A little inspiration

Gobble down some coffee after opening your fast and YouTube one of your favourite subscribers to chill. I have a tonne of work to do, I have two teacher training workshops coming up, the madrasa starts on 3rd July, my uni classes start on 2nd July and have a pending post of Himalaya, the product stares me everyday. Story telling sessions lined up for my internship, and while I contemplate the to-do list in my head, I went on to Fleurs YouTube channel after a very long time to just chill.

And after watching a couple of videos I stumbled upon this one. And even though she’s basically just talking about herself, and working as a full time YouTuber, I found some inspiration to focus on the tasks I have at hand (Which as I enlisted are MANY).

I admire people who are freelancers, or their own bosses. There’s something more demanding about a job like that, you have to be super organised and constantly prove to yourself that you are just as inspired as you were in the beginning.

In life we may find inspiration from and in people, places, a simple quote, an image just about anything, but the real challenge is always to maintain that level of passion. Especially if you do multiple things, and have multiple responsibilities, it gets rather difficult. Not because the to-do list is longer, but because you have to constantly prioritise everything on that to-do list.

Here’s where my struggle usually lies. Should I first finish work, or blog? should I cook now and then do laundry? Shall I take a nap or stay up and finish the reading work. Add to that parenting and well you’re set for a busy busy schedule.

I liked from this video that she decided to show the side of life of a YouTuber that isn’t all glam. That isn’t as materialistic, and makes you appreciate the efforts that go into any job. The  most successful and richest, people in the world struggle, it’s just that their struggles are not what are photographed and talked about. We only see the greener grass, or rather are shown the greener part of the grass.

What I have learned from expereince is that it is important for us to take time out and ask ourselves every few months if we really truly want the things that we are working toward?, are we really getting there or getting side-tracked? Because as we evolve we may not want the same things from life, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later. It is important for all of us to maintain a balance in personal and professional life, just what our goals in general are, and stick to our decisions. Being aimless is the most disastrous thing a human can do for himself.

It’s always good to hear, watch success stories. And it makes me genuinely happy that people are open to share about their experiences, and inspire others.

 

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.

 

 

Times running out!

That’s what I have been telling myself since I can remember. Since my marriage actually. 2008. All I could think of was how much I was missing out on what my peers were doing. Well they were studying, working hard on their education. And while I started my graduation in 2010 after Batool was born, I still felt bad that I was behind my peers.

It took me some time to realise that ‘better late than never’ is a good philosophy to adapt. Now while I pursue my masters, many of my friends have stopped at their graduation and are working. Working away, working hard. While many of them may have an ultimate direction, most of them are just caught up in the job circle. Where I wish to not be stuck for the rest of my life.

I have constantly found myself asking “what have you accomplished?” that question haunts me, while I do genuinely keep moving forward, there seems to always get lost, seem to always never be satisfied. I have realised that is because I do not want to do the ordinary. I keep myself busy and involved enough to be able to update my CV every month at-least with some professional development, I am constantly thinking about the next opportunity to do a course, or attend a workshop to broaden my horizon of possibilities. Few minutes ago I came across this article which talks about the true hard-work required during your twenties.

‘Once you become an Actual Rich Person, with a business drowning in opportunities but short on talent and you deal regularly in financial figures that contain more than one comma, you start to see how this works. It’s easy to have a successful business if you can find really smart people who are willing to do really hard work for you, in exchange for a high salary. But all these younger people seem to just want to sit around and network and have cocktails. All the hard workers already run their own company.’

Reading the above lines of the article made me realise that I have been wanting results way faster than it’s humanly possible. I have certain limitations and challenges that are exclusive to me. Life is difficult, and while I am still in my twenties it’s a safe enough zone to focus on hard-work and aim for results maybe in the 30s. I will turn 27 this July. The problem is to find that pause button, the ‘take a deep breath’ zone so that I am able to recharge and get back into the drift of things.

I think part of my understanding has to now be the fact that I can’t resist adding more and more responsibilities, and expectations on myself. It’s just how I am wired. I work very hard, exhaust myself and crave for a break, and then get back into the cycle of madness. But maybe this time the goals have to be clearer. Maybe now a timeline of achievement has to be marked. No matter what, Multi-tasking is a skill I have command over, the more I do, the more time I am able to make for more things, the more I become organised. The more stationery I have an excuse to buy 😉

Somewhere we all live under expectations from ourselves that are beyond our capacity. These could be related to our family responsibilities, work, education, everyday chores etc. The point is to master the art to edit out, be patient and be human in all of it. I guess this is something that will always be a part of my life, maybe I will never find a place in my life where I would be doing only one or two things without craving for more. At this point I believe accepting it as a positive thing is the only way to be happy about it.

Let there be sanity!!

 

 

 

Workshop weekend Part 2 of 2

Sunday, day two of workshop was organised by Story Arts India at the Birla Library. Led by international storyteller Deepa Kiran the workshop was on ‘The art of storytelling’.  I have always been interested in storytelling, book readings, and was ecstatic when Mr.Minhaj (Principal of Focus High School) shared the workshop flier on our schools WhatsApp group. I just HAD TO GO. It was a small group of 18 participants, and was packed with activities from the get go.

The whole experience from 9am to 5pm took me back to my school days, when I used to participate in drama, elocution competitions and other such activities. It really felt like I was back in school. The way of thinking completely changes when you’re in a room filled with people who have only one goal; to tell a story. Truly there’s much art involved in telling a story. I was blown away by how gripping listening to a story from someone as talented as Deepa can be. Her story of 45 mins just went by like a breeze. Everyone was so engrossed, it’s phenomenal. Several activities were planned for day, which helped interact with the group. There was a mix of teachers, media artists, parents who attended the workshop. I have to point out how amazing it is when teachers take out time to better their classroom environment by learning a new art form.

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I didn’t realise how much my overall mindset regarding my future plans would change. Our life is filled with possibilities; we can mold everything we learn to benefit us and the people around us. We need not feel restricted, we not be restrained by our age, something as simple as telling a fun story can rejuvenate all our senses and those of the listeners. Being part of any art is amazing, and helps us connect with our souls.

It was a Sunday well spent for sure!

Finding therapy

I’ve been wanting to paint for a very long time. Can never forget the hours I used to spend as a child painting, water colors, paintbrushes, colourful art. It was thoroughly captivating. It is very important for us to revisit these simple memories that caused so much happiness in our hearts and do those things.

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I have genuinely found so much peace in painting, in fact I actually look forward to the evening, for the time I have scheduled to indulge in art. No doubt the spontaneity of childhood would never come back, and as adults we don’t have the luxury to spend hours doing such things, but I do think it’s worth our while. That’s why I am focusing on not so elaborate paintings. In fact I am also looking at working on my skills too. Maybe an art class or so would help. Right now I am enjoying YouTube videos on water colour techniques. Just watching them is also inspiring and relaxing.

So far I have done 4:

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I have done all these painting sitting on the floor. One reason for that is that I simply don’t have desk, however I avoided the dining table to really get a creative feel. A different experience. I am not blown away by my art, I was surprised though. To be able to create anything like looks decent enough to share is an achievement for me. After easy 6 years I have held a paintbrush to paint.

Used to be tempted whenever students at madrasa would be doing prep work for their exhibits and projects, I really need to re-connect with my creative side. It’s been way too long, and wrong to have just pushed it aside.

It amazes me how much we learn from life, from our past, and to know there’s so much scope of development and healing is amazing. I am glad I pushed myself to explore, and have found a good therapeutic way to be myself and zone out.

What defines you?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Are you someone who has ever tried to define yourself?

Many a times it’s the simplest questions that get us confused, What are your hobbies?, Who’s your favourite author?, What character from a fiction would you like to meet? etc etc.

This pause, this state of frozen mind happens when we aren’t clear about ourselves. What truly defines us? I have decided to change my job in the next academic year, and while I am in the limbo of applying or jobs, and having a zillion other ideas for generating an income for myself, there’s that odd feeling. I defined myself as a student, as a counselor at a school…that was the main focus. And now I wonder who I am. More importantly it makes me ponder about what things/people I let myself get defined by, what responsibilities, career choices, etc. I define myself with. And what truly should be the best expression of myself, because let’s face it, there has to be consistency. Change is constant, but we are the same, we evolve, truly we do, but there has to be clarity on who we are.

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This is the current struggle that’s going on in my head in the recent past. It’s a difficult phase, as it is life is pretty adventurous and has it’s own drama, and unforeseen situations, and circumstances thrown right into my face. However I am trying to find stability, the stability that comes with relying on yourself, and not another human being.

It’s almost like a greed. I am greedy to be independent, to achieve certain targets, then again they make me wonder if I am chasing the right things. Who is to know? Who is to provide clarity? A conversation with God would do me good!

So here’s maybe the easiest question you’ve ever heard, or the most difficult;

What defines you?

The pressure of 'I'

Fact: the laziest of us believe we worked hard when we want to achieve something. And while some of us are realistic of where we slacked, it is a great feeling to achieve goals. The best feeling of the achievement is not the achievement of goal itself, but the fact that “I did it”. This concept of “me”, “my hard-work”, “my effort”, is great, no doubt, but the counter effects of it when we fail are super bad.

The concept I am trying to present is pretty simple. Most of the time when we are unable to get what we want despite the effort, there’s plenty resentment we pile upon ourselves. “I couldn’t”, ” I should’ve”. The ‘I’ and ‘me’ creep back into the picture, but leave us feeling miserable.

I have learned to be humble and accept that no matter how much effort I put in, only what’s decreed best by my God is going to happen. And if I don’t keep that faith, the negative impact when “failing” would effect me a lot. If I did it, it’s because I put in my genuine hard-work, and the lord was happy as well, and if I were to not attain my goals, in-spite of working hard, I should try to reflect and understand where I went wrong, what could be wisdom behind it, and focus on moving on, having faith that whatever happens happens for the best.

We are too weak to be expecting perfection from ourselves, our own pressures burden us. Being realistic, rational, and using our common sense helps us be the best that we can be. Pushing boundaries of achievement is great, no doubt, but what is important is to not lose yourself in the highs and the lows. We can’t spend our lives beating ourselves down, believing we are the only cause for our success and failure, that we determine our destiny completely, because we don’t. We don’t even know how long we’re going to live!

There’s too much pressure when we isolate ourselves for being the sole reasons behind our success and failure, and frankly no one wants that. And no one can make you feel that you are incompetent, and we should try hard to not get carried away by praises, and appreciation as well.

Part of being an adult is to be sane, and acknowledge that all our decisions effect others in our lives, and people around us are in some way looking to us for some guidance, and learning from our actions. Maintaining sanity poses to be crucial hence.

So relax, and when you look back at the year, and the many goals you had set, remind yourself that you’re human, and only the best happens. Developing insight on issues, showing gratitude, and prioritising is all you need. Set new goals; realistic goals, enjoy the company of the people in who love you and most importantly appreciate yourself for making it through another year of life.

Let’s celebrate Passing the HAP course!

I finished my course at HAP!! Yayii!. Received the certificate of the same on Saturday 12th, And boy was that day hectic. I know what you’re thinking! I constantly talk about my busy schedules, I am sure it’s getting monotonous at this point. Keeping this in mind I shall move on to what I wanted to actually write about. I treated myself with some online shopping.

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Note the excitement on the daughters face! That’s just ‘zoom into pricelessness moment’ She was roaring “Yayiiiii”

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Appreciating oneself is a habit I am still developing, but when I found out that I was actually truly passing I had this intense feeling of treating myself. All the hard work, running around, studying, maintaining sanity while balancing the many responsibilities that I did, I just had to acknowledge my efforts. The icing on the cake was that I topped the last exam which was a paper submission! Felt great, that sense of accomplishment I have never felt, never topped anything! hehe

Anyway so this is what I did, I bought some make-up, a wallet, and shoes (which are on the way).

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The experience of the course was great, in one word I would describe the course ‘insightful’ apart from the academic learning that took place you really do get to explore yourself, and become more aware of your behaviour and that of others. I have met some really special people, from various walks of life, women who inspire me and will continue to be part of my life. Even though I didn’t perform to my potential, there’s a lot I have learned to do better in the future in other ventures in my life.

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Dr.Diana is a great teacher, and an inspiring role model, for her high ethical standards of practice, passion for her field, and the unconditional positive regard she gives to us as her students. I highly recommend this course for all students who are in the field of psychology to broaden their view of the field, and get exposure to new thinking and learning.

The next target is to wind up my PGDiploma from IHMH. That should be a call for another mini shopping spree I guess!

Working on your day off

One of the bad things about the internet life is we truly can’t escape our work. Email notifications are the death. Today was my day off, and even though I had scheduled two group counseling sessions, I cancelled for two reasons

  1. I realised it was a dumb decision to schedule work on my day off
  2. I wasn’t feeling too good, and me friend was free to meet up

And so I had a fun time catching up with her, even though we were in the car most of the time, drove to IGNOU and then BRAOU, wasn’t a fruitful strip except I figured I can’t or don’t want to do the courses they offered.

Since there was still time for me to get back to school and pick up the daughter, we figured we should grab a snack, and long story short we had a thick shake. And boy was it yummy!

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Drove back to school picked up Batool and sure enough, got some work done. It’s inescapable. As long as we have e-mails, we will get sucked into work. I believe this also happens when you work part time while everyone at school is going about their full week of work. Even then, it’s unavoidable. I just can’t seem to draw boundaries and not work. This has become very apparent as well now, when your friends and colleagues start categorising you as a “workaholic” you can no longer deny that!

Don’t know if I will ever be that person who can segregate, set a schedule. Actually I don’t know if I ever want to be that person. Give performance a very high priority, and while it may result in a heap-full of tiredness, and sacrifices I guess for me it’s all worth it. It’s obviously bringing about some satisfaction isn’t it?

The past and the present

I have heard this many times, “don’t think about the past”,  “Live in the now”. And like many such things I have heard, I know they will make sense to me only when they will make sense to me.

We are all unique in our abilities and it takes a certain insightful moment, a certain number of days for us to “get over” anything. Grieving loss is very important, but there can never be a number on it, a duration, a perfect method, we all have the right to go about it however we want to. And the most important thing in such times is having the right kind of people around you, who let you dwell in the sadness and in the right moment pull you out a little further.

I chose (unconsciously/consciously) to stick to the past, revisit it, think about it, ponder over it, and have made the conscious decision to stop, because I realised I am losing too much of my present because of the past I didn’t even enjoy. It’s not worth it. Not at all.

Another significant realization has been that we on a regular basis don’t tend to be grateful for simple things. This happens even more when we’re sad, I have decided to be grateful for the pleasant weather in the morning, even if it lasts only few hours, for the auto guy who is happy to use the meter, the student who sees that I  have run out of water and offers to fill  my flask, grateful for warm water for a long shower in the night while the daughter cooperates and sleeps, grateful for good writers who write good books so that I can unwind even if I manage to only read 2 pages…..Truly, when these small things become a great cause of pain for us a lot, then why not appreciate them when they’re going right?

I can’t afford to mess up the relationships in my present, for the wrong people I happened to be exposed to. Our experiences shape us, the negative ones make us the strongest, but we decide what from our life will define us. And I do not wish to be defined by my past relationships. I want to enjoy and reciprocate to the ones in my present. It’s not right to be worrying about what took so much courage to end! 🙂

Everyday, is a day for us to learn about ourselves and be better as human beings. Exploring ourselves is liberating. Feel free, it’s awesome. There’s no one and nothing stopping you but your mind. Ask it what it wants, figure it out and find your freedom!