I am not much of a writer but I occasionally try my hand at it. Today was one of those days where I wanted to pen down some reflections. Perhaps, because something repetitive has been happening to me. On several occasions, people I see daily or others who I have run into after years have mentioned things like- “Prasha, you look well!” “You look fantastic.” “You look happy.”
So it made me pause and reflect on myself. What happened to me, in me that have warranted these comments. These wanderings.
And the first thing I thought of was maybe because all my kids are in school full-time now :). I definitely think this has also factored into my outlook. But, come on let’s be realistic, as much as they give us joy they do change our lives significantly in other ways too.
Like any other person, I do have my baggage. Things I still struggle with. I, too, have deep secrets. Because who does not have that one deep secret, right? Ones that make you cringe within no matter how angelic others may think you are.
I have gone through my own bouts of depression, loneliness, low self-esteem and anything you can think of for yourself.
However, I am not here to talk about my deep secrets, loneliness and the depressing times of my life. This cosmic world is not the place for that.
Ok, ok, I won’t drag this any longer. Reflecting on myself, I believe these are the things that might have changed the way I look:
It is not hidden to anybody that I am a devout Christian. Having lived half my life in an animistic, Hindu and Buddhist society- as an adult and through personal study and experience, I chose to follow Jesus. My family has explicitly told me the changes they noticed in me. This would end up into a novel if I go there but I will spare you the details for now.
Secondly, this is a big one too. My husband. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a partner who loves you unconditionally. One who cares about your relationship with God and cares about your overall growth. One who is encouraging and praying for you ceaselessly.
Thirdly, I also think it is due to the people I have chosen to surround myself with. We do indeed need to “Marie Kondo” our relationships too. Do certain relationships spark joy? No relationship should be such that it is sucking your joy, questioning your values, and constantly nagging.
Giving whether it be of time, talent or treasure does give me joy. I have started to give where and when I can. I am not by any measure of standard wealthy, but my husband and I have chosen a lifestyle of being giving where they match with our values and calling and sometimes beyond. And I don’t know what it is about this divine cycle, but we have been equally blessed by others’ generosity as well. No kidding!
And, they say, be generous in words, compliments, kindness and see how your joy multiplies. I, for sure, have experienced that too.
I have started taking care of my body. I have been trying to meditate on what it means to ‘treat your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit…..’ Is that living a life that glorifies God? Is that also treating your body right? There was a time when I just ran and swam without a purpose and ate recklessly and greedily. Now I exercise and eat well as a lifestyle because it is also a form of worship for me. This has been freeing and sustainable, maybe because I do it with a purpose and for joy. I don’t overexert myself anymore as I used to.
Have a vision or a mission! Whatever term you want to use. I know the jury is out there trying to enumerate how ‘mission’ is different from ‘vision’. But for my purposes, have a vision that will guide your actions. I have learned from important people in my life that without a stated vision that guides you, as cliche as it may sound, we are indeed just going through the motions. Maybe that is another area in my life that has changed. And really, that vision could be as simple as you want it to be and it may change at certain stages of your life. But living your life with an intention is something to be reckoned with.
In retrospect, these are what I can think of. I will continue to do what has worked for me knowing all too well that struggles are a part of life. They are there to challenge us and often to make us humble. So let’s keep living that life!