Find the light
On the brightest of days when you’re basking in the sun
And through your toughest moments when you’re thrust into a void;
During days filled with laughter that were spent amongst friends
And the lonely nights that keep you awake.
Find that light!
Choose the light
That guides you home while driving at night through a deserted road
And the one that lights up your path while walking alone;
That lights up your home on holidays when family and friends are around
And the only light that shines in your dimly lit room when you’re alone.
Choose that light!
Be the light
That engulfs you with warmth when you’re out in the cold
And the kind which burns you if you touch it too soon;
The fire that burns inside you and illuminates your whole body
And the one that diminishes the darkness in other people’s lives.
Be that light!
- Ashwini Manjrekar
Copyright © All Rights Reserved.
I stood at the beach, close enough that I could look down and see the empty shells in the crystal clear water yet far enough that my shoes didn’t get wet. I stood there a few feet away from everyone else with my back turned against the world, just staring deep into the abyss, breathing in the crisp fall air and watching the colorful reflection of the maple trees in the still water. The sun and the sky, the trees and their fallen leaves, the beach and the broken shells, it was all there right in front of me.
This was my last fall foliage trip since just in a few days, it was going to be past-peak for the autumn in Vermont. Throughout our entire journey, I was trying to find a maple tree with the perfect red leaves to capture. I was looking for a red maple leaf without any holes or dirt marks. However, the moment I set my eyes on the crystal clear water, I saw this one rogue red maple leaf right in front of me. It was nowhere close to what I was originally hoping to capture.
However, its worn, tattered texture stood out amidst all the pebbles. And while I stood there pondering over, it just struck me! Doesn’t this leaf symbolize what fall is all about? It teaches you about change. Just like how the lush green leaves change into different colors and shades, in our life too, we go through numerous changes, wanted and unwanted, both. But what we can do is adapt to the change. It felt like the leaf was conveying nature’s message to me that everything doesn’t have to to be perfect all the time, even your life. Sometimes, all you gotta do is take what you’ve got right now and still manage to find the beauty in what lies in front of you. Because in a week, all the perfect and the not-so-perfect leaves, they all were gonna fall from the trees and wither away.
So, here it is – my version of the perfect fall leaf. 🍁
‘Tis the holiday season here in the US! There used to be a time when friends and families gathered together filling their homes with laughter and bellies with food. But this year’s Thanksgiving has definitely been different for everyone. With the changing restrictions and lockdowns in place, people are stranded thousands of miles away from their families in their tiny apartments. None of us asked for this change in tradition. But what we can do is try to carry on the spirit of Thanksgiving wherever we are and in our own ways!
It’s really easy to let your thoughts spiral into a frenzy when you begin to think about all your problems. But rather, let’s be thankful for having a roof over our heads, being able to eat good food and being surrounded with people who will uplift you no matter how far they are. In the first half of the year, I was really sulking about all my canceled travel plans. However, when I look back, I’m still thankful for the short road trips I was able to make while keeping myself safe out there.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the things that are still carrying on their traditions! The days with clear skies and sometimes even the cloudy ones. The sunlight that enters your room in the morning and the beautiful sunsets. Those star-studded skies at night and the campfires that kept you warm. The home cooked feasts and the ice-cream sundaes you had for dinner. Being able to sit and talk with your roommates and being able to hear you loved ones’ voice. And last but not the least, each breath that reminds you how alive you are!
What you are experiencing right now may seem crazy and out of control. And it’s okay to feel a little lost. But don’t forget to count your blessings and be thankful for everything that you do have.
Happy holidays! Love and light. 💖
PS: This picture was taken on my last flight, when I was flying back to New York from Texas in Feb, 2020. How I miss flying! But safety over everything.
I took this picture after I had walked on the other side of the road. When I turned back for a swift second, I saw an old lady park her car on the curbside to capture this beautiful view. While looking at her, I thought to myself, isn’t that how we all should learn to appreciate life? To work hard on our dreams and goals, but also learn to stop for a while and just stare at the view, acknowledging where we are right now. To not forget about how peaceful even the small things in our life could be, if we just give them a try. This lady must’ve possibly seen hundreds of sunsets in her whole life and yet, the simple beauty of today’s sunset made her stop the car and admire it.
Right now, especially, we are all going through something and it’s okay to feel lost. To not being able to understand the unpredictability. But don’t let that take away what you are able to feel and understand, what you’ve always known. Take a small walk (make sure you wear a mask) and just try to soak in the beauty around you. Maybe this is not the place where you planned on spending the whole year, but nevertheless why not try to have a good time where you are? There is so much of beauty in and around you, only if you begin to look for it, you will find it!
During this pandemic, I’ve learnt to be more involved in the little things that bring joy to me. Be it cooking, gardening or writing. And watching the sunset during my evening walks only makes me feel grateful that I’m being able to feel good, just by admiring the beautiful sky, by smiling at my neighbors, by getting excited when the flowers start to bloom from the plants I grew, trying my hand at baking and laughing at my failed pizza-from-scratch attempts (I’ve gotten better now!). I believe that until I’m able to do so, I know things will turn out just fine.
While you’re striving so hard to achieve that big dream, don’t forget to pause for those tiny moments of happiness too.
I saw ‘The Breakfast Club’ movie a few weeks ago and came across one of the most grueling dialogues – “When we grow up, our hearts die.” And when you ponder over it, being a grown up, you kind of start agreeing with it. Because many of us have gone through something that totally wrecked their lives at one point. Where it felt like all walls around you have come crashing down. But, it also makes you think about how you survived it all and made it to where you are right now.
Being ripped off your innocence and dragged out in the world of reality, it does change you. But, do you want to keep sulking your entire life? How long are you gonna push away your friends and family, the ones who keep loving you in spite of your ignorant behavior? Yes, bad things happen and yes, it sucks. And yes, you might think it’s very easy for me to say this rather than you practically doing so. But when you think about the bigger picture, how can we let someone or something take away what’s ours.
This heart that beats inside you everyday, it’s yours. And you have the power to rule over it, nobody else. Period. NOBODY ELSE. So, in the time of adversity, it’s okay to take your time to grieve about things that meant the world to you. But, also remember that you still have your whole life ahead of you. Let the throbbing of your heart remind you how lucky you are to live another day. And for that precious little heart of yours, fight for it’s innocence. Don’t let you past experiences turn you into a cold-hearted robot who doesn’t laugh anymore. Just open your heart and see how there are people out there who would cover you with a blanket of warm embraces and discover the fire inside you that will light up the whole world before you turn cold.❣️
PS: This picture was taken outside Raw Love – Tulum, Mexico. You just cannot pass by this café without taking a picture!
I sometimes see people freaking out when things aren’t going according to their “plan”. And I used to be one such person too. I had this mental image of how my future would look like, monthly goals, yearly goals. And while we are busy working towards this mental image, life generally hits you with its own plans and may decide to take you down different roads. But, don’t just judge yet if these changes are good or bad for you. Sometimes, the roads less traveled might lead you to a destination that you were meant to arrive at. A place that’s meant for YOU.
And no, I don’t say that having a plan is a bad idea. But you need to stop obsessing when life doesn’t happen according to your plans. If one thing isn’t working out right now, there’s definitely something else that will or some other way. You need to accept these uncalled changes and face them with all you’ve got, maybe even try to find happiness along the way. Because you’ve already lost what you had imagined and now you’re also throwing away that could actually be something better for you. Sometimes we’re so fixated on what we want, instead of what we need, that we are not ready to accept the changes happening around us. If we learn to embrace these changes, we can surely learn how to adapt to different situations.
So the next time, paint that perfect-picture in your mind. But also don’t be afraid if you end up adding some random strokes and blurry outlines. Maybe, life does have bigger plans or you. Who knows, when you sway away from the original path, you might end up on the path that was really meant for you. Even if it’s a rugged road you were set on, life will bring you so many beautiful things to get through till you reach the final destination, that you would need a bigger canvas to paint the whole picture.
This year has been nothing but a roller-coaster ride! Catching up with old friends and family only made me realize that we are all going through so many things, things you at times can’t fathom why they’re happening to you. How you started the year full throttle, but now you have to keep pulling the brakes until you make it through, while you see some people still going at full speed. And that’s okay. It is all okay.
One important thing I’ve observed is how important it is to let your dear ones know that it’s okay to fail. To tell them, “I want you to succeed at the thing you’re working hard on right now. But, it’s important for you to know that it’s okay even if it doesn’t. And I’ll be here to hold your hand no matter what.”
So, it’s okay if you’re single right now, but haven’t given up on finding love.
It’s okay if you’re away from your loved ones, but consider yourself lucky that you are able to talk to them everyday.
It’s okay if you don’t have a job right now, but are working towards it.
It’s okay if you don’t have the money for your start up idea, but you still carry the dream with you.
It’s okay if the dream wedding you planned couldn’t happen, but you’re still marrying the right person.
Because even if these things don’t work out the way you had planned, you’ve still got yourself. And realizing your own worth is so-so important in life! Knowing that WHATEVER curveball life throws at you, you are capable enough to get through it. Sometimes just getting through is also an achievement. And if you’re doing it today without any self doubts, you’re doing so much better in life, my friend! This too shall pass. 🙏🏻✨
Someone once told me that if someone is being nice to you, that’s probably because you’re a nice person too. And this thought has stayed with me since then. How often do we think about how our words and actions affect the other person? That these are the outlets that reflect a part of your own personality.
We’ve often heard about the word “karma” being used when someone gets payback for their wrongdoings. Karma doesn’t mean that only bad things will happen to you. It means your actions define what you get in return. Hence, if you’re sending out good vibes around, you will receive them in return. Basically, what goes around, comes around. I am a true believer in karma. And I believe that we need to start taking responsibility for our actions. No person in this world is perfect. But, if we start making a conscious effort in improving the lives around us, we ourselves are paving the path to living a fulfilling life.
We could all start by doing tiny bits of kindness like saying Hi to your neighbor, smiling at a stranger, checking up on a friend, sometimes going out of your way to help someone, providing food to someone who needs it, celebrating your friends/families small and big successes, etc. It doesn’t always have to be a huge gesture, just remember a small deed of kindness can make someone’s day. We are all fighting our own battles. So, it wouldn’t really hurt to try to make someone’s life a little better, in our own little way.
Right now, we need kindness a little more in this world than usual!
Spread love and light.🌟