Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reality Bytes

A poem:

Box full of expectations
Waiting to be realized
Fluffy white dreams
Floating across minds
Box full of reality
Stark; black n white
Flat on the face
Back to the grind 
Life is what happens
Outside of the box 
See. Seek. Believe.
You’re the only one you’ve got



Monday, November 24, 2014

Today's the day to work your magic

Have a magical day

I close my eyes and think that I have found me
But then I feel mortality surround me
So I work my magic everyday
For everyday matters.


I Hope

8 ways to go from hopeless to hopeful

We’ve all been there. Swinging the seesaw of hope. We’ve experienced the highs of feeling full of anticipation, brimming with confidence, optimistic about the path ahead, encouraged to achieve in spite of adversities. After all; there’s hope!
And we’ve seen days (if not more) of feeling low and miserable, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, forlorn and lost, we despair; desperate we trust our fractured souls to any ray of hope!
Hope then is like the weave to the fabric of our existence. The quintessential thread that holds us together. Having hope is like taking your next breath; breathing. Without hope; would it be fair to say that we essentially lose motivation, direction or even the will to survive?
Wouldn’t it be ideal if we never had to struggle with the hope-less days and forever remain positively charged? Always be hope-full.
Spirituality, Faith in a Higher Power, Trust in yourself, Belief that everything happens for the best… these are a few of the likely answers and (to each heir own) rightly so. Hope then is intangible, it needs to be felt. It’s a feeling. And luckily a feeling can be evoked.
Like a song that makes you sentimental, an old perfume that makes you nostalgic or a photograph that brings forth happy memories.
So how do you evoke hope?
Here are some ways to do just that.

  • Ask yourself, "Are hope and possibilities through faith related things?”
If you answered "Yes," then focus on how to improve your possibilities and the faith to believe. What do you believe in and why? How can working on that make you stronger?
If your answer was "No," figure out the difference between the two – hope and possibilities. That may help you understand how to best use your faith to have hope and see possibilities.

  • Look at the people around you. You can learn plenty from them.
Observe those that are making progress toward their goals, are centered, happy and optimistic -- do they do possibility thinking?

  • Imagine waking up fresh every morning, truly feel hopeful. That is possibility thinking. Make time every day to imagine the day going well as you work to continue making progress toward possibilities. 
  • Get training or coaching/counseling. Sometimes this needs a sincere commitment towards change and can be time consuming. Stay determined to improve. 
  • Decide to take it as it comes... accept life events and work with them. Living in denial blocks hope. 
  • Take risks, make shifts in your lifestyle if that seems like the way to make progress. 
  • Redesign, rebuild -- a little at a time or start afresh, but don't you quit. 
  • Relax and be refreshed; meditate/pray and find time for recreation to be able to keep going forward.
Most importantly; pause long enough to realize you probably already possess a seed of hope -- even if you don't realize it! You either feel hope – less or hope- full. Regardless of both eventualities; hope exists.

Look within – hope only needs to be evoked.

Notes from my desk:

Hope has been recognized as an important and central element of healing, and has been known by many other names, including optimism, the placebo effect, self-efficacy, and positive expectancies. A life coach inspires hope during treatment and change. Often equated with the particular promise of a cure, hope is better understood in its broader meanings that involve will, way, wish, action, and horizon. This richer and deeper context of hope is a vital perspective for the therapist. Helping clients to find and realize their sources of hope can be a process of waiting together for a clearer vision to emerge. It is important to remember that the task is not one of installing hope as much as evoking it, calling it forth from the client's own resources. In this sense, hope is not given as much as it is found. What therapists can give their clients is, at most, a lens or mirror through which their own vision is clarified.

Contact Tasneem Kagalwalla for more information on how Life Coaching works best for you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Validate me.

Are my feelings ok?

The dictionary defines val·i·date as:
  • Check or prove the validity or accuracy of (something).
  • Demonstrate or support the truth or value of.
  • Make or declare legally valid.

The word, valid, immediately reminds you of a driver’s license, passport, college ID or at the most a gift card from your favorite store.
How many of you straightaway thought… you, me or our relationships?
When we think of what we can do to nurture our relationships, we often think of tangibles. Allow a free dinner for the office team, have the florist send a bouquet off on your mother’s birthday, buy a new toy for your kid or buy your significant other a new perfume. While all of these things certainly won't hurt your relationships, they aren't necessarily the strongest ways to connect with the ones who are important to you.
How often have you witnessed the death of a relationship simply because in the equation of two, one did not feel valid-ated.

  •  A mother who surrenders to the stillness around her. Her children, all grown up no longer talk to her as much as they did. Life goes on but with very little rapport, she now questions her existence.
  •  That school friend who saved a seat for you at every lunch break, hung around behind you as you chattered along endlessly in college corridors, who for many years after wrote you, called you, emailed you until she disappeared without a trace.
  • Or that ex-special friend who you never ‘officially’ dated, who silently stood in your shadows, always available when you needed him/her, never questioned you, your intentions or your reasons why. Today you only remain a memory s/he’d prefer to forget.
Validation. What is it then?
It’s getting feedback from others that what I do and what I say matters to you…. I matter to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.
Validation is one way that we communicate acceptance of (ourselves and) others. Validation doesn't mean agreeing or approving. When your best friend or a family member makes a decision that you really don't think is wise, validation is a way of supporting them and strengthening the relationship even if you disagree on issues or hold a different opinion. Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person's thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable.
Do we always need to receive validation from others? Or can we give it to ourselves?
In fact, you need to give it to yourself. When you recognize your good qualities/behaviors, praise yourself for your accomplishments (just don’t go overboard with it).
Indeed, if you don’t praise yourself, you’ll have a tendency to question the validation you receive from others: “Oh, he’s just saying that; she doesn’t really mean it.” Or you may end up being so hungry for validation that others may perceive you as excessively needy: “If I don’t notice every little thing s/he does, s/he’s on my case.”
One of the ways to understand why we need to be validated requires us to look at how often our feelings get ridiculed. We believe from an early age that strength means not crying, bravery means not feeling fear, and maturity means not getting angry.
Showing strong emotion tends to make people around you uncomfortable. Usually, they will attempt to stop you as quickly as possible. They may try to convince you that your feelings are inappropriate. Or they may try to reassure you. Though their intent maybe to help you feel better, often the impact of their message is that it's not okay to feel what you’re feeling.
Essentially then we yearn for acceptance of our feelings.
In daily lives as well, whatever else someone may be saying when they express themselves, they are probably also implicitly asking, "Are my feelings okay?"
So m/take the time to connect with your parent/s today, trace down that friend and have a heart to heart and let that ex- special friend know that you recall and realize. Do thank them all.
Validation then, answers this indirectly asked question, "Are my feelings okay?", and provides satisfaction for a profound, though often unconscious need of every individual.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do you believe a Life Coach or Therapist will fix you?

Life Coaching/Therapy Myth # 2

You are driving down the highway and all of a sudden your car stalls and swerves. You struggle to keep control and just about manage to get the car to come to a grinding halt. Yikes! Something is wrong with your car.

What’s next? When there is a problem with your car, you take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. You take it to an expert.
What about when you are feeling unwell? You go to the experts; therapists. But you are not a car and you cannot be fixed.
For therapy to work, you need to be an active participant, bringing your expertise about what life is like for you. The best solutions and insights will come from you, with the therapist acting more like a skilled and knowledgeable facilitator, guiding the process. Therapists do not fix you and they do not tell you what to do, how to walk, talk, think, and feel. And thank heavens for that! Can you imagine being dependent on a therapist to tell you how to live?
MYTH: Therapists are experts. They will fix me.

FACT: If only this were true! A qualified therapist is there to guide you through your challenges and therapy is an experience where you can feel relieved that you are not alone with your problems, there is a qualified and proficient individual who is there to guide and direct you to success.
Working with a therapist can be compared to working with a physical trainer. Although a trainer can provide an inspirational structure for change, helping the client to identify specific goals and suggest a regime to achieve them, it is always up to the client to make use of the tools provided.
Therapy can be similarly overwhelming at first. Initially you may not even notice the results. You wonder when you will see the new changed you. It is common to feel a bit worse before you feel better, but if you stick with the process, let go of old habits, and rework some perceptions, soon enough you have your mind and body functioning better than ever.
Therapy does require you to work and does not always provide an immediate sense of relief. You may confront feelings, thoughts, memories or personal insights that are uncomfortable, even painful. These experiences result in you wanting to make changes in your beliefs, values, habits or behaviours that may make you uncomfortable at first.  Yet with time and effort they will result in a happier healthier you.
In that sense therapy is a lot of hard work—a process more akin to going to the gym than going to the spa.
Ultimately the responsibility for change rests with you. The therapist will not provide you with a psychological blueprint of who you are. The therapist’s role is to provide a safe and comfortable environment along with a trusting relationship where questions can be addressed. Therapists will not often give advice, but rather, help you to understand the conflicts within you that make it difficult for you to make your own decisions. Of course there are a-ha moments and revelations during sessions, but for change to really happen and last, the majority of the work happens between (and after) sessions. With your therapist’s help, you work towards your goals, decide on a plan for growth and change, and then practice the new behaviors not only during the sessions but most importantly out in the real world.
In the long run, the goals of therapy are for people to develop more awareness, gain more self-insight, and make the most of their strengths and abilities thereby creating a new compelling future ahead.
People like:

• Taasha made the big move – quit her job and relocated across continents to move forward with the relationship of her dreams.
• Sarah is using the tools and techniques that she learned to close deals in her new Sales Manager role.
• Neil left a successful career with the aviation industry to follow his passion and is now a successful fashion photographer.
You could be next!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Do you believe seeing a Life Coach or Therapist means you are weak?

Life Coaching/Therapy Myth #1

My journey in the world of self-improvement and therapy began years ago purely based on necessity. It is common for life coaches and therapists to have started out for themselves. It was true for me too.

I didn’t stumble upon it. Eager friends did not introduce it to me over a breezy afternoon. There was no bolt of lightning that struck me in a dream and told me this is what I was meant to do. No!
For me, it was not a magical initiation.
I was going through a rough patch in my life. It was as if I had lost control of how I chose to live. I was remote-controlled by my circumstances, feeling lonely, low, and lost in the maze of life.
Mental health challenges affect millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, misconceptions about therapy not only discourage people from seeking help but also contribute to the stigma surrounding these issues. Many people have a perception of what therapy is that does not quite match up to reality.
What is therapy to you? Is it lying on a couch with a box of issues and paying top dollars to talk to someone who does not seem to quite get it? Or more like a reality TV show where you are openly and publicly blamed and shamed, as you are confronted? If so, please think again. Therapy is not that.

In a myth-busting series to share facts and raise awareness, we will address some of the most common ones. The truth will set you free.
Myth 1# Therapy means I am weak, less of a man/woman, mentally ill or crazy.
Asking for help is not a weakness.
Think of these other scenarios. Are people “weak” when they pay for tuition classes to improve academically? What about when they are sick, maybe with a cough of a cold? Are they weak to see the GP? It is not a weakness to recognize that certain areas of our well-being are less than and we need professional help.
Researchers continue to find new links emphasizing the value of taking equal, if not more, care of mental health to ensure good physical health. This is often referred to as the mind-body health connection.
Emotional challenges can show up as physical symptoms. When we are physically unwell over prolonged periods of time, we may also develop emotional issues. Sadly, having emotional or cognitive concerns is often seen as a moral failing or character flaw.
Men are especially stereotyped, making it harder for them to seek help. Men don’t cry. Men don’t talk about feelings. Men need to have it all figured out.
Seeking help for your problems means you are taking action and being responsible. It is gender-neutral. Asking for help requires more courage than remaining passively stuck. Getting help is actually a sign of resourcefulness and strength.
Many people who seek therapy are “normal” people, people like you and me, suffering from very “normal” everyday life stressors. We all face difficult times, anxiety, and even depression at some point or another. People go to therapy to cope with school, careers, relationships, disorders, stress, and grief or just to figure out who they are and learn to live the life they desire, to live life to the fullest. Sometimes people see therapists to seek an outside perspective of a difficult situation.
Consider this – if therapy did not help better lives significantly, why would top athletes, successful executives, and celebrities have coaches, mentors, and other such professionals? Bottom line is that there is no shame in wanting a better life.
So one day, there I was, reluctantly attending a family get-together. As everyone enthusiastically smiled for the camera, I barely managed a feeble smile. A week later, when a copy of the group photo was mailed to us, I sat there looking at the person in the picture. I was stunned. Is that really me? I could not recognize who I had become. It was then that a small voice in my head said, “You are everything you choose to be.”
I chose that day to salvage myself and reclaim my life. And I did! I learned and tried every new theory, therapy, and home remedy suggested to me. Committed to the journey of self-discovery and improvement, I left no stone unturned. Today, I am here simply asking you this – are you everything you choose to be?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

(Not) Just a Housewife

The Domesticated Truth

I am just a housewife, no big deal

I cook breakfast, lunch, dinner

And all in-between meals.

In the family; all are a priority

Health is important

And loves a guarantee.

I am there to comfort; 

I listen to woes 

I often am a referee

I settle all the rows.

I am someone’s daughter; today a daughter in law.

I take care of both parents.

Keep his happy, mine in awe.

I have my moods but no time to show.

I even keep smiling,

When I am feeling low.

I am house proud; neatness is a must.

My days are spent cleaning,

And keeping out the dust.

I heal too; wounds of all kinds.

Real fears of my husband.

And many worries of young minds. 

I am a hostess on call, ready to entertain.

Tea, coffee and snacks.

Even on days of a migraine.

I'm also a teacher; guiding from right and wrong.

My children learning.

Lessons to last lifelong.

My husband works hard, I keep him going.

I steer the boat.

And he does the rowing.

I manage the finances, save as much as I can.

Lest we need it someday.

For our kin and clan.

I am always everywhere; I multi task.

I can answer any question.

That you may ask.

All this for free; all my life.

And still you say;

I’m just a housewife.


Salute and Respect to all Housewives

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The big bad F word

Overcoming Fear:

We’ve all been there. Done that. Sometime or the other. Been paralyzed with fear. Felt frozen on the spot. Got into a panic, broken into a sweat. Felt anxious, petrified or even literally trembled with fear. 

Fear has victimized and continues to devour most of us across many situations of life.

Some fear heights, while others are afraid to take the next step. Some fear closed spaces others feel terrified when faced with a crowd. Some fear death and yet others fear life itself. 

In relationships, in business, at work, with friends, adapting to big changes, attempting to finish what we started or when having to start all over again…Fear of failure or fear of the unknown persists. 

Fear often attacks like a vicious thief wanting to imprison our rationale and ability to act with courage.

So what is the antidote to fear? 

Here it is. My personal tried and tested remedy. A secret passed down generations and guaranteed to work.

Face your Fears.

Okayyyy, I agree. That’s no breaking news. We all know that. 

I searched ‘how to overcome fear ‘and about 60,400,000 results came up which mostly talked of facing your fear, taking ownership, acting on it in order to overcome. Very few ‘tangibly’ addressed how to get there. 

How to actually get to a stage where you feel BRAVE enough to face your fears?

Brave! If you really think about it, we’ve all been there too. 

In school, at college, getting out of a bad relationship/marriage, facing a medical issue/disease, at childbirth, avoiding accidents, when dealing with a death of a loved one, at work, when standing up for yourself or another or even when killing a cockroach/spider; if you look back there will be at least one moment in life when you would have demonstrated bravery or felt brave. 

Voila! There’s the antidote then! 

So in order to act fearlessly if we only recognize and repeat our ‘Brave Strategy’, we can have the perfect alibi, each time we are faced with crippling fear.

How? Here’s how. Let me give you an example.

1. Ask:

Can you recall a time when you were totally brave? 

Umm… Yeah! Sky diving, I think that was a brave thing to do; friends too complimented me on how brave I was to jump off a plane.

2. Ask: 

Can you remember a specific time? 

Yes, that was May 29th 2012

3. Ask: 

As you go back to that time now, what was the very first thing that caused you to be totally brave?

Was it something you saw (or the way someone looked at you?)
Was it something you heard (or someone’s tone of voice?)
Was it the touch of someone or something?

Well, I saw a friend’s sky diving video and was inspired.

4. Ask: 

After you (saw, heard, felt) that, what was the very next thing that happened as you were totally brave?

Did you picture something in your mind?
Say something to yourself, or
Have a certain feeling or emotion?

Yes, I said to myself, “I wanna do this!”

5. And you keep repeating question 4 until you or the person you’re asking says something like, “That’s it, I just did it then!”

So in a nutshell here’s my “Brave Strategy”

Events that led to being totally brave


I saw a friends video

Seek inspiration

I said to myself, I wanna do this!

Voice desire with an empowering statement

I researched the net for risks involved, cost, best weather days, reliable people in the business, etc.

Spend time to research and/or evaluate

I zeroed in on a day, date, vendor and venue

Decide on an action plan

Asked my husband to come along for support and motivation

Rely on family/friends

Practiced with the instructor till I felt fairly confident

Practice; Practice; Practice

When I was just about to jump, I did not think of past fatalities or what will happen if I fall/fail. I just did it.

Focus and act in the moment

And there it is, my ‘Brave Strategy.’ 

Now I just use this same strategy across various circumstances. At times the situation may demand a more detailed action plan and less research and at other times the equation may change. Sometimes it may require that I innovate, for e.g. I don’t think women would get an opportunity to practice childbirth, especially with the first born. So you replace it with something that empowers you in that moment. Effortlessly visualizing it in your mind maybe or prayer perhaps?

Bottom line, you are way stronger than you think. And fate does love the fearless. So act with courage. 

Now my question to you, my dear friend is —  What is your ‘Brave Strategy’?

Therein lies the answer to your fears.

*Based on a NLP technique; Strategy Elicitation

** Thank you +Meshack Ali Radebe for inspiring me to write this post.   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The day a *Bollywood celebrity snubbed me.

2 Lessons Learned

Okay so this individual is an acclaimed celebrity and I admire his ability to be versatile and oh so uber-cool in whatever he does. Aha! So now you know it’s a ‘him.’ And that my friends, is no accident. Having to be gender neutral throughout this post would have been too cumbersome a task to take on.
Having said that about the present I’d like to dive straight into the past…

…My college years were full of memories. Coming from a highly grounded and honorably traditional family, the world outside of those realms was all brand new - more diverse and quite overwhelming. Typical of an impressionable youngster, I did all I could to fit in…. was a member of most college frats, hung out in the canteen, acquired a new wardrobe, attended and bunked classes, made new friends and went to socials and parties. Along the way though the line between ‘who I was’ with some and ‘who I was trying to be’ with some others gradually faded. Whilst I stretched myself to cope with all kinds of peer pressure as well as excel in academics, the internal struggle led to a few wrong choices which proved to be big learning lessons in later years. All in all, the metamorphosis of those influential (trial and error) years triumphed into greater self-awareness and a more perceptive understanding of others around me.
During this time I had a group of friends with whom I hung out often. ‘He’ was an integral part of that group and as such a good friend.

Many years later, I was on a call once with somebody who happened to be sitting with this yesteryear friend of mine. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to talk to him after so many years.
Here’s what transpired:

Me: Hiiiiiii!  (Super excited)
Him: Hello (In an indifferent voice)
Me: Sooooo; how are YOU? (Completely in a  bum-chum pal moment)
Him: Good. (Unenthusiastic monosyllable responses)
Me: You remember me, right? (Just not getting his drift; Duh!)
Him: Yes, I do. (Wish I didn’t voice)
Me: How’s life, it’s been ions (Still totally swimming in the past)
Him: Uhuh (Me: Uhuh???! That’s all you can manage to say! Finally…. Not a light bulb but a full on tube light moment right there!)
Me: Great then, good talking to you. (Good?! Seriously did you just say good?! Which part?! The part where you felt dumb and stupid or that part where you felt even more dumb and stupid?)
Him: Uhuh; Bye.
Me: Bye (Whatever…like it really even matters)

Now at first I was surprised, the sad kind of surprised. Why would he? How could he? I was a friend, not his BFF but hey; we were good friends. I felt bad. I relentlessly tried to analyze the situation… Is it his celebrity status and fame which brings on that attitude? Has he unfairly judged me?  Or perhaps all these years led to a ‘disconnect’. Or was our ‘connect’ back then just a fa├žade? And then again I thought; his reasons could be entirely different. It could be that he was having a bad day; perhaps he was feeling unwell or maybe he was just preoccupied with his own stuff.
Obsessing over the ‘why’ of ‘what’ just happened had me feeling rather restless. Until I reckoned whatever his reasons this small little incident taught me two things:

Over-analyzing is unhealthy:  Stop it. Over analyzing (or over-thinking) is a stress disorder that can affect your daily life. Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

‘Over’ being the key word. Analyze by all means, understand the situation, learn from it, take any required action and then most importantly - Let it go.

How others act is out of your control. Essentially not something to delve upon. How you react is entirely in your control and important to bear in mind at all times.
**Forgiving yourself is healthy:  Do it. What analyzing did for me was it made me pay attention to aspects of my past that my subconscious was resurfacing as a result of this incident. Staring at me were leftovers of guilt and remnant regret from past actions. I reflected, addressed them and took corrective action. What could I do today to rid me of this past guilt? What could I learn from this regret? These were some of the questions I asked myself in order to heal my soul.

Pay attention to what is reemerging.  Year after year we unconsciously carry our past baggage into the future. Perhaps we believe there is a price, some dis-empowering form of life-long penance that we must pay. There is a tendency in all of us to hold ourselves more accountable than we do others. If someone else did the same things, you might learn to forgive them or at least let go of the hurt, anger or guilt. That's because it's easier to forgive others. After all, they don't live in your head. Yet, most of us born to this earth have not lived or died without messing up something or, in some cases, ourselves. Mistakes are natural. Therefore please forgive yourself. Not because you should, but because you can.

In conclusion folks; I’d just like to say;
You do not have to suffer from guilt or regret. You can stop beating yourself up, it is not serving you. Instead learn, take action, forgive and stop looking behind you. Turn around. See what is right in front of you, and better yet, what lies ahead.

Note: Name withheld out of sheer nostalgia. He was a dear friend and for all its worth, I’d like to remember him fondly for what once was. :)
*Bollywood: Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai, India.

** It is your prerogative to heal in a way best suited to your beliefs and values. Some ask for forgiveness from God others practice charity. Whatever you resonate with works.