As a Hindu, we believe that a person's body is temporary. It's simply a vessel to carry their athma, or their eternal soul. Your soul stays consistent but comes back in different forms in different lifetimes but the goal is to escape samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth, and achieve moksha. Your actions and words is what will dictate whether you are reborn again, and in what form, or whether you are liberated from the cycle and achieve moksha. This ties in to how Hindu funerals are conducted as well as the grieving process. In Hinduism, the body is cremated and then ashes are spread at a sacred body of water or some other place of importance to the person who passed. At the funeral, you wear white, there are prayers conducted asking for liberation of the person's soul and acceptance of them. You wear white. You share memories. And you pray.

Some days, I come home from work and wonder why I even bothered to show up? I could swear that no one noticed my presence, nor would they notice my absence. Or maybe it's a day where no matter what I do, I keep hitting dead ends or getting blank stares or seem to get criticized for whatever I do, or don't do. It's when decisions make no sense or your frustrations seem to fall on deaf ears or no matter how much you try to be transparent and fair, it backfires in your face. It's days like those that make me wonder why I do what I do. It's days like those that I go home and I re-evaluate what I'm doing and what I set out to do. 

My Friend's Parents

As a kid, I would go to India with my parents and we'd be dragged to random people's houses for chai and a quick visit. Sometimes it would be family members, but from time to time, my parents would go visit the parents of their friends. I never really understood why--they weren't necessarily close with their friends' parents, why go visit them? I'm finally understanding why.

I have four days left in my NoBloPoMo challenge and I'm really proud of how far I've come. It hasn't always been easy, but I've managed to write every day (I consider a day before I go to bed, not necessarily midnight). While my posts have been random, they've been getting done and I'm proud that I've managed to stay on task and focussed so far. And I've been getting it done, even with being out of town and what not. 

Thankful for New Beginnings

Tonight I celebrated Friendsgiving with some friends who I've known for almost 15 years. It also marked a huge change for one couple as they were moving to New Mexico after one of them had spent his entire life in Illinois. As someone who's done the pick-up-and-leave-everything-you've-ever-known-behind move, I'm excited for them but can also relate to the boatload of emotions that come with the move. 

A lot of my friends are married and having babies. A lot. How many you ask? Enough that I can tell you about breastfeeding and tongue ties and different sleep training methods and feeding techniques as well as personal parenting styles and bedtime routines. I can change a diaper, I can carry a kid with one hand (leaving the other one free for having a drink), I'm perfecting my raspberries, and I genuinely believe that having a baby/kid fall asleep in your arms or on your chest is one of the best feelings in the world. 

When Did You Become a Reader?

My friend asked me today when I became a reader. Truth is, reading has always been a love of mine. I can't remember the exact moment I became a reader, but it was sometime before high school and then again after I started working post-college. It might have been The Babysitter Club or Sweet Valley that sucked me in, but Amelia Bedelia was my friend way before that, right around the time that Curious George and I met. And then after I survived the mandatory readings in high school and college, it was Dan Brown and Keith Follett that brought my love back into my life. As I got older, I discovered non-fiction and what beauty it could bring into my life.

Happy Thanksgiving

While I'm not your typical holiday-loving person where I count down the days until a holiday or transform my home into a holiday haven, I do enjoy the holidays. I never really make plans nor do I have any traditions that I really follow, yet. (I can't wait to create my own one day when my feet are a little more planted.) To be honest, it's usually a last minute game-time decision on where to go, what to do, and who to spend it with.

Thanksgiving in the US is usually the reminder that the holidays are here and the end of the year is just around the corner. It's this time of year that you usually wonder where the time went and also simultaneously wonder how you're going to get everything done by the end of the year. Before the panic begins, take a moment to pause and reflect on the things that you're grateful for. After all, when the turkey is done, and the family is back to their respective homes, all you have left is yourself and the thoughts that go through your head. Pay homage to them. 

For most people, the holiday season is a time to get together with your loved ones, eat great food, and be merry as you create new memories for the future. You may see the family who you haven't seen since last year, and can't wait to smoosh them up in a huge hug, but you might also see that one relative that you dread seeing because they always give you a hard time about your life choices or maybe they have opinions that fundamentally go against what you believe in. Whatever the case may be, it's a once-in-awhile type of get together so you bite your tongue, turn a blind eye, and keep the peace.

Maybe it's time to ruin Thanksgiving.

Your Board of Directors

On a job interview for an internship 10 years ago, I got some of the best advice of my life.

The interviewer, the head of one of the HR departments, had received my resume in advance along with a list of questions to ask me. Before we could even start with the questions, she said, "Before we get started, I have to ask: Bollywood dance team?! Wedding planner?! How cool! Tell me about those things." And I did.

I looked at my shoebox of a room the other day and thought, "Where did all of this stuff come from?" I had sworn that I would only keep some stuff with me here in SF while the majority of my things were in Portland, yet somehow my room was full. Not only was it full, it was full of stuff that I wasn't sure I needed. It was also a reminder that there was ALL THIS STUFF in Portland that I didn't need, considering I had been gone for almost two years and much of my stuff was/is still there.

Spreading the Joy of Snail Mail

Writing is that loyal love that always makes me feel great, yet I neglect. Whenever I make the time for it, I feel empowered and more creative and genuinely happy. It's my way of taking all of the thoughts, ideas, and feelings that I have running amuck in my head and getting them out. Then why don't I do it all the time? I don't have an answer for that, just excuses.

Last year, I decided to no longer neglect my loyal love and to dedicate more time to writing. I set a stretch goal of writing every single day. And not just jotting down an idea on the Notes section of my phone or scribbling in a journal, but writing to someone. Every. Single. Day. Whether it be a 3 page letter, a post card from a new destination or even a quick hello on hotel stationary, I was going to be writing. To connect with people through prose. To spread the joy only snail mail can provide. To improve my penmanship because even I can't read it sometimes. To commit to something.

Reigniting My Love for Reading

Reading 1000 books is on my bucket list, number 16 if we're being specific. As a kid, I used to go to the library almost every week and check out as many books as I could carry. I would read these books late into the night, going into the bathroom for hours under the guise of using the potty when I was secretly just reading. I could finish Book It challenges in a week, easily earning my free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. My parents would punish me by taking away my library privileges when I misbehaved--which might be why I was such a good kid. In grade 2, I won a school wide contest for the most pages read in a month, and my school went from Kindergarten to grade 8. I was a bookworm and I loved it.

I have had more difficult conversations this week than I have had in a long time. Some have turned out better than expected while others really cut me to the core and drained me of my energy. Though some were initiated by my, not all of them were my choice. A few of the difficult conversations from this week were in my professional life, a few were in my personal life, and a few were internal ones that I was having with myself. Here are a few things that I've learned to help me have better difficult conversations: