Self-Isolation AKA Self-Reflection

Last week I came down with a very nasty flu. I was feverish, lost my appetite, could not talk, had a runny nose, terrible cough and did not shower for days on end.

You can imagine how run-down and helpless I felt. I spent months working so hard to balance medicine, dance, travel, dance competition preparation, family and friends. I was ready to go back to work when I became bed-ridden. My boyfriend had to come and pick me up from Shrewsbury and drive me back to my parents house in London, because they were scared of what would happen to me if I stayed alone with no one to look after me and feed me food in a timely manner.

With the recent Corona Virus pandemic, my work place told me very firmly that I had to self-isolate for 14 days! 14 days!! When I found this out, I was overwhelmed. I was grateful to be at home but I started becoming so anxious about not going into work. I felt purposeless. I got so scared. I started overthinking what would happen with my medical training if I took this much time off. I started worrying about being bored at home. I was having an emotional and mental breakdown.

I started to spend more time procrastinating on social media, aimlessly browsing through Instagram, much more frequently than normal. This led to me becoming more and more anxious about the lack of activity I was doing. I felt like everyone was accomplishing things, and I was merely lying in bed, isolated from the world, and recovering from a basic flu.

Corona Virus (Covid-19) is what the whole world is talking about at the moment. Within the last two weeks, circumstances have changed from focusing on self-hygiene advice to quarantine/national exams being cancelled/schools and businesses closing. Therefore, when I was told to stay indoors, as a doctor I completely understood why I had to isolate. Nonetheless I felt guilty. I felt guilty for staying indoors isolating myself, when I felt obliged to help out the NHS and just do my job.

To think that the whole world population, known for our ‘busy’ lives, is now forced to stay at home and stay connected to our family during such vulnerable times, baffles me.

The world works in mysterious ways.

Everything happens for a reason.

I started to realise that reason when during the last two weeks. I deactivated my Instagram account. I started journaling again. I started reading again. I started engaging in positive actions which helped my overall physical and mental well-being. During this time of self-isolation, I started to self-reflect. I also started to reflect on worldly and spiritual matters.

Every single measure taken by us is to protect humanity. We may be divided by our faiths, cultures, social classes, but we are all living one common purpose right now – I do not how many of us actually realise it. For the first time since the day I remember, we as a world population are living as one. We are all living so purposefully to protect and save humanity. It is amazing what we are all accomplishing as humanity. I wish for such unity and love in all our decisions for our future, even after corona virus has died down (which I firmly believe it will).

Maybe there is a hidden message with such a pandemic. Maybe God is trying to tell us something. Maybe God is telling us to focus on what is so important. Unity. Love. Happiness.

One hard good-bye

So this weekend, after ages, I drank quite a bit of alcohol. I got drunk to an extent that I was vomiting and passed out. I can’t remember the last part of the night. All I remember next was waking up in my friend’s flat.

I honestly have not got that drunk in ages! I have actively been staying away from alcohol for some time. I drink small amounts when I go out for meals, but that is about it.

Honestly, this experience has been an eye-opener (no pun intended). I feel embarrassed, and that feeling of what could’ve happened when I was completely out of it, gives me anxiety. I’m getting mini-panics every time I think about what others would’ve thought about me. I know these thoughts of what others think do not define the person I am, but I cannot help it can I?

I just thought to write about my thoughts and feelings. In the past 2 days, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection about what I want out of life. Alcohol is not on that list anymore. Having fun with alcohol is definitely not a priority for me. I have realized that I have so much to achieve and accomplish, and alcohol is proving to be a hindrance to that. It is slowing me down. Most importantly, it is the biggest barrier to my current spiritual growth.

I am not against alcohol at all and I will definitely have a glass of wine socially with a meal. However, drinking to get drunk and have fun is definitely not me. I’ve been there, done that. I’m turning into a different person, and I’m proud of this self-reflection and awareness of my spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

Distracted by the ‘Ping’

I was sat in ten minutes of silent meditation, before heading off to my night shift. I forgot to put my phone on silent. Although at the time I was annoyed at myself for this, I was glad that it happened the way it did.

My phone ‘pinged’ four times during the ten minutes. I did not once open my eyes. I tried my level best to consciously ignore it (the irony!). However, every time my phone pinged, I noticed a shift in my spiritual energy. My concentration diminished. My focus wavered. I mean, I have already been fighting against my uncontrollable series of thoughts, which is why I have started practicing silent meditation; but the phone going off every few minutes made me realise how my brain is programmed to respond to notifications. A small portion of my concentration is taken away from me every time this happens.

We do not realise how toxic our gadgets can be to our mental and spiritual growth. A simple thing like receiving notifications actually has a massive impact on our ability to be present and focus on the activity at hand. This explains why we struggle so much with mental health – we are unable to align ourselves to one state of being at any one time.

What have I learnt? Well, my mental health is important to me. For me to remain focused and present, I need to actively shut down all possible distractions. I need to learn to ‘Say No To The Ping’. This is going to be tough journey for me because I am physically attached to my phone and I have been using it as a way of diverting my mind away from my present moment negative thoughts, without realizing I am only making my situation worse. I do not know how I am going to break free from the distractions, but I know I am, and that thought alone is enough to make a start.

Silence

Today I decided to embark on the next stage of spiritual practice. The practice of silence.

I had one hour left until my night shift started. I therefore decided to sit down for 15 minutes in silence. After years of reading spiritual texts, today I decided to practice the first of many principles.

Remaining in silence was scary. I had to face all my thoughts. I became aware of how crowded my mind is with thoughts, predominantly about the future. Within the first minute of sitting in silence, I started crying. I became aware of my pent-up negative energy breaking down in the form tears. I focused on that one tear drop which rolled out of my right eye, down my right cheek, all the way down my neck, finally being soaked up by my jumper.

After the initial bout of crying, I started to calm down. I was still overwhelmed by how much I thought about the future. All my thoughts were about the ‘what ifs’, ‘what next’. I tried to calm my mind down by focusing on deep inhalation and exhalation. I managed to achieve around 20 to 30 percent stillness overall. Still got a long way to go!

What amazed me was how I got into the hang of sitting with myself in complete silence. I did not realize time fly by. I have gained the awareness that my state of constant anxiety is because of my thoughts about the future. By constantly practicing silence, and eventually meditation, I hope to calm those thoughts down, in order to create a space of stillness – the canvas for my creative growth and spiritual enlightenment.

How to start on a spiritual journey?

We are spiritual beings, already on a spiritual path. Our souls are united to the universe as one. Therefore, we do not need to search elsewhere to begin a spiritual journey. Our spiritual journey begins in the here, and now. We need to become aware and conscious of our thoughts, desires, feelings and emotions.

We live in a world right now where we love to talk and read about spirituality, thinking that this alone will grant us the right to call ourselves spiritually enlightened. The truth is that the desire to consciously embark on a spiritual journey must come from within. Books, podcasts may inspire us. That’s great, but to act on it is another story. Spirituality is an internal process, that cannot be confined to the limitations of words on a page, images/videos on social media. It is an inner awakening that occurs.

Nothing is as sad as superficiality

Positive vibes. Spirituality. Positivity.

These terms have been become so overused and meaningless in the past few years.

I merely see them as fancy hashtags for Instagram posts. The recent trend.

Don’t get me wrong, I was following this trend as well. However since the beginning of this year, I started to go through a whole mental, emotional and spiritual change. My whole way of thinking began to evolve. I can feel that I am vibrating on a whole new frequency. This shift is scaring the hell out of me, but the more I become aware of it and talk about it, the more I am accepting and embracing this new me.

I just feel like so many individuals are living a life for a very superficial and monetary purpose. Money. Status. Please others. Please self on a superficial level. There is deeper sense of being, which I strongly believe in. We are born for a higher purpose. This higher purpose is short of being easy. On my route to finding my higher purpose, to serve others, I have been becoming more and more aware of myself. This awareness is scary as hell. You start to realise that there is a lot more to our creation.

What we are currently experiencing is a mere illusion. It takes a lot of courage to delve deep and figure out where we sit in this world. What purpose we are going to serve to make this place a better place…because guess what, that is what this messed up world needs more of. Humans who have built a life to serve others and help create a better generation of humans for the centuries to come.

I am a good person

I recently shared with you my insecurities. One of you guys, read it and wrote me a beautiful message on my blog. It was in short about taking time to focus on the positives I have as person, because as women we have the tendency to focus on our flaws, than champion our strengths.

I took a moment, after reading the message, to think about my strengths. Damn was it hard! How did I find it so difficult to think of my strengths, yet within a blink of eye I could list out all my insecurities and perceived negatives?

After days of long and hard deliberation here is few things I believe are my strengths. I’ve split it into the same categories as I did my insecurities, just so I can see for myself that in every avenue I have my strengths:

> Physical: I am beautiful, and I am so confident in my natural God-given beauty, which does make me feel so empowered and one with nature. Here are some of the favourite physical features about myself: my eyes, my cute beauty spots across my face, my healthy looking hair and my booty! Yep, you read that right.

> Relationship: It is a blessing to be in a secure long-term relationship. No matter how hard things get, we always seem to power through and find ways to become even closer. It is that much more tough when we have been living in two different cities for the most part of this relationship. Being in a long-term relationship for as long as we have been, and keeping that relationship alive and so beautiful is tough. Things were a lot easier when I was a student; I would just drive down to London as and when I wanted so to spend time with him (I was a bad university student so just bunked off my classes!). However, in my final year, I cut it down to weekends predominantly, and now with work we hardly see each other. We both work on different schedules, and we both have other commitments, individual to us, outside of work. He travels a lot for work and his performances. My weekends are taken up with my wedding dance business. Nowadays, we would be grateful if we could spend at least 1 hour, every two weeks, together. It is tough, and we have had so many difficulties as a result of it. Nonetheless, we are only coming out stronger. I pray God blesses us with more such happiness and strength, for which I am always grateful.

> Career: I am a doctor. I have a small yet significant wedding dance choreography business. And now, I am taking blogging a lot more seriously, and maybe in the future, I can make a career out of blogging as well!! Why the hell am I being so tough on myself?! I have worked so hard to build a life that I have dreamt of. There are few more things yet to do, but that will come with time. I am so grateful to be in a position of such responsibility. I am so grateful of the people I meet daily through my career. I am grateful for how my career is shaping me into a better person day-by-day.

> Travel: I need to accept that I currently do not have the travel bug. And that’s okay. I am on a mission of my own, and travelling does not fit into that picture at the moment. I just need to accept that be more loving to myself. On the contrary, I am instead saving some money. It is not a lot, but something is better than nothing right? I believe the savings will come to use at one point in the near future and I am proud that I am becoming a more financial aware person, because of my savings.

In addition to the above, for which I am forever grateful for, I have some great qualities as a human being. No one has ever really applauded me for them, but why wait for them, when I can applaud myself.

> I am a great listener. I spend more time listening that talking, and I believe that is a very important quality to have.

> I am very understanding. Whatever you throw at me, I will actually take time to think about the situation in your shoes. This has cost me my own feelings at times, but that is a conversation for another day.

> I am quite organised, disciplined and dedicated. If I set my mind on something, I will do all I can do to ensure it gets done.

> I am a loving human being. I am not good with regular messaging, and regular meet-ups. If you understand that and accept me for that, I will shower you with so much love always. If you do not understand that, and judge me for my decisions and the way I am, I will just step away. When I decide to love someone, I do so with my whole heart. Love rises above all.

It is so refreshing to look at how beautiful of a human being I am; and I am proud of myself for it.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Just as we are uncovering our weaknesses/insecurities, we need to become more aware of our strengths; that balance is what will keep us in a state of mental and emotional balance.

Satsumas are so under-rated

When I was a child/teenager, at secondary school, this is how my average week looked:

> Mondays – School, an evening for home-work/study/I sometimes had tuition on monday evenings
> Tuesdays – School; I finished at 3.30pm; I came back and then had some time to shower and eat before I had 2 hour dance practice at 7pm.
> Wednesdays – School; once I finished, again I would rush home, shower and eat and then get ready for singing and veena class for 2.5hours
> Thursdays – School; again 2 hours of dance class after this
> Fridays – School; I would come back, shower and eat and then go to the temple with my family
> Saturdays – I would have to wake up at 7am, because I had dance class from 8.30am to 11am/12pm. I would then eat the food, my mum packed for me, in the car as she drove me to swimming lessons, which were from 1 to 1.30pm. I then came home and had the whole evening to chill and catch up on movies, TV or home-work – unless of course I had a dance show, in which case that was pretty much a zero.
> Sundays – I had tution in the morning from 10.30 to 12.30pm, and then had the whole evening to myself after that.
> Back to Monday again.

Now this is all excluding the extra hours I had fit in for school plays I was rehearsing for, school show rehearsals I had to put time into, external dance shows I did with my dance school; and some time for friends and family.

I eat the Tesco satsumas. So juicy and sweet. Yum yum yum.

My life at university looked something like this:

> Mondays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Tuesdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Wednesdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Thursdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Fridays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Saturdays – dance rehearsals for at least 8 hours, if not I will be at home!
> Sundays – dance rehearsals in the morning followed by catching up with my friends or myself haha

This is excluding studying, assignments deadlines, societies I was involved in (Tamil society, Hindu society). I also tried to make time for family and friends, partying, getting drunk and recovering from hangovers, being in and out of relationships…in my last 2 years of university I was in a relationship which I am still in, for your information – woohooo go me! Hahaha, I was such a crazy person and do not know how I managed it all. (I am not going to neglect the fact that I was a terrible university student, hardly being present at any of my teaching sessions, unless there was a register. I basically just focused on doing enough to pass; this was particularly the case in my final 2 years of university).

I managed to get through a whole bag of satsumas this weekend.

My life now looks something like this:

> Mondays – work; come back, shower, eat and chill
> Tuesdays – work; come back, shower, eat and chill
> Wednesdays – work; come, shower, eat and chill
> Thursdays – work; come, shower, eat and chill
> Fridays – work; come back, shower, eat, drive back to London
> Saturdays – day for wedding dance rehearsals where I usually schedule 1 client at a time convenient to them, for however many hours they want (unless I have prior commitments)
> Sundays – morning and afternoon of rest; drive back to Birmingham
> Back to Monday again

Maybe I should buy a satsuma tree. Does that even exist?

What happened to me? When did I become so lazy and uninteresting? When did I stop taking interest in doing things I love and things which help me grow and learn?

Have I become that person who says ‘work is so tiring.’ Bullsh*t. I can understand 12-hour on-call shifts being tiring, but an elective day at work cannot be tiring. I have been that individual who has gone through the craziest schedules at school and university. I came out so strong. I need to bring back that fire.

Writing this made me reflect on life. Many of us who are doctors now, were engaged in a whole host of fun extra-curricular activities as children and teenagers, to help with our growth and self-development. We got to university and that started to narrow down slightly. We started working and then it all became non-existent. The most we do is go to gym (or hula hoop in my case) from time to time; go out partying and getting drunk, to numb ourselves of the monotone lives we are living; or travel around the world to escape from the mundane lives we have built for ourselves.

Here are things I want to do and I am determined to start weaving it all into my life:

1) Learn a new language – I want to improve my french (which I stopped practicing after my A Level French). I also want to start learning Spanish. I am going to find an online which I can use to start learning both. If I can get a few cute qualifications, even better haha!

2) I want to build dance into my weekly schedule. At least once a week, but I can do it twice a week, it would be ideal.

3) I want to try something new. Something like pole dancing/acting classes. I have always loved acting; I did drama at GCSE and did three/four school plays at secondary school as well. Why did I stop? I would like to believe I was pretty good. Maybe I need to rekindle that fire.

4) When I am in London, I want to start making use of the Veena my parents bought for me. I loved playing the veena and I want to get back to taking lessons and learning again.

5) Of course I want to travel. However, I want to travel to learn and immerse myself in other cultures. I do not want to travel to escape from my life. This may be why I do not feel ready to travel yet. I am working on building a life which is amazing in itself; that way I do not need to look forward to going abroad, but instead embrace the fact that it is just another fun aspect of my already fun life.

6) I want to do small courses here and there. I have a particular interest in nutrition and skin-health so it may be something I venture into, on the side.

6 months down the line, I want to be able to read what I have written above and say that I have commenced at least 2 of the above. It’s all in my hands.

PS: Satsumas are so under-rated…oh crap, I’ve already made that point very clear.

PPS: This piece was nothing to do with satsumas, as you have probably clocked already.

Coming to terms with my insecurities

I have several insecurities. I have found it very useful to put my insecurities out there, so I do not feel vulnerable or guilty about them. I do not think I will ever overcome and forget about my insecurities, but I can make peace with them.

The first step to making peace with my insecurities is by acknowledging and being aware of it.

So here goes…my biggest insecurities:

> Physical: my body, my hair, my skin, my eyebrows, and my lashes. However stupid this may sound, yes my physical insecurities sometimes do take a big toll on me. Ever since I was a little girl, people around me passed ‘interesting’ remarks about my appearance. This shaped how I started to look at myself. Day-by-day I am trying my best to overcome this, but it is not easy when I was made to feel unattractive for years.

> Relationship: I have been in quite a few relationships now. In each one, I felt like I was a 2nd option. I think (well I hope) the guy I was with on each occasion in the past, did not intentionally want to make me feel that way, but I did. I felt like I was never good enough. It’s my perception of those relationships. I have grown a lot since. I am now grateful to be in a relationship where I feel loved and cherished and made to feel like a number 1. Nonetheless, my emotions and insecurities associated with my past relationships sometimes to seep through and take a toll on my security in my current relationship. Sometimes I feel like I am going in circles. I give my boyfriend a hard time as a result. I am really trying my best to grow beyond my past emotions, so both him and I can be happy and stress-free. It is a work in progress.

> Career: Let’s be real. I am in one of the most rewarding careers ever. I am so freaking proud of myself for it. It is not easy being a doctor at all. I am doing my level best to be as good of a doctor as I can. At the same time, I am trying to balance my dance career. It is so tough. I feel exhausted and demotivated so much of the time. I then see all these Instagrammers who are dancers, constantly produce amazing content. I feel the pressure that I may need to produce content regularly to validate that I am dancer. This takes me into a whirlwind of negative emotions. Guess what, f*ck it. I am and will always be a dancer. Producing content is not what the success my dance career is going to be defined by. My definition of success in the dance world is very different to several others’ definition. Therefore, I should not feel pressured to have to fall into the trap of trends, producing videos, etc. That is not where my focus lies, not for the time being anyway. And that’s okay. If I feel crap, I will not dance. If I feel great, I will dance. It’s that simple for me.

> Traveling: I want to travel so much. Right now, I have a few other priorities that I am focusing on which means that I probably won’t be able to travel much for the next year/year and a half. That’s okay. I should not be judging myself for that. Nonetheless, I see all my friends traveling so much, and I’m thinking to myself…have I made the wrong decision? Should I be travelling now? This led to a lot of sadness. I felt so down. I spoke to my boyfriend and he pretty much counselled me. He made me talk through what my priorities in life right now are, and why. I came to realise how much I want to travel and learn. Right now I am not in the mental nor financial position to travel around the world. And that’s okay. If I keep progressing through life the way I am, I will eventually get to a point where I will be able to travel. I just need to take it at my own pace.

It has really helped me get off my chest some of my biggest insecurities. I am working on making peace with it. I am working on acknowledging that most of these insecurities come from comparing myself to others. So yes, there is a lot of work for me to do. But cheers to my first step.

I would recommend that if you have insecurities, you start acknowledging it and making peace with it as well. Write it down on a piece of paper at least. Figure out why you have this insecurity and how you are going to come to terms with it. Simple things like this go a long way.

I am grateful for…

My family

My boyfriend

My friends

My education

The roof above my head

The food on my plate

The clothes I am wearing

The clean water I have access to

The people I meet through my career

A career where I have the potential to touch the lives of others

My love for dance

My love for learning

Every negative experience, which is helping me grow

…and God

Thank you God for all that you have enabled me to learn. A grateful soul attracts all things positive.

What are you grateful for?