Plugging Off

We’ve all heard the phrase “plugging off”, and we know what it means – taking time off from our gadgets and electronics; turning off our televisions, iPads, laptops, and smartphones; being more aware of our surroundings and feeling present in the moment. But there’s one other thing that needs to be switched off before we can truly feel a sense of connection with the world, and that is our mind. Our minds are always on and running at hyper speed, tackling a myriad of issues, all at the same time, imagining future scenarios, both frightening and fanciful, and reliving past moments with all their associated pain. Our minds are incredible. They set us apart from being just another species of animal on this earth. But just like too much of anything can be bad for you, overthinking can turn our minds from marvels into monsters. We get stressed out, on edge, anxious and depressed. We’re unable to sleep or eat or function. Every so often, the mind needs to be turned off, so that we can connect with another part of our beings – our souls.

The soul is probably the most neglected part of us, perhaps because it’s invisible, unlike the mind and body, and so, easy to forget about. But when depression strikes or we feel a general sense of despair, it’s not the mind or body that comes to the rescue (at least, not on their own). Often times, the mind IS at the root of our problems, and needs to be turned off. So where, then, is the off switch?

Everyone has a different off switch or way of zoning out. Some like to meditate or pray, others exercise or simply daydream. You must find the method that works for you. The point is to stop thinking and start feeling. For a lot of people, the easiest way to do this is to focus on your breath. When you focus on your breath, all your other thoughts disappear and you become more aware of your actual Being. If you do it often enough, it will turn into a habit, one you can do for five minutes or fifty. When you “plug off” like this, it feels kind of like waking up from a dream to a beautiful reality. The more you connect with your Being, the more your world, as you know it, starts to feel less important, less stressful. Because at the end of the day, your long-term happiness doesn’t come from completing all the tasks on your To Do list. It comes from feeling fully connected to yourself and the world around you. It comes from the realization that you are a small part of a greater whole, and being 20 minutes late to work, or winning the temporary adoration of your fans, will not change that.

I’m not saying you should quit your day job or stop caring about your responsibilities. I’m saying, take some of the pressure off yourself. You’re not meant to be the perfect man or woman. You’re meant to be flawed and incomplete. You’re a work-in-progress, but each brushstroke you make adds beauty to the bigger picture every time you make the effort to “connect”.

What do I mean when I say “connect”? I mean getting back in touch with your true self, your soul, your intuition. Call it what you want. It’s the inner voice that guides you every time you make a decision. Not all the other voices that you hear on a daily basis telling you that you’re falling behind or you’re not good enough. Those are the very voices that are drowning out your true self. By shutting off our mind, we are telling those negative voices to take a hike, so we can do our best to hear what our inner self is saying. You might not hear it at first, but if you keep trying to make that connection, you will hear it. Your inner self will only ever tell you the truth. The truth about who you are, why you exist, and what you should be doing during your time on Earth. I believe the more we keep striving to listen to our inner voice, the more we will learn about ourselves, and the more at peace we will feel.

Focus on your breath right now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus. Do it for three minutes, or five, or ten. See what happens. Switch your mind off and let yourself go. Then tell me what you felt. I’d love to know. If your experience is anything like mine, you may feel a tingling sensation in your body, or the sense that you’re being lifted into the air. It’s hard to shut the mind off, I know, but please try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Home

What is home?

And if someone knows, can he/she please tell me where mine is?

When you’re young,

home is simply mother.

The giver of all your milk and love.

The receiver of all your poop and tears.

Slowly, home grows to include father,

and then siblings,

and finally,

the concrete walls within which you sleep and wake every day.

Home stays that way for a while, and continues to impress itself upon your memory,

with its smells of mac’n’cheese and aloo gosht,

the sounds of your brothers practicing with their band in the basement,

the sight of sunlight pouring in from specific angles every day,

just so,

the feel of your fuzzy stuffed animal collection,

or the soft, pink hairiness of the carpet in your room.

But what happens when you’re suddenly uprooted and swept away to another continent?

Does home remain where it was,

something to be nostalgic about in later years,

something that will seep into all your future dreams?

Or will it become this new city, where, apparently, you were born,

and everyone tells you how much you’ve grown?

The place your parents called home, before the idea of you even existed?

With time, this new place turns into home,

with confiding friends, loyal cousins, first love, and hating homework.

In this new home, no one needs to keep asking you how to pronounce your name,

or where you’re from,

or where that is.

Things are good.

Things are really good,

until you leave again,

this time, by choice,

for the sake of education, on the surface,

but really,

for adventure.

This will be temporary, you think.

So it doesn’t matter if your new, makeshift home keeps changing from one claustrophobic dorm room to another,

because this is a rite of passage,

and you know you’ll fly home one day.

Then suddenly you wake up and realize

seven years have passed

and you never went back.

When it’s time,

home changes, yet again,

from your parents’ home to your husband’s.

This home is lovely,

new and exciting, but fraught with its own tensions.

This home will stay, you hope.

No matter which part of the globe you’re in,

no matter how many cities you visit,

or how many times you have to buy new furniture,

this home will stay.

Does that mean home is not a place then,

but rather, a person?

People can be so unpredictable.

They come and go.

They have their own tales of home to deal with.

They’re fickle and hard to control,

in fact, not at all within your control.

A decade on, and you start to feel that home is not a person or a place.

It’s you.

Because you’re the only one you can really control,

and trust to be there during every up and down.

Your body, the skin and everything within,

this is your home.

But wait!

Even this home is starting to feel different.

It’s no longer as energetic as it once was.

Aches and pains have erupted in hidden corners of the body that you always took for granted.

This body is aging,

and you realize it won’t be around forever.

What, then, is home?

Not a place,

not a person,

not a human body you think you control.

What is home?

Home is still you,

you eventually conclude,

just not the physical you.

That part is only temporary.

Home is the source from which you came,

and where, hopefully, you’ll one day return.

Home is an invisible being

who embraces you every day

especially when you need it most.

Home is the soul and all that it’s connected to,

which, very conveniently, follows you around the world,

without any moving fees,

or emotional goodbyes,

anxious first days,

or troubling sighs.

Your home was here all along,

the one place you didn’t think to look.

Silly rabbit!

Now that you know where home is,

you need to make sure you take care of it.

Clean it, regularly, of clutter and toxicity.

Warm it with kindness. Beautify it with light.

Take the time to sit in your home for a while,

even on your busiest days.

Really sit

and reflect

on your home,

so that, with time,

this home will show you the way to your next Home,

and everything you must do before you get there.

This home will never leave you.

At the very end,

you’ll be a home within a Home

which will feel like such abundance, because

you started out so clueless,

with no idea of what home is,

and you ended with an infinite array of possibilities.

You learned that you’re the creator of your own home.

You learned that you are home,

but also that

you are home.

*My lovely readers, what do you think of when you think of home?*