May You Live Mindfully, 2020 and Beyond

A year of promises, a year to hope, and a year of surprises. The scribbles from the December diary had a single entry. 

 New Year came in and before we realized it, the calendar of 2020 began to roll. A little into the third month, Germany declared a complete lockdown. 

 My husband and I were confined in the four walls of a studio apartment. 

 For us, it was the greatest challenge. 

Office work had to go on as usual. It also meant soundproofing the other activities inside. 

 Surely life was not the same. But surely there was an opportunity to better time management and to polish mutual respect and adjustments. Within days, we just fell into a routine.  

Every day appeared a busier version of the weekend. The question of ‘my space’ or ‘your space’ vanished. We both kept our respective laptops on the sole dining table and stayed focused using our earplugs.

Gradually, sharing the coffee, taking a bite of chocolate, smiling often, and saying ‘thanks’ became a part of our life. We started observing the little joys of togetherness

Beyond, the conscious decision to stay positive, some days just couldn’t keep the positivity around. Worrying over family and the inability to be around in the hours of crisis, drained me mentally and physically. 

Picture Credits: Nambiar

To keep my mind occupied, I started reading and developed the habit of mindful meditation.

Well, with plans to visit my family in India dropped, and the stories of virus painting the pages of e-papers, I channelized my energies into taking up a 100-day challenge of mindfulness

 In simple words, I learned the art of breathing. Breathe in and breathe out with complete awareness of body and mind. 

What amazed me is the fact that I never did observe my breathing just the way I did not observe the way I drink water or eat my food. 

It was lockdown restrictions of 2020 that opened my eyes to the beauty of simple things. I realized awareness. I became observant and grateful for every day. Life goes on and the year too. Yet, there are more reasons to say Thank You.  

2021, Deeya Nambiar


Recalling Minutes from the Walk: A Wonderful Self-Discovery

Englischer Garten, Munchen

Walking is a favourite pastime for me. Long walks into the forest pathways have often been therapeutic.

One evening, on a sunny afternoon, I chose a path I never tried before. Each step I took, shaped into the famous poetic lines from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

I felt no different. It was the most beautiful day. Deeper into the woods, I was welcomed by a stream flowing unidirectional, and the mallard ducks swimming in the opposite direction.

The light wind tousled my hair and the sun-kissed leaves of the huge tree sizzled. And then I heard a wild calling. It was suddenly deafening to my ears. My courage took a U-turn and I stood searching. “Where am I in the woods?” The thought triggered a nauseating sensation in my stomach. “Breathe, girl breathe.” I had to tell myself.

A few long breaths calmed me down. I sat down on the green grass. The ducks were not bothered. But, the noise was incessant. Probably, it was more like an SOS call. But who? I looked carefully towards the tree. A big brown wild squirrel sat upright with its tail twitching. 

 As our eyes met, the squirrel’s alarm call grew louder. Here, my heartbeat was growing louder for I didn’t know what to expect. It was the first time I was feeling like an intruder and a predator in the home of the animals.

Should I be worried?

Of course, it is common knowledge that squirrels are wild animals. It also means these little animals can be unpredictable. I also remembered reading about the possibility of squirrels causing rabies.

Whether the animal was going to attack, was the next detail to watch out for.

I did not let my focus astray. The squirrel remained in the same position and did not move an inch. I sighed!

How to return home?

With relief flooding over me, I searched my pocket for my phone. To my dismay, I had not carried it with me on my walk. What a day!

 “I will find my way,” I repeated the words again and again. It was yet another first in the era of mobile phones and Google Maps that, I was directionless.

What next?

I looked around once more, ignoring the beauty of the bushy-tailed, hairy-eared, lovely wild squirrel. Mindfully shut my eyes and began to trace the route from my memory. Rewind…. Before the lake, the fragrance of the flowering tree, and …. Robert Frost began to replay. Smiling, I opened my eyes and got up still watching the squirrel. And I turned and walked the same path.

The more determined I was, confident became my strides. The squirrel was left far behind; the way turned familiar and I crossed paths with a cyclist. The moment I reached the signboard on the main road, my thoughts went back to repeat the poem. Indeed, the less travelled road made all the difference.

2021, Deeya Nambiar

Life, a Project

Mind often travels to the oft travelled unwanted spectrum, returning to revive the dead, buried and degenerated thoughts, scenes and irrelevant approbations. 

Wandering is not uncommon. But ‘today’ once gone will be deduction of 24 hours from our life. Here, we have no idea of the time limit given to a birth. 

Therefore, I like to call my life a project, wherein, everyday is dedicated to a small-term goal.

Of course, what is your goal is purely your own perspective that, may or may not match a universal set of goals followed commonly.

For example, on a Sunday, the wish to learn the lyrics of a song that I have been humming all through the week becomes my goal. I am not a trained singer that doesn’t mean I should not sing. 

I fall in love with the process of learning the song. Initially, it may be just the tune, then the focus comes to the lyrics automatically, and from there on, it is a determination to sing beautifully. 

If the day doesn’t begin as planned, and I indulge in procrastination, I do let myself dissect and reevaluate the scene playing in my mind. Also, mindfully, I try to get my focus on breathing, a simple yet an effective way, to clearing thoughts and engaging productively.

Nevertheless the routine practices, chores and order of things to be done, is still met like in a factory model of deadlines. 

The point is to feel happy to be alive. And the point is also, to feel blessed for the now and here.

Gratitude. Namaste

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Serve Selflessly

“A servant I am.” 

Past couple of weeks I have been pondering over the term “servant”. The word quintessentially stands for domestic-help, especially in Indian context. During the lock-down period, several families were deprived of the services offered by house-maids, car cleaners, drivers and such extra support providers in their household.  Many complained, many others preferred to utilise the time wisely to finish chores. 

There were even memes, unsympathetic jokes, and stereotypical view of advise on comparing a wife/woman of the house akin to servant; and it was followed by comments on the increasing work and helplessness.

In a more class-conscious concept,  the term is associated with public servant, government servant and civil servants. There is also another term servant leadership. The common aspect of every terminology  is about ‘serving’; and serving has never been a derogatory usage. 

That took me to one of the interpretations in Bhagavad Gita. We are all servants. We are here to serve. Serve can be any kind of service we offer in our life.

In every role that we take in our given life-time, we serve in various ways. When I am a teacher, I am a servant to my students. At home I am a servant to my family; and when in my garden, I am a servant to my plants as well. 

However, if I don’t tend to my plants, the plants will wane. If it is a flowering plant, there will be no flowers.

Similarly, if I do not serve my own body well, my body will not be able to withstand the environment.  

Every living thing, including the insects have their share of service to serve.

Also, we are not to take anything, including our own body for granted. In other words, nothing comes for ‘free’ in this world. 

But, what is most important in ‘being a servant’, ‘offering services’ or ‘serving’?  It is to learn to serve selflessly. A sincerity unmarred by expectations and result.

Surely, it may sound difficult to most of us, with our materialistic pursuits and life of desires. Yet, it’s not so difficult to practise.

Someone told me a few months ago, “I see God in everything I do, everyone I meet, and everyday I live. I am serving God. I find happiness in whatever I do.” Indeed, selflessness holds answers to happiness quotient, and being a servant. 

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Empath May Be…

To be close to nature is the seeker’s perspective of life. The flowers bloom naturally, trees shed naturally, sun and the moon rise and set naturally. There is a path and there is also a journey in the life of everything that is the creator’s child. I am a mere human being who is deliberately trying to break a familiar path and engulf a parallel path that’s always been there, followed mindlessly but, never embraced wholeheartedly.

The day I became aware of its existence, I shed many tears unknowingly, trying to understand the relevance of an ’empath’ in the concrete design of things.

Summing up, based on the explanations provided by certain website, and as I understand, “empaths” are people who connect deeply with people and situations. They can be extremely sensitive, get affected or overwhelmed by sensory affectations, feel uncomfortable in crowded places, and they may lead others to judge their receptiveness and reactions as ‘being shy’ or ‘lacking in confidence’.

Probably, it is very challenging to be reliving the pages from the books, scenes from a film, sounds of the incident one witnessed that touched deeply. It may even take days to erase a few things that came across in the course of the day.

However, they see the world from their heart, work with love, cherish Nature, and empathise greatly.

Often,”what is the matter with you?” sort of question crops up to an empath. The answers may not seem very convincing to others, and attempts at explaining things beyond the purview of the familiar fixed images of ‘the right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour, may well be misinterpreted. That doesn’t require an empath to hide behind the security of the home always. That also doesn’t mean, one has to forcefully work to change oneself . There is no doubt, like any hardworking person, empaths are also good at work, and efficient as well. Therefore, be there, live there.

In fact, it is very satisfying to try visualisation techniques to protect oneself, before stepping out into the regular pattern of life. Something, I’ve been trying for a while, “using the tool of imagination to visualise” and the “tested power of affirmation”.

For instance, if I am visualising, I prepare myself first. I spend a few minutes to get my focus on my breathing.
Breathe in, Breathe out. I continue to do it till, I find a calm within.

Of course, the shortage of time, makes me count to three or five with every inhale and every exhale. But, when I am breathing, I affirm myself with positive messages : I breathe in confidence, I breathe out messages of gratitude, I breathe in love, I breathe out messages of unconditional love, and such.

Another way of inclusion of affirmation is: breathe in confidence, breathe out insecurities, breathe in love and breathe out hatred, and such words that are ‘my calling’ for the day. In other words, the messages of affirmation are dependent on my frame of mind.

Once I achieve this state, I begin by imagining showers of blessing from heaven and earth connecting, and protecting me in a cocoon of universal love. The colours may matter, but to me ‘the colour of protective layer of unconditional love’ is either a white or a golden light.

I live in the moment, sometimes a seven minutes or sometimes even more (say 25 minutes), absorbing the state of awareness. Towards the end, I close the practice of visualisation, thanking heaven and earth, in a three time acknowledging bow down/nodding head. I do trust in the powers of the Universe that, may be a light, or a form of Almighty/ God.

Each one of us is unique, and unique with our ways to find a solution to our God-given ‘life’. Have trust in yourself, and mark beautiful memories in the journey of life.

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Savour the Minutes

I am enjoying the sun today. A day’s rain, and chill, to a sudden embrace of the warmth of the sun; it is absolutely a place for the adjectives to describe.  But I am a layman today, toying with an idea of honest words. Devoid of any deceptions, in the solitude of ideals, it is the real I want to experience. 

The simplicity of the sun, as if from a picture book I revisit often, to see the smile and the eyes, and the sense of belonging.

I close my eyes momentarily to visualise that picture, and then open my eyes to meet the glowing radiance of the sun. I look away, and look again, I know it is hard to focus when the sun is bright.

Closely guarded by the dense foliage of the fresh green leaves, and the sliding glass door of the balcony, I try to keep my focus unfettered. Wandering thoughts gathered no mass, and mind return attentively to join in.

Savouring, I am. My senses savour the glory of colours, the play of shades and the feeling of rising emotions.

Moments; I savour the moments I am with the sun. The picture I save into my memory, a happy image for a gloomy day.

Every day the sun rises and sets, just the way I know the moon and stars and the trees; and acknowledge the chirping birds, which probably sing during sunrise and sun set.  

I feel the wind, hear the humming bee, and a common housefly sitting on the unoccupied chair. I see them all. I feel them all. Today I am aware, recognising and receiving.

 Somewhere a calm sweeps into my system, and I feel a kind of joy best put in as contentment. I relish every minute. My heart, body and mind participated together to materialise the valuable moment in my reality with a world of conscious awareness.

Indeed, the sun, the moon and the universe are within us. We need to align our body and mind with them to know them. It is only possible if we take time to travel deep within ourselves; on a philosophical note (Zen, Taoism and other such philosophies). On the other hand, positive psychology speaks about ‘savoring’ as a tool to well-being. One has to be simply aware and mindful.

Appreciating the blessed time of sunlight, I savour in knowing the little pleasures of life that leads to the ways of positive living.

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Just Breathe

The other day, I was going through one of my earlier scribbles, pages of mysterious thoughts and some at their elemental best. Wisdom or knowledge? I believe it to be experiences, and about the daily inputs of ordinary things.

Apparently, every ordinary object has an extraordinary side that needs a little prompt for the acquainted person to notice. Sadly, it is very common for a human being, to not take note of normal. Normal is most often taken for granted. When someone asked me recently, “what is my favourite pastime?”, my answer was “I love to breathe.” “Breathe?”


We breathe every day

Breathe, but we notice much not.

There is science and art in breathing.

However, to know breathing you have to enjoy it. Let the air breathed into your body touch you, feel you and open you. Be there, be aware of every single second.

It is simple, some may call it silly too, yet, the level of difficulty begin when you start breathing in awareness. Do we even breathe properly?

The day I mindfully breathed in, I watched the way air entered my nostrils, passed through my respiratory tract, and filled my lungs. A bit longer to breathe, it was the full stomach feeling; technically deep breathing. I held it in my body to a count of five, and then released slowly.

In a ten-minutes fun activity I started on a terribly upset day, I was learning to appreciate the sensation of calm settling in. The emotions of crying and laughter perplexed me. I accepted everything with gratitude.

Just breathe with awareness, and help your life become a better living. “What is naturally ours to take, and normal in existence, still, should be appreciated.” I re-read my words, scribbled against a thought on a Rainy Day.

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Love and Light

Today, while chatting with a friend on a social media platform, I signed off the conversation with “Love and Light”. I have never used the phrases together in any of my conversations previously. I know, the rationalist will tell me, “you might have come across the phrase somewhere, and your mind reproduced it when it felt like.” Obviously, the truth may be so.

However, when ruled by heart, my feelings to the value of those words were more than its physical existence. Words are a collection of alphabets that come together in combinations to give a meaning. It says something, you or I may feel or not feel. There is a sure trigger of a positive, negative or a neutral emotion. There’s no doubt.

Online search, apparently, offered many interpretations, most common being “blessing”,  and “frequency and wisdom”. The challenging times world over surely expects more such phrases of comfort and healing.

While the people, especially in the public services, and volunteers, are working day and night wholeheartedly; the least others like us can do, is to offer comfort and healing to many at soul level. It just takes our mind to focus and open our hearts to others.

Humanity is precious, each of us have a deep connection.  

Beyond the life of materialism, when one grows tired of indulging in the pleasures of life, which is also often “taken-for-granted”, our mind will seek the basic gifts of love, compassion, relations and surrender. Yes, a little support from family and friends does matter to many who have never evaluated “the value of aloneness” …. and healing follows the moment one finds peace and harmony.

On that note, I wish, and pray for love and light.

2020, Deeya Nambiar

In the Name…

“Do you believe in God?” I have to face the question most of the days when I do not take part in sharing an information a believer had wanted me to share.

“Do you….?” Yes I do.  I continue with my answers….

I am a believer. I am a Hindu by birth. I have a small temple at home, and I pray every day. There are temples in Germany, and of the Gods I pray daily to.  

However, I visit the churches that are nearest to my place. 

I take a moment off to check the other messages on a social media platform.  It was about prayers and the instructions on praying. While I ignore replying to A’s wishes, B insists on another God, and C says “Don’t ignore the Powerful Message”. 

I shut my eyes, “In the name of God….Seriously?”

Does S/He have a name? Yes, they do. I see them too, when in deep conversation with Self as well as with another, both animate and inanimate. My God is my love and love opens my heart to unknown communication of sharing, caring and receiving. And here I learn to forgive and embrace gratitude.

I believe in the energy of unconditional love. 

2020, Deeya Nambiar

Love exists

After a Leap Year, and a month of reading “love-themed” articles and watching online advertisements, I am drawn into the essence of love. On the lazy side, I could not let even a sprinkle of words to make an edible read for my blog, all the days that have now become past.

Once again, I am on the  13th day of the month.  Significantly, the day is a reminder of the birth of my nephew and the first born in our extended family.

Today, my husband and I were very pleased to receive his voice message. Our time zones don’t match and so we do look forward for the weekend online family meet.

 So very typical of the new age! But we rejoice in the reality of being able to ‘see, talk and feel’ except an opportunity to ‘touch’. Yet, love flows deep.  I don’t remember telling my brother, ever, “how much I love and adore him” .

We belong to a generation where we hardly expressed ourselves. But here comes the generation Alpha, if I have correctly identified the terminology, and the conditioning learned in the foreign land, the little ones do not hesitate to give a flying kiss or say “I love you”.

As for our parents, it has always been unconditional love. Again, I wonder, how many times have I told my parents “l  love you?” In fact, I can only recollect hugging them or cuddling them but never in words. It is strange, “why it has been difficult to use words more easily?” Same applies to other members of the family.

I let myself take a memorable scan through the years of absent mobile and internet days of our life. I could find records of having heard complaints of displeasure from either of my parent, only if we had failed to “make a phone call” or “return a call when missed receiving one”. Even till date “it is the same.” Beyond time zones, and distances, it is about remembering and connecting.

May be that’s the way love works its way in our family. That is to say, there is a strong love that speaks silently.

2020, Deeya Nambiar