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Thank You 2017, and, Goodbye

Has it been one year already?

The 2016 goodbye post seemed so far, far away. And with a new year coming in less than 24 hours, I feel unprepared for it.

Maybe because I have not written about my 2017.

That day in my mind spa session, I asked Mr Ng how to close the year. I felt like I was in the slur or the flurry of it all. Maybe because there were too many events, emotions ran high and I haven’t had the time to process those bits.
And being the teacher he is, he suggested looking back to recognize and acknowledge the gains and the harvests the year 2017 has brought.
“Even if there were lows, unhappiness, challenges, I see you have many fruitful gains.”
What did I do?
It all seemed so far away now. But let me try ——— counting my blessings in the tiniest way. And I want to number them too.
  1. I tried and became a salesman. It was something I never thought of, dreamt of. But I became one. Was it tough? Maybe not, was it horrible? Not as bad as I thought.
  2. I tried my hand at negotiating business deals.
  3. I learned how to write proposals.
  4. I learnt to make money in another way I was not accustomed to. And that brought lots of lessons to me, its about opening up horizons and expanding boundaries. Just this alone brought me many, one of which was to learn about humility. Its also about doing business in a upfront honest way. Its knowing your own strengths and using it too to the benefit of others.
  5. Now that I m writing about it, I understand how I have been—-I used to only think of the art the emotions and that’s all too easy. Like team mates who must have thought why I have derided, why have I drifted, I think I can safely say no. It’s not that I have drifted or crossed over to the dark side and swopped figures for art, but it’s all too easy— in fact too empty to talk about art when dollars and cents are not in the picture. Nothing moves.
  6. I understand about balance more. I think with that in mind, I can do my art better.
  7. And now, I understand why the Universe sent me this lesson. It was to let me appreciate that at the basic level and for things to work, art surely isn’t it. At least, its not the only way. It was to let me appreciate how dollars and cents could move the world. And how I could put my art in there.
  8. I brought in people and tried to build a team. There were lots of unhappiness I would say but I dealt with it to the best of my ability. Still, there are regrets. But Mr Ng suggested:”if you compare yourself to other bosses, how do you think you fare?much better than many of them right?” YES.
  9. I tried to help a colleague, in fact more than one— see the light.
  10. I have never used my stature as a boss to boss people around, in fact, I shared my experiences with them as a senior would, and I think that is my way or my style as a leader. I have always sought out the middle path and to strike out my own style, I m still on my way. But I can say, good try TPY!
  11. I did not bow down to unfair treatment.
  12. I learnt to speak up—- for myself and my teammates when needed.
  13. I had the chance to fly to shanghai for work, meet with top class producers and discuss my ideas, and these ideas touched people. I still am creative.
  14. And all these helped me assert my authority. I think the lesson to learn is to acknowledge the authority in me. It’s not about pleasing anyone. But to do what is needed and what’s right in the workplace.
  15. I had a chance to visit Hokkaido, made new friends, go to the root of the food chain and see for myself how things are done. In short, find out truth.
  16. I saw how the salmon swam upstream!
  17. I had a chance to take Hui gor tin Davina to Bangkok!
  18. I had a chance to bring the kids to a resort holiday in Phuket .
  19. I had a chance to bring the kids for staycations!
  20. I slept with my kids!
  21. I read to my kids!
  22. I had a chance to bring my family to Japan , especially gor gor and dad.
  23. We saw Mt Fuji!!!
  24. I had the chance to see the Dalai Lama in person!!!
  25. I met Khadro lah !!!!!!!
  26. I met Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche again!!!
  27. I had the chance to visit Tso Pema!!!!!!! Guru Rinpoche’s sacred place! And had my footprint and handprint on his!!!!!!!!
  28. I had the chance to fly business class back from India!
  29. I had so so so many wonderful meetings with extraordinary people—-like the King of Knives! Like the chefs!
  30. I had opportunities to do videos!
  31. I saw Mr Robuchon again and Alain Ducasse.
  32. I get a chance to realign my teeth.
  33. I did a dental implant on my own.
  34. I visited ah ma in hospital and at home.
  35. I tried to help my cousin who had skin problems.
  36. I had the chance to better myself and understand my keloids my body better because of the essential oil journeys, so much facilitated by Juan, John and Peyjin.
  37. I found a lot of grounding ease with essential oils.
  38. I got my kids into EOs and used natural healing methods on them.
  39. I got closer to eating vegetarian.
  40. I had wonderful produce nice chocolates, good food.
  41. I persevered and cooked everyday for my kids on weekdays lunch and dinner.
  42. Above all, I could breathe, I could eat and drink, sleep and do things that matter to me.
  43. I m still me, I remained me.

If 2016 has been a taste or teaching of alignment, grounding, life purpose, 2017 was a step further in these lessons, as situations , people, things, threw me in all directions and tested my resolve and my footing in each of the above.

I didn’t think I faltered even if there were challenging times.

I am still me.

In the new 2018 that has just birthed, I would like to:

  1. spend more time with my family, my kids, my husband
  2. spend more time with myself
  3. be more healthy
  4. heal my keloids
  5. sleep earlier
  6. do less work
  7. do more holidays with my precious ones!
  8. do 5 min of practice a day
  9. learn to be still , to be quiet
  10. get more creative, intuitive,
  11. be more in touch with myself
  12. do videos that make a difference, write or say things that would inspire, hence express my light and that of others, and be the magic to people around me.
  13. work on a tv programme!
  14. keep that wonder, that purity in me.
  15. 我想学习过得自在一点,老师说,生活其实不需要那么辛苦的,只是,很多的约定俗成和旧有模式,让我们疲惫疲累。其实,生活是可以很轻松的。我想学!

May the universe and my guardian angels support me, guide me, bless me, be with me always.

May the new beginning bring forth lots of light and clarity. Let there be true vision, stability, strength. May you find the quiet, peacefulness and freedom you need and may you find beauty, wonder and magic in the moments in between.

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The Voice of every working woman

“Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way”

It’s no easy feat juggling the roles of a parent and professional. And ICICI Bank’s CEO Chanda Kochhar is the perfect example of a woman who does both facets of her life justice.

Now included in Sudha Menon’s book Legacy: Letters from eminent parents to their daughters, Kochhar’s note to her daughter Aarti Kochhar has been doing rounds on the internet not just because it shares the surprisingly simple secrets to a successful and happy life, but also because it’s going to be the most inspiring thing you read today.

Dear Aarti,

It makes me feel so proud today to see you standing in front of me as a confident young woman right on the threshold of an exciting journey through life. I am looking forward to seeing you grow and flourish in the years ahead.

This moment has also brought back memories of my own journey, and the life lessons I learnt along the way. When I think of those times, I realize that most of these lessons were actually learnt in my childhood, mostly through examples set by my parents. The values that they instilled in my formative years gave me the foundation on which I try to live my life even today.

Our parents treated all three of us – two sisters and a brother – equally. When it came to education, or our future plans, there was no discrimination between us based on our gender. Your grandparents always had the same message for the three of us – that it was important to focus on what gave us satisfaction and to work towards it with utmost dedication. That early initiation enabled us to develop into confident individuals capable of taking decisions independently. This also helped me when I started out on my own journey of self- discovery.

I was only a young girl of 13 when my father passed away from a sudden heart attack, leaving us unprepared to take on life without him. We had been protected from life’s challenges so far. But without warning, all that changed overnight. And my mother, who had been a homemaker till then, faced the responsibility of raising three children all on her own. It was then that we realized how strong she was and how determined to do her duty in the best possible manner. Slowly, she discovered a flair for designing and textiles, found herself a job with a small firm, and quickly made herself indispensable to them. It must have been challenging for her to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up her family single-handed, but she never let us feel like it was a task for her. She worked hard till she saw all of us through college and we became independent. I never knew that my mother had such a wealth of self-assurance and belief within her.

As a parent with a full time job, one must not let work affect the way you relate to your family. Remember the time you were studying in the US and the announcement of my becoming MD and CEO of ICICI was splashed across all newspapers? I remember the mail you wrote to me a couple of days later. ‘You never made us realize that you had such a demanding, successful and stressful career. At home, you were just our mother,’ you wrote in your email. Live your life in the same way, my darling.

I also learnt from my mother that it is very important to have the ability to handle difficult situations and keep moving forward in life, no matter what. Even today I can remember the equanimity and calmness with which she handled the crisis on hand when my father passed away. You have to handle the challenges and emerge stronger from them, rather than allow them to bog you down. I remember how, in late 2008, we were faced with a situation where ICICI Bank’s survival was in jeopardy in the face of a global economic meltdown. The situation was being analysed with a hawk’s eye by major media platforms and debated widely in the public space… I got down to work, systematically communicating with all stakeholders – from the smallest depositor to the sophisticated investors, and from regulators to the government – the bank was sound and its exposure to these institutions involved a small portion of its assets.

I understood their concern because so many of them feared that their hard earned savings in our bank could be at risk. I also advised staff across the bank’s various branches to lend a sympathetic ear to those depositors who turned up to withdraw their money, telling them to also offer the depositors a seat and a glass of water while they waited. And though, depositors were welcome to withdraw their money if they wanted to, our staff also took care to explain to them that it would not help them to take their money away, because there was no real crisis situation.

It was during this period that I took a couple of hours off one day to attend your brother’s squash tournament. I did not know it then, but my very presence at the tournament went a long way in reinstalling customer confidence in the bank. A few mothers at the tournament came and asked me if I was Chanda Kochhar from ICICI Bank and when I replied in the affirmative they said that if I could still find time to attend a tournament in the midst of a crisis, it meant that the bank was in safe hands and they need not worry about their money!

It was also from my mother that I learnt the importance of adapting to circumstances and not being afraid of the unknown. While working hard for my career, I looked after my family, and have been there for my mother and in-laws when they needed me around. They reciprocated in kind with their unconditional love and support for my career. Remember that relationships are important and have to be nurtured and cherished. Also keep in mind that a relationship is a two way street, so be ready to give a relationship just as you would expect the other person to be giving to you.

My career would not have progressed the way it did were it not for your father who never once complained about the time I spent away from home. Your father and I nurtured our relationship despite the fact that we were both busy with our own careers, and I am confident you will do the same with your partner, when the time comes. If you had complained and whined about my extended absence from home, I would never have had the heart to make a career for myself. I am blessed with a great and supportive family and I really hope you too will be as fortunate when you set out on your own!

I remember the day your board exams were about to commence. I had taken leave from work so that I could take you to the examination hall myself. When you realized I was coming, you told me how you were used to going for your exams alone for so many years. It hurt me to hear you say that, but I also think in some ways, having a working mother made you much more independent from a very young age itself. You not only became independent, but also stepped into the nurturer’s role for your younger brother and never let him miss my presence. I learnt to have trust and faith in you and you have now grown into a wonderful, independent woman. I now use the same principle at work to make our growing population of younger talent take on larger responsibilities.

I believe in fate but I also believe that hard work and diligence plays a very important role in our lives. In a larger sense, we all write our own destiny. Take destiny in your own hands, dream of what you want to achieve, and write it in your own way. As you go ahead in life, I want you to climb the path to success one step at a time. Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.

As you go forward, you will sometimes have to take difficult decisions, decisions that others might scorn at. But you must have the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Make sure you have that conviction to do what you know is right, and once you have it, don’t let skeptics distract you from your path.

Aarti, there is no limit to what a determined mind can achieve, but in achieving your goal, don’t compromise on the values of fair play and honesty. Don’t cut corners or compromise to achieve your dreams. Remember to be sensitive to the feelings of people around you. And remember, if you don’t allow stress to overtake you, it will never become an issue in your life.

Remember that good times and bad times will be part of your life equally, and you have to learn to handle both with equanimity. Make the most of life’s opportunities and learn from every opportunity, and challenge that life brings along.

Lovingly yours, Mumma

Chanda Kochhar’s letter to her daughter is a must-read for women everywhere

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Promise

Promises are such things.

That if keep them, they would b such energizing things.

Like bf said he would juice for me last night. And I went to the kitchen this morning and saw a little mess made out of juicing, only to discover this vibrant red of organic beetroot, Apple and carrot, which when I sipped, had a warm gingery emotion that I liked.

  

He kept his promise. That made me very happy. Extremely happy. 

I like people who keep their promises.

And I can understand how wretched one was to be if promises are broken.

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To read in the morning and at night

Morgens und abends zu lesen

Der, den ich liebe

Hat mir gesagt

Da er mich braucht.

Darum

Gebe ich auf mich acht

Sehe auf meinen Weg und

Fürchte von jedem Regentropfen

Da er mich erschlagen könnte.

To read in the morning and at night

My love

Has told me

That he needs me.

That’s why

I take good care of myself

Watch out where I’m going and

Fear that any drop of rain

Might kill me.

Bertolt Brecht