Why and How to Set Intention

Why is Setting an Intention Useful

I know as students you all are very adept in and have been told many times to set a goal. And you make time tables and paste it on your boards and then there are days when you are not able to stick to the time tables and feel super bad about it. You know why? Mostly because your intentions behind the action are unclear.

What if I tell you that somewhere during the day, doing what you do, you don’t even know why you are doing that. Lets take the example of social media or watching TV, nothing wrong in it now, right? Absolutely nothing wrong I say. However, the missing part is that you forgot what your intention was when you went on to the internet. You knew you are switching on the gadget for checking out more info about the topic you were studying or check out the homework on whatsapp. And what was supposed to be just that, resulted in mindless trolling and surfing on the net. And before you realise it more than an hour has gone. And the next hour goes in bashing yourself about your unproductivity. Familiar situation right?

Now check this scenario, you have set the intention and told yourself mentally that I am getting on whats app right now to only check the homework. You get on, you check, and you get back to prepare to finish that homework. Now after an hour, you have got heaps done. How wonderful!

That’s what is the power of setting an intention. If you know why you are doing what you are doing chances are you will flounder less and less. Let us explore what is an intention? Simply put it is a mental state that you have behind an action. However, this is at times not in your awareness. Let me share with you an example; I had a bunch of vibrant students in a session and I asked them what is your intention of attending this session and a guy quipped, “mam sir told us it is complusory”. I asked him, “so will you jump from the mountain if sir told you it is compulsory?” So there, you see how many things we do we are not even clear about why we are doing that. And also just imagine, what if this clarity is yours? What if you knew, you are visiting social media for fun or are play xbox for fun and give yourself 45 minutes to do that? Then by the end of it you wont be guilty of having wasted so much time mindlessly.

Intentions will help you use your energy and time wisely. If you do not know where you want to go, you will reach anywhere. Intentions are like that GPS that tells you how to navigate through your day productively. They can be set in any area of your life, academic, sports, physical, social, emotional, spiritual.

Set an intention before getting off the bed. Before sitting down to study. Before going out to play. And see what difference does it make in the quality of how you have spent the day?

How to set an Intention:

  1. Be clear what is it that you want out of your action. Example: I am sitting down for studying for 2 hours. Set this intention and then do not be tempted to browse social media to check that 1 message.
  2. Tell yourself, “I don’t do social media before 2 hours of study”. Your words matter. When you say “I don’t” and when you say “I can’t” they both have different impact on your mind .

Try it. You have nothing to lose and much to gain!

I always tell in my sessions, begin your day with an intention and end with gratitude. More on gratitude in next column. 

Emotional Literacy

Emotional Literacy at the Jamia School

Objective: Of the workshop was vocabulary enhancement for the students, combined with an art activity.

Delivery: Me and Saba decided to do something off beat rather than just introduce pottery. And since i feel so passionately about emotional literacy, i suggested we combine emotions and pottery. and what a combination it was. We really had fun delivering it and if the smiles are any indication, the children loved it too.

I always say and feel EI Above AI. it is important to identify, accept, feel and step out of the ever changing landscape of emotions. and the first step in this is to identify correctly what you are feeling and how you are feeling. To assist with this we shared the Emotional Wheel and also did vocab building exercises towards this.

We also shared Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) technique with the students.

I loved the enthusiastic participation of the students and it that they stepped up and forward to interact freely and even sum up the session with their major takeaways.

The session was followed up with pottery and we all had super fun creating things out of clay. From Captain America Logo to Snitch to Samosas to Cricket Pitch to toads and Dinosaurs all got made.

If you would love to book a session on Emotional Literacy for your school do get in touch.

Question the Normal

Yes what is it that you have normalised in your life? A conversation on a topic led to this sharing by a spouse, “ek thappad hi toh tha”.This is not just a problem at an individual level, this is a whole level of mindset that has been promoted in a patriarchal society. Heck, maybe it was normal in the household that person grew up too and it was OK for the mother to pretend to move on naturally and the scared kids to cower down and not speak up either. This was probably the normal that person had seen in their home or maybe even not. But fed on other multiple narratives in the society/environment/ news/ movies etc this was normalised in the head of the person who indulged in this and then defended saying it is normal.

My invitation to you is to think how are we normalising so many ills in our environment? Beauty standards have been normalised? Men not crying is normal? Women not laughing loud is normal? Girls not stepping out late, wearing what they want is normal? Children should be seen, not heard is normal? Raising your hand on your children to discipline them is normal? Injecting colors in fruits, slathering chemicals on veggies, Moving away from organic farming cause veggies need to be good looking is normal? Body shaming cause it is a joke is normal? Slogging in a job you don’t like is normal? Following your passion is brave (really?!)

My invitation to you is please, let us Question our Normal. Maybe that is not how it should be. Maybe what you think you are tolerating is because you or the society has normalised it, is not normal.

The more you will question, the more you will bring in joy, the more you will accept yourself and others, the less you will judge, the more you will live how you are born to live, authentically!

5 tips on how to manage jealousy

One of the things that we need to know that as a human, all the emotions/thoughts that arise within us are natural. You are not a lesser or a larger human by experiencing any of the negative emotions if you are. We not only tend to shame ourselves, we also tend to passively or aggressively shame others’. Hence, even though we do the lip service that it is natural, we most times don’t have the courage to call out our bluff.

The fact is an emotion is an emotion…just that!! An emotion is NOT who you are. For example, I got this message, “thanks for sharing about the workshop…I am not the jealous types”. No one is any “types”. Don’t mistake the emotional label for who YOU truly are. Do not label yourself and do not label anyone else.

The emotion in and of itself is just pointing out to a need. Hare k emotion kuch keh raha hai. Kya aap sun rahe hain? Remember even though content is king…the context is the Kingdom. Always remind yourself of the context.

Here are 5 tips on how we can manage jealousy:

1. Recognize and acknowledge your feelings of jealousy. It’s important to understand that jealousy is a normal human emotion, but it should not control your actions or thoughts.

2. Identify the source of your jealousy. Are you jealous of a specific person or situation? Understanding the root cause of your jealousy can help you better manage it.

3. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner. If you’re feeling jealous in a relationship, it’s important to talk about it with your partner. Being open and honest about your feelings can help to build trust and understanding.

4. Practice self-care and self-compassion. Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Practice self-compassion by being kind and understanding with yourself.

5. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and relationships. Try to remember all the things you have to be grateful for and appreciate the positive aspects of your life and relationships. Instead of dwelling on feelings of jealousy, focus on the things that bring you joy and fulfillment.


Be the Butterfly

Change is messy and painful. That could be any change. Know why? Cause the change happens not just at the external level it demands that we evolve too. Our old self that was in the comfort zone even if that zone was of miserability had a level of certainty that gave us false succor. It could be a job or relationship that does not serve you anymore. Hell, it could even be a change that may actually be heralding in a new and better tomorrow. Think, a child moving out for higher education or career progression, getting married or becoming parents, moving cities or countries, changing jobs or even learning a new way of living and lifestyle.

All changes unequivocally demand that we need shed and reorganize our image of old selves and transform into someone we were earlier not familiar with. It not only needs realignment of values and habits, at times it challenges our whole way of showing up in the world.

The resistance to change is of the magnitude that it even instigates us into gaslighting our own selves….at least I have a job, at least my partner supports me financially, all these “at leasts” manifest in our life and make us the minimum guy. Not living or playing to our full potential.

Our chemistry – the body also supports this resistance. Cause actually the body has got used to that chemistry, it is like you have become an addict to that same chemical/hormonal cocktail that is happening in your blood.

Recently some BIG changes are happening in my life and I am observing how I am responding to those. So while there are times when I do sit and grieve the past going by and there are times when I am in celebration of the un-promised uncertain future. The one thing that we all have in our control and/or manage is our reaction to the change. What is it that you are resisting the most? What is it that you have to give up? What is it that you can learn more of? What are the values you need to realign? Think, are you resisting the uncertainty or the learning? How are you being in the awareness of what is it that is arising in you? Are you being the observer of all that is rising or are you swimming in the tide of emotions?

The one thing that is certain though is that change is the only constant.

Power of 20

Power of 20

Have you ever tried to incorporate a new habit or accomplish a task in your day and felt that you didn’t have time? Is not having enough time your excuse for not doing many things? Even when you know that those activities will impact you positively. Well most of the time, it is the time that gets a whack but what lies beneath is the comfort of the comfort zone.

This post is inspired by one of my very dedicated coachee, she who must not be named. Well, she is very diligent and I must say I am so proud that she does the work she commits to. It started with her trying to incorporate a daily habit of journaling for emotion release and self awareness. We decided to keep the writing for only 20 minutes. She took it up and journaling has become a habit that she now loves.

She then decided to start applying the rule of 20 in other areas of her life too. She told herself that she will do that particular task for 20 minutes and voila she has been able to incrementally have a day where she achieves what she really would love to in her day.

So if you think you don’t have time for reading, self care, meditation, walk, journaling, self work, calling up a dear friend or even de cluttering a space, how about telling yourself that all you need is 20 minutes. Become aware of the self talk you tend to give in to when you say you don’t have time. How does it impact your day? How differently would you feel if you could do what you would love to? How about giving that activity just 20 minutes of your time?

Do this and share what happened when you applied this in your day!

Should you love to work with me as your accountability partner, reach out to me. 

New Day

This New Year has many expectations pinned on to it, and rightly so. We have all had a very different 2020…stuff that weirdest fantasies are also not made of. So loaded with expectations that at times I feel bad for 2021..i mean reminds me of the pressure created before an exam.

Most of us, including the me missing my Sarojini Nagar visits, want to just want press the “play” button where there has been a BIG pause. Last year we got intimate with life’s uncertainties and this year we want to make hope our bedfellow. And rightly so. This hope found expression in and was so visible in the New Year greetings.

If I was to play a spoilsport my question will be, think… what changed other than the date and the day? It also made me reflect to think what if…we were to wake up to each day with this feeling of new ness. With creating intentions for the day (instead of resolutions for the year), with leaving behind the past in the past and just be present to the opportunities every new day promises us. What if we were to wake up filled with hope, a hope of better today. How will it change when we approach every days situations with hope, new vigor and intentions. What will be different in the way we will navigate through the day? What will it enable us to do and be more of? 

How Journaling can Help

A human being thinks around 60 to 70k thoughts in a day. And if that’s not enough the thoughts from the previous day roll on to the next day and the next and the next…you get the drift. 90 percent of the thoughts are recycled from the previous day. And though I maybe poor at Math, this piece of statistic reveals that only 10 percent of the thoughts accessed in a day will be new and out of that many will be reactionary, and that leaves a miniscule space for creative ones. Another piece of info that blew my mind is that the brain is designed to scan the environment for threat 3 times in a second…Phew that’s a lot of thinking. No wonder an intelligent someone quipped, “I think therefore I am”. As an aside I don’t believe him.

What I realized during my journey and my clients is that journaling thoughts, feelings and reflections can help free the mind of over thinking and the process is hugely healing. That it is a scientifically proven and a researched topic just helps build credibility, in case you don’t believe me ! In any case don’t even believe the studies, you know they study everything, believe your experience. Experiment in the laboratory of your life and arrive to your own conclusion.

However, just to support you in this experiment, I can share that many people feel resistance, that sounds like, “I don’t have time”, “I cant write”, “I am too stressed” and many other creative ones. So if you are saying any of these, don’t worry, you are on the right track. Atleast you are “thinking” about journaling.

I recommend that you fix a time in the day, before sleeping or before dinner or any thing that suits you and sit down with a paper and pen or on your computer and set aside undisturbed 15 minutes. Yes that’s all the time you need. This much time toh I waste on thinking which Netflix show I should watch or what I should wear. Having sat down just start to write and allow those thoughts or feelings to show up on the paper. Don’t stop to read, edit or make it sound good. Just keep pounding those fingers on the keyboard or keep running scratching on the paper. No one is going to read it, and that allows for a lot of freedom. As the alarm goes off in 15 minutes, simply stop. Most of the times when I am finished I just tear the paper off and that act in itself becomes cathartic for me.

My prompt to me more often than not is “what am I feeling right now?” it gives me a free reign to just connect with my emotions, acknowledge and release them. This form of expressive writing frees you up from the nagging thoughts and lets go of the emotions that many time are sucking up your energy. It clears the mind of all the clouds of worries and anxieties, relieves daily stress and allows the access to blue sky thinking.

Now, there will be times you may think, but I am not feeling anything right now. Well, to make you excuse free, here are some prompts that you can choose on those days. Now Don’t start to over think which prompt to pick up. Just pick up the one that calls you out the most on that particular day and just begin journaling. Its one of the best self care activities and to me feels like an energetic shower.

Some Prompts:

  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What was the biggest challenge I faced today?
  • What are the things I can today acknowledge myself for?
  • Write a letter: to your younger self, to that someone who you want to tell 1000 things but cant, to the one in heaven you loved dearly and were never able to tell them.
  • What improves if I overthink or worry
  • The worst that could happen in a context
  • The best that could happen in a context

There is no “right” way of writing. Just like there is no right way that you should think, feel or not. This is your sacred space. This is a space that allows you to be most open and authentic. Just do it, I say and know that the taste of the pudding is in eating it.

PS: I was speaking to my coachee on her journaling progress and she said she is now also journaling on words that pop in her head, for example air. I was intrigued and wanted to know how she was using a prompt as creative and equally banal as “air” to journal. Her reply elated and surprised me. She wrote all what she associated with air vis-à-vis her emotional state. And what she got was that the air is heavy when she is upset and light when she is happy and that next time she encounters a difficult emotion she breathes in lightness to feel light. And I thought it was so wonderful.

Actually you need a prompt till you don’t. So carry on and keep releasing and acknowledging the emotions and/or reflecting. The idea is to live and die empty.

I do…I am

When asked about my intro, my first response is about what I “do” as a profession, then as a mum and eventually to add some spice (a lot of mirchi) I finish saying that I am a huge SRK fan. I know, cheesy right?

Since childhood, my father always used to say, “sab salaam kursi ko hota hai.” He being in a senior official position knew it and held his title lightly. What it did was that Post retirement he knew and didn’t care, when from palatial houses we moved into our own humble home, didn’t have a battery of orderlies, had to drive his own car and blah blah…you get the drift. At that time, I didn’t realize, but today I connect the dots and know that he lived what he said and hence transitioned with much ease. He could do it cause he didn’t become his label.

It is so important to keep this on the top of the mind. We are not our professions, roles, labels…we are so much larger than that. I know at gyan level we all know it, but at the most cellular level, at the level of our beingness do we really live it?

We may have earned some labels with our hard work others may have been handed down to us. I take pride in each one of them. And I know I don’t want to just “become” or be restricted by my labels. I am told by many how I should be behaving or dressing or looking or even driving a particular car just cause I am my husband’s wife. Excuse me?! The label doesn’t define Me, I wear it lightly. And that’s how I love it.  And let me confess, its hugely liberating to not care what others are thinking and even better if someone’s mental image of how “she” should be, is shattered.

My friend list (not on fb silly) include  my domestic help, the newspaper walaa, the electrician, an army Brig, CEOs, home makers, potters, guard bhaiya, driver bhaiya and so on. And trust me I can laugh and talk to them all with ease.

So who are you more than and other than your labels? I am a free spirit and choose to play all my roles to the hilt. And yes, I am a huge fan of SRK J

Reflect with me if you choose to:

Who would I be without my stories?

Who would I be beyond my roles? Or what I do?

Who would I be beyond what I know?

Who am I really and truly?

And while you are at it…play the song in the background Bulla ki jaaanaa main kaun…and btw it has nothing to do with SRK.

Self Care Tips to Navigate post-festival Blues

It is common to feel a little blue post festivals or big days like your birthday and anniversaries. And this year it is more bluer (severe) than others. Some of us have lost dear ones to covid, some have had to compromise with salary cuts, working from and at home, more work and reinvention and less productivity, juggling too much, stress of online education and so much more.

Personally I could not meet my parents who live 2 kms away, cause of multiple cases in their society. Bhai dooj, a day I used to look forward to go to cousins and general celebrations went by as a damp squib, wishing on whats app and no human connection. Also hearing the same from many of my clients. Allow me to say that you or I are not alone. A lot of us are feeling off and blue. And its OK. Its OK to feel what you are feeling. At this time, treat yourself well, indulge in some self care activities, feel your feelings fully, and step out when ready.

Some of the self care tips that may help:

  1. Label them Right: Correct labeling of what we are feeling is very important. I have heard “depression” being used liberally to explain sadness, isolation, frustration, vulnerable etc. More than anyone else, You are listening to You. Using correct words to name the emotions help in understanding and releasing some of the charge
  2. Feel your Feelings: Feeling your emotions in the body fully without the need to suppress or ignore. Any suppression will lead to outbursts later. Scan your body and see where you are holding the tightness/discomfort and breathe into it gently.
  3. Deep Even Count Breathing and Long Exhales: Notice when we release any stress, we tend to sigh. That’s body’s response in shifting the energy. For me breathwork works. You can choose even count breathing- inhale-hold-exhale to same count or inhale to a count and exhale from mouth to the double count.
  4. Moving the Body: Dance to your fav music or just sway or just get up and go for a walk in nature. Nature heals. If like me you are not moving out to the public parks, just jump. One of my fav things to do is marching on-the-spot to the words, “I am awake and ready” (as shared in the exercise by Paramhansa Yogananda ji). For me this is actually an every morning ritual.
  5. Journaling is another activity that helps me loads. Expressing your emotions in a safe way. I write to the prompt “what am I feeling right now”? How I do it is set a timer for 15 minutes and write away, no pause, no thinking and when the alarm goes off..tear that sheet of paper or burn it. I feel light.

I asked on facebook and some of my gorgeous friends responded with their favorite self care activities. Here they are:

Dipali Taneja, blogger and author

Walking, reading, music. Hot baths. Remembering to cream my feet.

Divya Srivastava, life coach  

Looking at myself in the mirror and saying- ‘you’re doing awesome’ ,’ you’re doing good’, ‘ you’re beautiful’, ‘keep serving’.

Hena Kausar, Free Spirit Reading poetry, getting ready & dancing, writing and expressing myself on facebook & life.

Purva Poorva, Full time Single Parent homeschooling her daughter and also teaches folk and tribal art if and when she chooses to

 Waking up early for a walk/run. Watching the sunset. Painting with lovely instrumental music.

pic courtesy Purva Poorva

Sheetal Shah, Product & Diamond Jewelry Designer

Pampering myself …..boost up confident level saying inspiring words…Yes I can do it, Keep myself positive by listening music 🎶 n dance n walk …..for me inner beauty is more important….outer beauty will glow automatically…. Thats healthy care for myself with beautiful smile on beautiful face ❤️

Lastly, please do not suffer alone. Speak to someone you trust, call a friend and check in, gift to your favorite charity, bring a smile to someone (Begin with Yourself), and talk to yourself the way you would to your bff. This too shall pass, no emotion, thought or state is permanent and that’s the Good News!

How to Free Your Energy and Manage Exam Stress

“Whether we like it or not, exams is one word that stirs up various emotions and thoughts in us. From anxiety to stress and to actually falling ill.

In my sessions, here is what i regularly hear:

Stress No1: Peer Pressure: It can creep up anytime on us, when parents compare, when we compare ourselves and when we see big happy stories on Internet.

BUSTED: I know you get damn angry when parents compare and have stomped out of rooms in anger too. But, tell me isn’t it you yourself who compare yourself with your peers more than they do. Put a stop to this. If you notice that voice in your head getting into a comparison game, become aware of it, mute it in your head (after all its your voice) and move on with your task productively.
If you really have to compare, compare your old self with the new self to understand your progress.

Stress No 2: What if I don’t get Good Marks?

BUSTED: Yes, it’s a competitive system out there, but what if you focus on your OWN improvement? What if you take each stumbling block or a result like a feedback? What if you go back and learn from you result? What if you make achievable goals and go work on them? What will change for you, if you take note of the feedbacks and keep working diligently towards improvement.

Stress No.3: What if the examiner is not in a good mood while correcting my answer sheet?

BUSTED: Can you do anything about the examiners mood? I see you smiling, right? I know as well as you do, you cant, so why stress. Use this freed up energy elsewhere and remain with what you CAN Do.

Here is a technique I use often, works well for anything that shows up as a stress monster in our lives.

Make 2 columns. 1 column write Circle of Influence and in the Other Circle of Worry. Now start listing what are your stressors in the situation and start to park them in each column.

Circle of Influence: write that where YOU have the power or influence to change, alter something.

Circle of Worry: Park all your worries like mood of the examiner, tough paper etc; something over which you do NOT have any influence in this column.

And then look at it closely. And for those that you have power use that power and move on. For the other column, just let it Go. You cant control everything. Not even your eye blinks. How can you control so much else? Free yourself from the clutches of what is not under your control. And SMILE.”

If you want to consult me personally, call at 9818464420