Love Is Where It Is, by Kevin

Love is where it is, is a thought-provoking reflection on the spiritual nature of love, and how to embrace it in daily life.

Here’s a thought-provoking reflecton on love, by our guest post Kevin Thompson from Resting Times.

There are days when I long to be elsewhere. Anywhere else.

Things seem stale, usual, or even mundane. So, usually, most of those days are spent inside my head, thinking of the ordinary, and seeing very little possibility. Everything seems familiar. Mostly because of my lack of interest in seeing the present moment as a new moment.

The road that is traveled to my house seems the same. Each step from the driveway to the front door seems rehearsed. Words spoken to my family upon entry to my home seems familiar and rehearsed. Eating a bite for dinner, sitting for a time on the deck, and off to bed.

Luckily for me, I catch myself on those ordinary days, and imagine the impossible. I do something just a little differently. Perhaps brushing my teeth with my left, instead of my right, hand. Maybe the right sock goes on first rather than the left. Instead of exercising, I might meditate. Rather than sipping tea, I might sip coffee.

What is most helpful during any day filled with the usual, is realizing that some people actually come to my town on purpose.

They come for vacations, business, and to see family or friends. There are mountains, there are rivers and lakes, and there are great restaurants. My hometown is a destination.

Every time I get a chance to “get away”, I pass people from the town that I am going, who are coming to the place from which I just departed. All for the same reason. What I find fascinating about their city, they most likely, at times, find stale, usual, and even mundane. This is human nature.

Relationships are like this. Spiritual practice is like this. Employment or even entrepreneurship, is like this. Anything the human is capable of doing, has the potential to become a burden instead of a blessing.

The blessings do not change, but the perception of the blessing changes.

We should not feel ungrateful or believe that we should feel guilty for not realizing how fortunate we are. What is true, is that we should simply be aware of the feeling and do something to change our view of what is happening in our lives. Not in order to appreciate things to be gracious, but to enjoy one more of the many ways an event might be experienced.

For those of you that drive, you might shake up your day be getting into your car from the passenger side. If you eat well, snack on small things during the day. If you have a meager diet, try something a little more. When you are faced with a challenge, do the exact opposite of what you are known for doing. My personal favorite is to take a minute to send an acquaintance a small message or drawing.

peace, love, kevin thompson, whiteboard, sketch

Once, while in Manhattan, upon exiting an apartment building for the southern US, I found myself with only a $1 bill. Staying in New York was not an option and I needed to get home. As I exited the lobby, I held the door for a young man and said, please take this dollar. With a smirk he looked at me and said, “I don’t need your dollar.”

I replied, “I know, but I need the karma much more than I need the dollar. Please, take the bill.”

He did, and the adventure home began. That adventure is too long for this article. Twenty years later and I feel somehow that I am still on that journey home. The only thing I know for sure, though having had many dollars since, is that I always need the karma more than the dollar.

It is this way with my thinking, my words, my imaginings, and my drawings. Someday I might need the dollar more than the karma, but for now, I am lucky enough to send encouragement into the world and let it fly and land where it will.  

Here is what I know for certain. Without any doubt. There is in all of us, a spark of the divine that exists both within and outside of what we consider our form. If you close your eyes, you might even imagine that you and it are one. And if you are able to imagine yourself as one with the divine, with love, it might not be so hard to imagine yourself as one with the creation of which you are a part.

If this proves too difficult, my recommendation is simple.

Think well of yourself. Think well of your place and position in the world. Be more grateful each day. For simple things and big things.

Take deep breaths and enjoy the simple pleasure of rest. Understand that you are as much a part of the universe as the brightest star. That you have the ability to affect everything in a positive way. You are worthy of great things. The secret is to realize this and be able to receive love.

Love is where it is. Kindness is the way to get there. Peace is what will light the way. May you find all three.

Remember the good times. Consider the most wonderful solutions to the most difficult problems. Keep reminding yourself that there is nothing stale, usual, or mundane about the you that is born anew each day.

Love & Light,

Kevin

My Therapy Stories (#1) : Inner Child Wounds

Beginning 2020 with a very personal, monthly series, called My Therapy Stories. Let’s break the stigma!

With all the talk about mental health, I decided to put together a new series about my experiences with therapy. The first aspect of my story, begins with inner child wounds from my time at school, and the ripple effects it had all the way through adulthood.

I hope to encourage more people to step up and take therapy as a lifestyle choice. And NOT something to look down upon. Let’s break the stigma!

DISCLAIMER : These stories aren’t always pleasant and they might trigger the parts of you that want to be healed too. But, I promise they have happy endings. And I hope these endings will inspire you. 🙂

Also, none of this is to disrespect or blame anyone. I am only recounting my experiences as a child, but also discussing how these experiences were healed.

How Schooling Effects Mental Health

My family and I stayed in the United States for a few years. Then, we came back to India, the motherland, once I was in 5th grade.

vasundhra, family, childhood, grand canyon, inner child,
Our family trip to the Grand Canyon, from nearly 20 years ago!

Growing up, my school life in India really challenged my mental health. While in USA, I was acing my classes, in India I wasn’t even in the top 10 (though yes, Indian classes are much bigger in ratio).

I often missed playing outside because even after school, I’d spend hours in tuition for all the subjects, catching up with the education system. There was a lot of culture shift. I struggled especially because I also had to learn to write Hindi from scratch, several years after other kids were already quite good at it.

Another difference? Getting told-off in Indian schools for my “poor handwriting” or “sloppy diagrams”.

I remember being asked to go home with the class topper’s notes and practice writing like her!

I didn’t realise things like these even mattered, that these qualified for a reproaching, until I started feeling the embarrassment flush in my cheeks for it infront of the whole class.

Uptil this point, I had always been known for my sincerity and diligence, and had never been called-out so blatantly. Never being very sport-oriented to begin with, now, my academic intelligence also came into question.

Inner Child Therapy for School

Recently, in processing my childhood through Inner Child Healing work, I unblocked some strong feelings of incompetency and guilt.

I realized the reason I never cut myself slack after growing up, was because I felt bad for not being able to prove my worth in school. I felt like I needed to work even harder, and that’s what my college and work life saw – grinding, extreme grinding.

college, workshop, teenage, young adult, studying, intense, focused, vasundhra, mental health, therapy, healing
An intense capture from one of the workshops I attended back in college. Haha!

My parents never once asked me to do better, but I felt the guilt of not being good enough. I felt like I was letting them down.

Who knew, these thoughts weren’t coming from within me, but from a different source? Overtime, kids start believing the thoughts to be their own. And bam! Down goes their self-esteem.

Infact in 10th grade, right before my Board exams, I had a panic attack and started hyperventilating. I had to be rushed to our physician, and she made us realize that I was overwhelming myself with performance pressure.

Hypnotherapy helped me uncover and heal this guilt, after a decade! I’m also slowly learning to allow myself time to relax and enjoy, and to stop taking life so ambitiously.

How Creativity Helps Mental Health

My creative and artistic side rarely got the encouragement it should have, the way US schools provided kids.

creativity, throwback. childhood, Idaho, Map, handmade, project, vasundhra, inner child, therapy
My Idaho state project as a kid, where learning and creatvity went hand-in-hand.

Infact an art teacher scared me to my very core, one year. She seemed crazy, a woman that yelled at us kids for forgetting our art supplies or for not painting as per her standards.

I too, got a LOT of heat from her once, and I became deeply terrified.

There was another rather mean, intimidating dance teacher who often yelled at me in front of other classmates, because I was too shy to dance freely. I probably looked incompetent inspite being trained in the classical dance form, Bharatnatyam

Bharatnatyam, dance, vasundhra, solo performance, stage, tabla, Indian, Classical dance, inner child, creativity
One of my Bharatnatyam performances in Boise, when I was 8 years old.

Inspite studying from an academically sound school, many of the teachers were daunting, and mean to kids except the ones that scored perfect grades (not me). The rest of us were constantly reminded how we’re not good enough.

It never occurred to me to discuss this at home, seeing that this was a culture that everyone faced with me. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really sweet teachers. But there weren’t that many. Nope.

Trying to cope with all this, I missed out small hobbies, like completing my Bharatnatyam Arangetram and even smaller things like watching Harry Potter.

Inner Child Therapy for Creativity

Working on my childhood through therapy taught me to provide myself those experiences now, as a grown up, and to cherish my hobbies even if they are childish sometimes. In otherwords, ‘reparenting’ myself.

Only recently, in August 2019 did I, as a 25 year old adult, watch the Harry Potter series! What a classic.

These have all been tributes to my younger Self. Afterall, don’t we owe it to ourselves to live the quality of life we want to? It’s never too late!

This process is called reparenting.

Healing is also how I gained the confidence to dance front-row for my Salsa performance in office. And it was what empowered me to perform a Bharatnatyam-fusion at my engagement, whose video you can watch below.

I didn’t have that kind of confidence growing up. My heart was always pounding even though I had done several stage performances before. But now I do feel relaxed and capable of being carefree while on stage. And I’m proud of myself for coming this far! 🙂 

I also continue to expose myself to various art and recreation classes, that keeps my inner child happy and thriving.

Concluding Thoughts on Therapy for Inner Child Healing

I didn’t have any of these memories consciously. To me, I felt like my childhood was rather relaxed and happy.

But when you go into therapy, it turns out, you can uncover a lot of hidden pain that at the end is the reason your personality and choices are the way they are.

For me, spirituality and psychology have been a blend in my healing. They have both equally and substantially provided to my happiness quotient.

As Spirituality teaches us, we may not be responsible for what happens to us, but we alone are accountable for our healing.

So, the best thing that happened to me, was learning how to forgive each and every teacher, because they did teach me a lot, even if it wasn’t the kind of lessons my parents enrolled me for.

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Image courtesy : Pixabay, shutterstock

Gratitude : 8 Powerful Tips to Be More Thankful Everyday

Here are 8 simple techniques to live a life of more gratitude and joy. Practical ways to live a more thankful life on a daily basis.

I was first introduced to the idea of grateful living around 2014. I started following a YouTuber’s vlogs, in which she’d share about her journaling practices. Gratitude writing was one of them, and I started practicing it too.

It felt nice redirecting the mind to think of at least five unique things from my day that I was thankful for.

As I started doing this, I had to look for more and more unique ways to count my blessings. As a consequence, years into self-development, gratitude writing became a fundamental way of becoming a more optimistic person.

Even today, when I look back at those notebooks, I smile from ear to ear. Those were small but valuable moments which I would have forgotten about, had I not written about them. So not only did the practice help me in those moments, it left me something invaluable to look back at and be even more grateful for!

But why bother? And what is the point of gratitude? I hear you.

Ever since the 2000’s, the ‘gratitude’ philosophy has exploded. But what is grateful living? Is it even necessary? And how do you get your mind to appreciate the world, when sometimes it can feel like nothing is even going right?!

Gratitude is about having a positive psychology in a world where we’re constantly hustling. It’s about rewiring the mind to acknowledge ourselves, and those around us. It’s about taking out the time to see the good in things, even if at first that seems impossible.

As the saying goes, it’s all in your head. And philosophies, both ancient and modern confirm this.

The more you try it, the better you’ll become at it.

And when you feel better about your reality, you’ll love living more too. When you love living more, you give more to yourself, to others around you, and to your life. As a consequence, things become even better! It’s all an upward spiral of positivity, really.

But how do you put gratitude into practice? Let’s talk about it now.

How Can You Be More Grateful?

I want to share some practical and genuine tips with you, to talk you into living with more gratitude in everyday life. I hope they spark your creative side too!

Tip #1 – Start your day on a positive note.

When you set your feet on the ground, acknowledge the basics. And as you carry out your morning routine, keep counting everything as a blessing that’s been making your life better. Here are some examples to get you started.

I have a comfortable bed to sleep on (and an air conditioner/heater),
I sleep with food in my belly,
and I wake up to the opportunity to live another day
.

morning ritual, gratitude ideas

Tip#2 – Check-in with yourself during the day, especially in the moments you’re feeling crappy.

What are somethings that have been going RIGHT today?

Ask yourself that question and let your energy swing from anger or helplessness back to hope and happiness. The answer doesn’t have to be significant.

It could be something as simple as getting a cold glass of water on a hot summer day when you desperately needed it. Or receiving a compliment from somebody, which made you smile!

self care, self love, gratitude

If you haven’t already, try checking-in with yourself during a bath meditation.

Tip #3 – Identify the people and things that make your life easier, instead of harder.

We take a lot of things for granted, especially people. Start recognizing everything comfortable about your life, even in the situations that make you unhappy. Here are a few prompts to get you thinking.

Who made your day better today?
Does somebody drop you off at school/work everyday, to whom you forget to say thanks when you get out of the car? Or to wish ‘good morning’?
Do you have a steady internet connection that lets you talk to that long-distance partner or friend you’re pissed off at?

happy, grateful, people, relationship, love,

Tip #4 – Don’t be shy to tell people they make you happy!

Feeling gratitude in your heart is just the first step. If you want to experience the true ripple effect of thankfulness, you have to put it into deeper practice.

Find ways to appreciate and compliment people, genuinely.

Not only will this break barriers in the most unstable of relationships, it will help you see people for their goodness, not just everything that’s wrong with them.

photo of women hugging each other

Tip #5 – Write about it.

At the end of your day, take out 5 minutes and write yourself an email about the 5 highlights of your day.

email yourself a gratitude note every night

If you enjoy journalling or want to make this more intimate, this could actually make a great journal idea too. I’ve put together tons of prompts in my newsletter, which you can get access to as soon as you sign-up. It’s free!

Tip #6 – Return the favor.

Give other people the opportunity to feel your gratitude towards them, for what they did for you. But in your own style.

thank you signage, gratitude writing

Sometimes, a small, handwritten note can go a long way, or buying someone a coffee. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just heartfelt.

Lately, as a part of my art therapy practice, I’ve been painting thank you notes for strangers and acquaintances. You can try it out too!

Tip #7 – Be the change you want to see.

You might not be in an environment that promotes gratitude, but it doesn’t mean you can’t create it.

If it’s at work, be the person that always drops a mail to the whole team to acknowledge them for their hard work (no matter what level you are at).

At home, be the person that resolves tough situations at home by seeing the good in both parties.

Tip #8 – Change your vocabulary.

If you want to think gratitude, speak of it.

Start using words like “blessed” and “grateful” in your day to day conversations, and not just as an Instagram hashtag!

Social, Social Networks, Grateful Living, Conscious Living, Inspiration

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, gratitude is an attitude, and also a skill. It takes some retraining and inner reprogramming, but the more you practice it, the larger the ripple effect will be in your life.

Let me also take the opportunity to express my gratitude to you, for reading this and supporting my blog, in whatever capacity that you do. THANK YOU! 🙂

Pin for Pinterest:

gratitude 2020, pin for pinterest

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