The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


Hello dear readers

As I begin my foray into life coaching I am grateful to all those who have helped become who I am. I call them the Gods of my life. We have not seen God, but we can feel the existence of a force above us all. Call it what you like- God, universe or any other word of your choice. But yes, it is there. A nihilist or an atheist might dismiss the notion of God but then how else would one explain the inexplicable. These gods can be persons, children, a paragraph on a page of the book you were reading or a random post on a social networking site or an act of nature. Believe it or not even the most negative event in your life can make you a better person if you are willing to look at it that way. They come at the most appropriate moment when you are stuck and looking for a sign, a ray of hope or for light at the end of a tunnel. You start to see life in different perspectives- at least one different perspective. If one is perceptive enough, you might also look at that in retrospect to see what went wrong and how things could have been different.

Transformation: Nature itself is a result of ongoing transformation. From the Big Bang till today, transformation has brought us where we are. Transformation is a law of nature. Even Newton realized it and it became one of the laws of physics. If your feel you have reached a stage where your routine has become mundane and you no longer get the stimulation you need to keep going, it is time for change- a small change or a big change. But then have you realised that it is time for change? And more importantly, are you ready for change? Quite often, we know the answer but are unwilling to admit it or even take the first step towards change. Go on, see it in your mind and take that first step. It was the famous first steps taken that led to great discoveries and enlightenment that changed mankind forever. Who knows where your first step will take you and how the metamorphosis will change you!

If you spent more time reflecting than reacting

“Now go stand in a corner and think about what you’ve done”

Taylor Swift
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One of the most basic behaviours in the animal kingdom is reaction. There is a threat, we react. Reaction is one of the manifestations of self preservation. It is an instinctive behaviour that in the course of evolution was meant to keep yourselves safe. Humans have evolved tremendously over centuries. Homo sapiens have come a long way from from instinct driven actions and behaviours to attainment of greater spiritual pursuits. Reactions many times are reflex actions. There is a physiologic explanation to it. It is a primitive behaviour meant to protect one from harm. There is no rumination involved. It is immediate.

Reactions are shallow. There is no thought involved. It is instinct driven, provides immediate gratification, soothes the wounded pride and leaves many unhappy. There is no learning or awakening. Reactions can create negative relationships. Thoughtless reactions are the reason for rivalries, animosity, and an unwanted trail of mishaps.

Do not underestimate negative relationships. you have a deep bond with those you hate, fear or envy. Time to dissolve that


Let us talk about reflection.

This is a thought process and goes deeper. Each one of us has moments of reflections when we look inwards, and introspect.

Kensho and Satori are Buddhist philosophy. They are the two paths to spiritual awakening or growth. Kensho means Seeing one’s true nature, a path that involves pain and leaves you wiser through enduring difficult times. Satori involves growth through sudden or spontaneous personal insights. It is more like an aha moment and may leave you wondering – “Why didn’t I think of this before”. This can also happen when you increasingly connected to the present and are mindful. I have had a fair share of Kensho and Satori moments. As time passes I have found that deeply spiritual mind grows though more of Satori experiences. We do not need pain to teach us everything. We just need to be mindful and aware.

What is common to both is that there is Reflection. Reflection is the raison d’être to Kensho and Satori. A deeper connection to your soul develops and leaves you awakened and enlightened. Reflection alone is not enough. One needs courage and integrity to unlearn and admit flaws. That is when we grow. Reflection doesn’t mean you berate yourself for being bad. You use the process to build on your strengths and let go of weaknesses to become a better human.

What if confirmation bias interferes in your journey?

Now that can be a dangerous thing! Confirmation bias happens when you favor information to confirm or strengthen your beliefs or values. Once you have developed this tendency it can be difficult to dislodge. For example you read a quote and think it favors your actions even though they might not be right.

Embarking on a journey of awakening and growth

Create a self reflection journal. Set aside some time each day or each week for this personal journey. This your time. Think of things you did right, didn’t do right, what you are grateful for. Make a mental note of what you would like to accomplish.

As a transformation coach I help people through their difficult times with the help of my coaching philosophy that helps you rebuild, reshape and redefine your life. If you would like to know more, connect with me.

“People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot.”

– Bryant McGill.
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In a state of suspension . . .

When you are unable to bring yourself out of a state of inertia.

There are times in our lives when we are struggling to hold it together. It all looks like you’re at your wits end and falling apart. Daily mundane activities are cumbersome. You are barely making to the next day.

  • Do you always tell yourself, “Tomorrow is going to be a better day, I will get my act together after that”?
  • Are you constantly in a state of suspension feeling stuck and not able to bring yourself out of inertia?
  • Are you always plagued by self doubt and pessimism?
  • Are you surrounded by people who tell you that this state of melancholy or misery is better than what the unknown has to offer?

This may not be your story. You could be an adolescent going through a rough time, a student having difficulty keeping up with your studies, an employee stuck in a non productive phase, a person going through relationship issues. No matter what your difficulty, you may be in a limbo.

Unless you burn your boats you will not swim to newer shores. If you stay behind thinking “I’d rather stay here than face unknown problems OR be eaten up by a shark” You will never know what all you are missing. Yes, there is a possibility there will be great difficulties, but then you could also reach shores filled with great new possibilities.

After you have snapped out of stasis and revived yourself….

Every time you decide to swim against the current, the rest of the crowd will always discourage you, label you, define you, defile your name. They do not know what you know, have endured or have seen, so it does not matter what they think. Your life is your journey. It is for no one else to judge and measure. Think of your 6 year old self, gather courage, and go forth!

So, take stock of your life and snap out of your inertia. Stop living in transition.

If you need help getting back on track and winning your life back, let’s connect.

What happens when?

“Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.”

— Seneca

I am a specialist in Oral Medicine and Radiology. Today I saw a young girl in the OPD. She was young, about 17years old and was referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in the College where I work. A resident in my department was examining her. During the course of examination and history we found that she was previously diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in her right humerus (the long bone in your upper arm). The bone was resected and as a consequence she had to lose her right upper limb. She came to us because she had developed a large swelling in her lower jaw. The swelling in her lower jaw looked angry and red and ready to consume anything that was in it’s path. We all knew what it could possibly be – a metastatic tumor in her lower jaw. She was all but 17 – an age where young teens are at the precipice of adulthood and ready to explore and conquer the world, looking forward to complete their +12 education and pursue courses of their dreams and then careers of their choice.

But here she was looking exhausted and probably questioning – why me and possibly even feeling defeated. For the rest of the evening I couldn’t stop thinking of her. She was referred to a tertiary care center by the Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. As a place of learning we usually encourage residents to make records of unusual cases. Ewing’s sarcoma is not a very common malignancy. It is more common in the ages 10-20 but definitely not common in the Indian subcontinent. A standard protocol would be to perform diagnostic imaging and then referral to a specialist for treatment. Since she would not be continuing treatment with us we decided to

This brief encounter was unsettling for me. She was in my thoughts ever since and also in my prayers. As doctors we learn to put our emotions aside when providing patients with best possible treatments. This was totally different. I think it was her innocence and the sadness in her eyes that found their way to my heart. I really hope things get easier for her and her family. One can only imagine the extent of trauma this must have brought to her and her family.

It put my role as a mother in a different perspective. It made me feel I should cherish every waking moment I have with my child; provide an ambience of comfort and challenges, trust and positivity; make every day special; create value in everyday things that we have in our life – food, clothing, comforts that many don’t even dream of; create opportunity to instill confidence and responsibility and most of all – make her know she is loved no matter what and that I will always be the wind beneath her wings.

Here’s my prayer to every child

Dear child,
I wish you good health and happiness.
I wish you challenges and abundance.
I wish you opportunity and success.
I wish you blessings from God and Universe.
I wish you strength and courage.
I wish for you positivity, a good life and people who bring out the best in you.

What happens when your unlived life flashes before your eyes, in times when you are pensive and reflecting on your life’s decisions and the paths you chose or didn’t choose, the things you gave up to fulfil your roles in your duties and responsibilities, or in the most remote eventuality, your life is brought to a full stop because the Universe decides to surprise you?

Do you know how to listen?

For some reason I cannot explain, in my younger days a lot of girls used to come and open their hearts out to me. After one or two such sessions they stopped coming. Now I thought to myself – “Wow, I truly must be a great agony aunt. My advice is working and these girls found their peace!” And then years passed. There were similar incidents like this. Women, girls, gal pals would open up to me and I would offer them advice and they stopped talking about their “troubles” after one or two conversations about it. We’d still talk about other stuff but the agony part was kept out of it.

As life happened I found myself going through rough times. I started talking to one or two girls about the stuff I was dealing with and they’d say – “I didn’t have it easy either”; or “Your story pales compared to what I have been through”. That made me feel insignificant, like my problems are not real issues but theirs are. Some of them even started offering advice or said, “Well, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re stuck with it for life”. Naturally I stopped opening my heart out to them because their responses were not helping but rather making me feel worse.

Lately I realised that what one needs in times of distress is just an ear. No advice, no judgements, no response. Just to be heard. And yes, if they want your advice then choose your words carefully. Best course would be to refrain from giving advice because what you are about to say is generally as a result of your life experiences. It may not always work well with them. So tell her or him everything’s going to be alright, things will get easier soon. I must have done this too a lot of times in the past until I found that all I needed was to be heard without judgements.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what one has to say”

Bryant McGill

Having a conversation with someone who lost a dear one can also be intimidating. Again, what you need to do is just listen. Sometimes we hear people saying – “I know what you feel”, “I know what you’re going through”, “You need to be strong”. Even the strongest person goes through times of vulnerability and it is perfectly okay to feel like that. They don’t need someone telling them they have to be strong. They need to feel what they’re feeling.

You may also hear – “I also went through a miserable time when I lost my _____.” It’s not a ‘Who’s more miserable’ contest? We just need to listen to those who need it.

So the next time someone pours their heart out to you, just listen! Listening is important and difficult because it requires us to open oursleves to another person’s experience and to connect at the greater level.

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Fear Not, there is light at the end of the tunnel

Give yourself another day, another chance. You will find your courage eventually. Don’t give up on yourself just yet.”–Someone

Fear not, you are a great human. You may not always shine but you must go on in your good times and your bad.

Fear not, I know you are having a rough time. Everyone seems to have given up on you in the times of greatest despair. Deep down you do know that you are your greatest strength.

Fear not, when the nights look longer and you seem to be surrounded by shadows of gloom in your darkest hour. Daylight is just a few hours away.

Fear not, It is a new day, filled with hope. It is yours to conquer.

Fear not, someone once said tough people outlive tough times. You will rise above this all. Hold on to that smallest glimmer of hope. A spark is all it takes to keep your hope burning.

Fear not, someone is watching you from above and won’t let go of your hand.

Fear not, it is not the end of the world if you didn’t get what you desperately wanted. Maybe it is time to walk on the uncharted path.

Fear not, you are your boss and you are your slave. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.

Fear not, Not everyone will like you, not everyone will dislike you. Just be good and do your thing!

Fear not, You may think it’s over and you cannot do it anymore. If you saw from where I stand, all I see is resilience.

Fear not, be fluid, not absolute. Accept the things you do not have any power over.

Fear not, embarrassment is a state of mind! It fades from everyone else’s memories rather quickly.

Fear not, dab some eyeliner, wear your best clothes, get out there and wing it.

Tell yourself everyday – Fear not, I accept me the way that I am. My good, my bad, in my weaknesses and my strengths. I love myself. I will survive yet another storm!

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Discomfort is your friend

“The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.” 

Swami Sivananda
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It is 5:30 am. The alarm in my cell phone rings. (I have always been a sleepyhead for as long as I can remember.) I have added a google assistant routine to make the waking up process easier. It goes something like “Good morning Vasanti. Remind yourself of your vision for yourself. Refresh your mental vision board” followed by daily updates. For some some reason it doesn’t seem to be working and I have to struggle to wake up on most mornings because the silly AI assistant isn’t doing her job. So when the alarm goes off, somedays I wake up to the next alarm that is set to go off fifteen minutes later. A teeny weeny voice says, It’s okay Vasanti, you can sleep in today, there’s always tomorrow. The stern voice says – No! Get you ass off the bed and start yoga. I groggily open my eyes, lift myself up and sit at the edge of the bed to say a morning prayer – कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः करमध्ये सरस्वती ।
करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ॥
Kara-Agre Vasate Lakssmiih Kara-Madhye Sarasvatii |
Kara-Muule Tu Govindah Prabhaate Kara-Darshanam || (Which means God resides within your hands and when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is look at your hands and contemplate on them.) While I sit up at the edge of my bed and say this prayer I also ensure that my circulatory system is adapting to the change in my posture.

Huzzah! Minutes later I finally shake out of all that laziness and get on with my routine.

Your victory is right around the corner. Never give up.

Nicki Minaj

Why is it difficult for many of us to do things that are actually good for us? Why is it difficult to maintain discipline in our lives to follow a healthy lifestyle? I am a health conscious person and have been living a healthy lifestyle for quite sometime. I ditched a few vices and started treating my body and mind with more respect.

Change means discomfort. Discomfort means pain. Pain means suffering. The brain is just not ready to take all that trouble. The brain loves to dwell in a state of inertia and is rather tenacious at that. Evolution has trained our brains to see change as a threat to survival and therefore continue to be until really compelled to do otherwise. However, humanity has reached a stage where all the information we want is available to us. We need not fear the unknown because we know that we will somehow find out what we need to know. At the same time we are constantly evolving and changing at a larger scale. Science has facilitated change, yet at a personal level we all resist change.

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So what is the game changer? It is motivation, will power, focus and relevance. What we need is motivation and relevance to keep at it. Daily morning motivations to continue the good work, to change certain beliefs, a mindset, behaviours and more! What’s great is science has ensured we can get a daily dose of motivation right on our palms.

Will power and focus will help you drive through the uncharted areas. Your neurons make new connections and that is going to help you rewire your brain.

One of the most important factors in change is relevance. Most adults need to understand relevance of any new activity or change. Unless it’s relevant they do find it hard to embrace change. So go inward to find relevance. Mindfulness and contemplation often show the way.

What you need to do when you are faced with such a dilemma. Ask youself – Is it going to kill you or hurt anyone? – NO! Is it going to help you grow? YES! If those are the answers you get, then what’s stopping you? Go forth and do that one thing your mind desists. Push yourself harder. Shut out the STOP button in your mind until your body and mind embrace this as the new normal. Push youself past the uncomfortable and discover a new side of you. How long does it take? Well there is no one size fits all. Keep at it until it becomes a part of you

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And so dear readers, I have been practicing my morning exercise for nearly nine months. I have also started intermittent fasting in Feb this year and managed to lose nearly 8 kilos and stay fit and energetic. I am a vegetarian. On most days I eat two balanced North Karnataka meals within an 8 hour gap. It is high in fiber and nutrients It was a struggle in the beginning but I got there eventually and made it a habit. If a lazy person like me could do it then you can do it too!

This is what a typical meal looks like. Image from: https://hubballi2019.wordpress.com/some-authentic-north-karnataka-cuisine/


Rigidity breeds stagnation

Stagnation prevents growth and evolution

I saw a video by Sadhguru. He spoke about energies and how one can align with them. In a physical world we are after all, bundles of energy – atoms, molecules, more complex molecules, contantly transforming energy through biochemical cycles! What struck me was something that he stated non chalantly – Be fluid and not absolute.

What does it mean to be fluid and not absolute?

You cannot confine energy, ideas, thoughts, water, waves, air and one can build the list! They are meant to be free to go in the direction they choose. What would happen is we held them back? Stagnation, rot, decay. Stagnant water breeds disease. Stagnant air soon carries stench. Allow your mind to adapt to change. All it needs is for you to train your mind to be ready to embrace change. We all like our lives to go steady and smooth. Status quo is good. What’s better is adaptability to change. I used to have rigid ideas about how I wanted my life to be and when that didn’t happen I became unhappy and was unhappy for a long time. That became my status quo, being in a perpetual state of anxiety and unhappiness. I slowly started to turn inwards to seek explanation for my anxieties, worries and troubles. Most of the time this introspection works. It helps you chart a new course and navigate through adversities with great ‘fluidity’. As you chart new courses in life you become a weathered sailor, growing stronger, better and humane as long as you’re grounded. There are some who grow bitter and resentful through adversity. I only pray that such people make their peace with themselves in this life.

Discipline and rigidity are quite different. Can we enforce discipline without being rigid? Discipline brings order amidst chaos and we need some amount of order in all this disordeliness to keep us civilized and evolve.

Today I pray that you all look inward and find it in you to find your fluidity. We are not meant to be rigid. We are not meant to settle. We are meant to grow and thrive for the world belongs to tomorrow and not yesterday or the day before. Be fluid like water.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” —

Lao Tzu

Am I really that great?!

You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens

Louise L Hay
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I have always had a feeling of inadequacy. As if whatever I did was never enough. I grew up with adults who were difficult to please. Also these people constantly made me feel I can never be good at anything or ever look good enough. Body shaming also greatly contriuted to my feeling of not beeing good enough. That probably has a great bearing on my personality. I kept pushing myself to keep feeling it’s not enough. There is too much of self doubt at times that it reaches to a point of self sabotage. “Am I an imposter?” “What if I am exposed and not really as great as people think I am?” As a result I ended up becoming a perfectionist. I have this deep seated belief that everythinng I do has to be perfect. I create a vision of perfection and a lot of times it becomes so big that I get overwhelmed and go nowehere with that idea. It just stays there, grand and beautiful but in my thoughts. Now I am in my forties and I have decided to take stock of my life and make some much needed changes.

Most women over their forties have completed a significant portion of their domestic responsibilties. You have been married, looked after a household, raised children, and if you are an Indian family many of you are probably living with elderly people too. Women are gifted with the ability to multitask. Blame it on blessed evolution but we can sense a lot of things before even ascribing it to a particular cause. Being blessed with such abilities (multitasking) can come with pitfalls. It may leave you feeling overwhelmed, and also doubt yourself. It is okay to doubt yourself occasionally but it is not okay if it becomes a apart of your routine.

You are great at your career but struggle with household chores. You are great at organizing social events for your family but struggle with routine chores; You are a great companion to your partner and a fantastic mother but you don’t like to conform to convention. Do these sound familiar? What happens when you are constantly plagued with self doubt? Does it make you feel inadequate? Do you always downplay your accomplishments and abilities? It’s easy to get pulled into the imposter-syndrome cycle. Many people forget that everyone was once a rookie. With more knowledge and experience, you can feel less like an imposter and be more confident in your abilities.

It’s beginnings can probably be traced to your family environment in many instances. If you were constantly ridiculed for not knowing something or your accomplishments never acknowledged you might find that some of these are the underpinnings of impostor phenomenon in the future. As you grow up this behaviour could keep snow balling into major issues unless you have found ways to overcome it. You do not have to have it all. You do not have to keep it together all the time. Society has imposed on us women to keep our act together all the time. This has been perpetuated by mindless and unrealistic expectations of a woman to fulfil everyone’s wishes.

It’s enough. Take a bow and walk free. You are your own master. Do your stuff. You’ve got this! That’s all I always needed to hear; for someone to tell me – don’t worry, you’ve got this! So say good bye to all that self doubt. Believe that you are better than you think you are. Go forth and conquer. Reach out and help another woman who could use a kind word or two.

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Magnificent Niagara. What a sight to behold!

Repurpose your life

“It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook.

Earlier this week I attended a workshop on program evaluation in health professions education. Being a health professional and an educator I find these workshops invigorating. We were learning about obtaining information on the outcomes of learning processes to know whether the outcomes were in alignment with the goals. What I gleaned from this whole exercise was that we need to have a clear purpose in our minds and then walk backwards to create goals and objectives. Where do you want to be few years from now? Have we been told this early in life or do we figure it out along the way? All of us are caught up in the daily grind of life and many of us are working mechanically like clockwork.

Some day when you are in your forties, your kids are ready to fly the nest or have already left, you will wonder what happened. It all happened so quickly. Like almost in a blur! You will also find that you have so much time in your life and space in your home and peace and quiet. However what we see is an empty house and loneliness because our minds were trained to expect this as a way of life. If you’re working, you will probably not notice the emptiness. Or you might when you return home from work only to find silence greet you. For some of you it is a different story. You chose to fulfil your dreams in your chosen career and started your families later that others. Are you struggling to hold on to your sanity, make your married life work and hold it together at work? There is no best way to go about life. But there are great ways to live a great life! For many of you, hitting the forties may trigger a sense of unease. It may also be accompanied by a midlife or existential crisis. It brings a lot of changes in your life. The womenfolk will find that hormones have started wreaking havoc; your kids are older now and independent; your priorities change and all of a sudden it looks like this wasn’t a part of the bargain.

How would it be if you were able to train your mind to see this as a silver lining and spend the rest of your great life doing things you absolutely love?

No matter what life choices you have made this is a golden oppotunity to seize the silver lining and repurpose your life. It is a time to unravel or discover new passions and create new goals. Believe me, forties are new thing. Whether you are a man or a woman, it’s time to start swinging into the second act and live a great life.

#Thesecondact #Theforty+coach