have never made it through any Veteran’s Day celebrations dry-eyed. This year was no different.

Gpap on our wedding day 11.11.2004

I am privileged to share my celebration on this incredible day and I don’t ever take it for granted.

From my heart to yours. Thank you for your service, for your sacrifices and for your love for our great country.

Falling off the wagon but not hitting the ground hard!

So this past weekend, I had family come to visit. My husband being the amazing cook/bbq-er that he is smoked ribs and made buffalo chicken wings, grilled zucchini and smashed potatoes! Our house was filled with 6 children including mine, ages ranging from 2 – 14! Talk about needing a glass of wine! BUT – no actually I didn’t fall off the wagon there. Nope, I am not in recovery – if you remember, I talked recently about the Arbonne 30 day fit kit – well the first no no on the list of no nos is alcohol! The goal of this program is to help you naturally cleanse your system of foods that are allergenic, addictive and acidic (caffeine, milk etc.) and so there’s a list of foods that you must abstain from for the 30 day period. It’s not to have you NEVER eat/drink those foods again – rather it’s just to rid your body of them for 30 days so you can see how it responds, when you re-introduce them into your body one at a time after the 30 days are up – much like you would introduce new foods to a 6 month old baby! One at a time, to see the reaction. For some of my clients, they’ve discovered gluten is bloating, for others they realized the headaches they were having were related to dairy or gluten, and for yet others there was no difference except a ‘lightness’ when they eliminated these allergenic, addictive and acidic foods. Leave a comment with your email address for the entire list if you’d like to have it.

Anyway – so here I am, 2 weeks into this program and doing rather well I might add…no temptations for bread, pasta, peanut butter, caffeine…and then along comes this BBQ from the heavens! Well – there’s nothing better to drink with a BBQ meal than beer…so I allowed myself ONE of my absolute favorite beers – Abbey Leffe, Blonde. I didn’t over eat the ribs and chicken like I usually would have – not because I didn’t want to, but only because 2 weeks of being on this program and my stomach has shrunk so that 2 ribs and 2 small chicken wings and 1 spear of zucchini is all I could take on after my beer. My 10 year old niece did a better job demolishing the chicken than I did! I had made gluten free, dairy free brownies for the allergic kids, and so that was the perfect compliment to the meal! I got to eat a piece without feeling guilty- gluten and dairy are both on the NO list! (so is sugar, but again, I just had a small piece).

The next day, we went roller skating! Now, I haven’t been on skates in 20 years but it came back as easily as if I had been skating daily for years! It was so much fun, didn’t feel like exercise and it was a great social/physical activity to do with 6 kids with boundless energy! After 90 minutes of skating, Coldstone Creamery seemed to be the obvious next choice! Here we go again – temptation…so I ordered a dark chocolate peppermint ice cream with almonds, brownie and coconut shavings (try it if you haven’t it is absolutely divine!); but then proceeded to share that with my dad, my brother and my son! So I am lucky if I got two bites…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I learned that it was OK to fall off the wagon, as long as you didn’t hit the ground too hard! I did the things I wasn’t supposed to do, but I did them in moderation.

  • Depriving yourself makes matters worse – when your body wants something, give into the craving – but just don’t over do it! If you want dessert and don’t have anyone to share it with – take a few bites and then sprinkle salt or pepper over the rest, thereby ruining it for yourself. (learned that from my mentor!)
  • Don’t be a party-pooper! – whether it’s a party you’re attending/hosting, or when you have family in town like I did – people who don’t visit often, you want to enjoy their company, and we are such a food society that a lot of our celebrations happen around food! Enjoy it – just within limits.
  • Get back on the wagon as soon as possible – So I knew that the weekend was one of eating things off the NO list – the moment they left, I went right back on to the YES list and made sure that I stayed committed to my program.
  • Do away with the guilt – If you’re going to ‘cheat’ enjoy it! Don’t eat every morsel with remorse or guilt. You’re ruining the experience for yourself, and the vibe you’ll give your guests is one that they’re the reason you’re miserable. Instead, embrace the foods, and savor every bite – appreciate the fact that you are eating foods that have been off limits to you and let the flavors linger in your mouth (another great way to ensure you don’t over eat).