Learning How To Say No Without Dread

Close-up. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.
Close-up. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.

“No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that. When we don’t want to do something we can simply smile and say no. We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”. Early on my journey I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it. My early attempts at saying no were often far from graceful but with practice even my no came from a place of love. Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.” ― Susan Gregg

Recently, I had an experience with saying ‘No’ that really made me happy. I had just come back from a trip to Las Vegas, where I had had lots of heavy foods that hadn’t made my body very happy. I was looking forward to a deep detox at home in Toronto, where I would eat only home-cooked meals. Of course, the universe is always testing my resolve. A friend of mine asked me to come out to dinner with him the day after I come back home.

I said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I have been eating out for the past 4 days. I’m looking forward to eating at home for the next few days.’ He cajoled me, and tried to convince me otherwise.

I hated saying no over and over again. It made me feel like a horrible human being. Continue reading

The Gap Between Who You Are And Who You Appear To Be

Purity. Serenity. Captured by Sona Dhawan.
Purity. Serenity. Captured by Sona Dhawan.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives. – Marianne Williamson.

Authenticity has become a big marketing ploy right now to entice millennials to buy things. If you are authentic to yourself, then you will buy this Mini Cooper or these Birkenstocks.

Authenticity has also started coming up in my conversations quite frequently. I had one with a friend just the other day. I was telling her about the Vision board that I had created and placed in my condo. My vision board (my dream board, my aspirations, my loves), is the center point; the focal point of my condo. It is the culmination of all I am, and all I want to be. I direct everyone new in my apartment to it, so they can see what I am about. Continue reading

Going From An Avid Meat-Eater To Vegetarianism

Green Vancouver. Photo Attributed to Sona Dhawan.
Green Vancouver. Photo Attributed to Sona Dhawan.

I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens. – Isaac Bashevis Singer

For the first 32 years of my life, I have been an avid meat-eater. I could not imagine a life without meat. I didn’t eat much red meat in general, but chicken was a staple of my diet. I had it at least 3 times a day if not more (in snacks and such). There was not a meal that didn’t have some kind of meat associated with it.

I had false excuses that permeated my thinking. They were two-fold:

  • I was low in iron, and I needed meat in order to supplement my diet (iron from meat is easier to digest and absorb than from vegetables, I read once).
  • In addition, I am a Vata personality type (Ayurvedic personalities), and they need heavy foods in order to ground their airy personalities (which is true for me).

I followed these two tenets, and thought to myself, I cannot be a vegetarian – it’s just not possible for me. Continue reading

Trusting Myself To Be An Adult (And Make Adult Decisions)

Sustenance. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.
Sustenance. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.

Adults are just outdated children. – Dr. Seuss

Recently, my wise sister gave me some great advice that I want to share with my beautiful readers.

It all started like this. I took the pillowcases off my pillows to wash them, and I realized that I have had these pillows forever. They are misshapen slabs now – they don’t even look like pillows anymore. At some point in the past, they were rectangular, but no more. It was time to replace them. Despite my emotional nature, where I get attached to inanimate objects (I kept a glass Voss bottle for 2.5 years before I broke it), I realized it was time to let these go, otherwise, it would start affecting my health.

I bought a couple of side-sleeper pillows for CAD 26.99 each. Not much you say. I agree. But like the weird person I am, I felt guilty. Did I really need pillows? There are people on the street sleeping on cardboard pieces. There are people in Syria running for their lives. Do I really want to spend CAD 60 on a pair of pillows. I felt shallow, and low, and guilt-ridden. Continue reading

Have You Ever Tried Suspension Yoga?

The view from the top, Whistler, BC.
The view from the top, Whistler, BC.

Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. – K. Pattabhi Jois

Recently, I went to a Suspension yoga class at Amber’s beautiful home studio, Float Suspension Yoga. It was a full moon night, Oct 27th, and I was already feeling the effects of it on my anxiety and restlessness level. I went into the studio without any expectations – I wanted to keep as much of an open mind as possible.

There were 7 of us including Amber, and Jill, studio partners. My friend Liz had joined us as well. The space is absolutely calming and beautiful with intricate furniture pieces that go really well together. I kept on wanting to ask Amber where she bought all of the different items that she used to decorate the space, so I could steal them for my condo. Continue reading

I Want Healing, But I Don’t Want The Pain

Gorgeous picture of Vancouver. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.
Gorgeous picture of Vancouver. Photo attributed to Sona Dhawan.

Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it. – Tori Amos

Recently, a person joined my company who’s done Ayahuasca ceremonies in the past with a Shaman up in Stoney Creek. The universe sends you what you need when you need it, even if you didn’t know you needed it. I have been meditating and doing yoga, but I feel like I want to go deeper into the experience. I am having a harder time going over to the next level. I started chatting with this person, and he is more than happy to take me on the next run up to Stoney Creek in December.

I started chatting with other people who had done the healing ceremonies, and started reading up online to see what it’s all about. A lot of what came up was about the pain that is usually revealed in these ceremonies. People start bawling their face off, and freaking out as emotions and other unwieldy things come up as they go deeper into the experience. Continue reading

Feeling The Lack Of Presence In My Body

One of my favourite books, Brene Brown.
One of my favourite books, Brene Brown.

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.
Rumi, The Essential Rumi

Recently, I traveled to Las Vegas for a conference that my company sent me to. The conference was absolutely amazing – I learned a lot of cutting edge stuff that I believe will propel me into a better future. But, being an INFJ, I absolutely despised Las Vegas. I’m sure it has some great points to it, and I am sure people who live here love it. But the loud and constant noises, the constant barrage of images and color, the flashiness, the garish nature of the city, all of it made me cringe, and want to retreat back into my shell. Continue reading