Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Epiphanies on Life (I)

Sing the anthem of Life....Follow your bliss

Come what may...Never give up on your dreams! 

For more such micropoetry, you can follow me on Instagram - @Purba_Chakraborty

Saturday, 8 February 2020

10 Powerful Affirmations to Begin the Day With

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”- Claude M. Bristol

Our mental state depends on the things that we constantly tell ourselves. Negative self-talk can push us towards stress, anxiety, and depression. Positive self-talk can uplift us to a state of peace, love, harmony, and confidence. Affirmations are powerful and empowering words that we choose consciously to tell ourselves.

When we wake up in the morning, we must create positive and empowering thoughts that will keep us energetic throughout the day. If we start our day with thoughts like “I am late”, “I don’t know what will happen in today’s meeting”, “The traffic is so bad.”, “The weather is so bad”, etc, we will lower our vibrations instantly.

Instead of feeling recharged and energetic, we will feel anxious and stressed about the day ahead. Our negative thoughts occur mostly because we are not aware. Practicing affirmations is training our mind to start the day with positive, loving, and empowering thoughts.

My morning routine comprises saying my affirmations for the day ahead, a session of yoga and practicing a gratitude exercise .

10 positive affirmations to begin the day with

Affirmations have a lot of power. When we affirm something, it becomes our reality over time. You can practice the following affirmations within one hour of waking up in the morning. 

“I am healthy, happy, and complete.”

“I love and approve of myself exactly as I am.”

“I attract loving people in my world.”

“I am at peace with myself and everyone around me.”

“All my relationships are harmonious.”

“I add value to the world through my work.”

“I am a magnet for Divine prosperity.”

“I am worthy of the very best in life.”

“I trust the process of life to bring me my highest good.”

“Life loves me. All is well in my world. Today is going to be a great day.”

How to practice affirmations?

You can write down these 10 affirmations on a notebook or on your Smartphone. While having your morning tea or coffee, open the page where you have written them.

Begin with the first affirmation. Say the words slowly and feel them deeply in your heart. Continue the same way for the other nine affirmations. You will experience a happy and peaceful feeling while saying them. 

Repeat the 10 affirmations again, this time a little faster with a smile on your face. Feel the Universe blessing you as you say each affirmation. This simple exercise will take a maximum of 5 minutes, which we all can spare.

Wrapping it Up

Choosing healthy thoughts with awareness is the kindest thing that we can do for ourselves. Positive affirmations in the morning are a great tool to be in a state of awareness and boost our positivity.  If you start practicing affirmations daily, it will soon become a habit and then a lifestyle. 

We are the Creators of our own reality. We create our reality through our thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds. Therefore, it is extremely important to train the mind to begin the day with positive thoughts.

Start your mornings with these 10 powerful affirmations and you will notice a significant change in your mindset within 2 weeks. If you want to read a beautiful book on affirmations, you can check our Louise Hay’s “You can Heal your Life.”

This post is a part of Blogging with a Purpose series in association with Blogchatter. My theme for this year is Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellness. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Kindness and Love - Two Magic Wands!

Kindness and Love are the two magic wands that we are bestowed with. Are we using them enough in our daily lives? 

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellness : Blogging with a Purpose #CauseAChatter

‘There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.’ –Richard Branson

Clarity of purpose makes every day beautiful, authentic, and worth living. Once we realize our gifts and decide to share them with the world, life seems a joyride. All of us are in this world to make it more beautiful by shining our light and spreading love. 

What is Blogging with a Purpose?

My blog Love, Laugh and Reflect came into being in 2014. I have been mostly writing about lifestyle, poetry, and fiction on the blog. In 2020, I decided to write on self-improvement so that I can share all the habits and rituals that have improved my physical, mental, and emotional health in the last year.

Through the power of the law of attraction, I came across Blogchatter’s initiative ‘Blogging with a Purpose’ last week. This is exactly what I was planning to do at the beginning of the year but did not find enough motivation to do it with enthusiasm. When I registered for it, I felt great to have clarity of purpose in blogging.

The Cause I am supporting

Without a doubt, I knew that I want to write about Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellness on my blog this year. I want to share all the rituals, habits, workouts, diets, anecdotes, books, apps that have helped me make a significant change in my life.

Before 2019, I used to take my health for granted. For me, exercise was limited to brisk walking and dancing. I was always down with cold and fever during seasonal change. I had to take vitamin supplements and visit the doctor’s clinic frequently. I had irregular sleep cycles and crazy mood swings. I used to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Life seemed like a struggle and the world seemed so unfair for all the setbacks I experienced.

I read a book by Louisa Hay, “You Can Heal your Life” which changed my perspective about the way I was living my life. I made a conscious choice to work on my health and wellness. I read a lot of books such as ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne, ‘The Power of our Subconscious Mind’ by Joseph Murphy, ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, The Monk who sold his Ferrariby Robin Sharma, etc which empowered me to bring some changes in my life.

My goal became self-improvement in all the 4 areas: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.

I started working on my Physical health because a healthy and fit body makes everything so better. I bought a yoga mat and Shilpa Shetty’s Yoga DVD. I was very stiff and weak when I started yoga. I never thought I can do backbends and side planks. But practicing yoga taught me immense patience- patience with my body, mind, and emotions. As I started getting better at yoga, I incorporated various forms of workouts to bring variety in my fitness routine. And my immunity improved so much that I don’t remember the last time I had to visit a doctor or take a painkiller. 

Mental wellness is about taking care of the mind - to be aware of what we are thinking and what we are saying to ourselves. For my mental health, I made a conscious choice to let only positive and inspiring content enter my mind. We often forget to take care of our mental diet. It is as important as the food we consume. I reduced watching news and reading articles that amplify negativity. I started using social media mindfully and began my mornings with positive affirmations. With time, my mind became more stable.

Emotional wellness is about taking care of the heart. Our heart is the place where we radiate love. If toxic emotions such as fear, hurt and envy accumulate there, we won’t be able to love others and ourselves. For my emotional health, I started practicing gratitude, acts of kindness, forgiveness, and spending quality time with my loved ones.

We are spiritual beings. We are Souls connected to the SuperSoul/Divine Energy/One Consciousness/God. Everything is temporary, including our human bodies. The only thing that is permanent is our Soul (as said by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita). Spiritual Wellness is about being aware of this Truth and staying connected to the Divine Energy through meditation or prayer.

Life is Beautiful!

My life started transforming in all the aspects when I stopped taking my health and wellness for granted.  I am a work in progress. Yes, there are some days when I get a little disordered and the old patterns tempt to return. But I don’t entertain them for more than a few hours!

Life is beautiful. What we think and feel from within manifests on the outside. The better our health and mindset become, the better life becomes. I am so exhilarated to blog with a purpose this year- to write about physical, mental, and emotional wellness. I hope you will join me in this journey!

Let’s get physically, mentally and emotionally fit in 2020!

P.S. If you want to blog with a purpose this year, register with Blogchatter right away!

Saturday, 4 January 2020

5 Ways to use Gratitude in your daily life

"Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for." ~ Zig Ziglar
We often tend to think of what is lacking in our lives instead of feeling happy about all that we have in our lives. It is the way we have been conditioned to think, perhaps by society, family, teachers or friends. And because it is only a thinking pattern, we can change it any day, any moment to live more fulfilling lives. 

According to the Law of Attraction, we attract those things that we constantly think about. Thoughts become things. Therefore, if we think of all the things that we have and be in a state of happiness, we will receive more things to be happy about. On the other hand, if we sulk about all the things that are lacking in our lives, we will have more things to sulk about. 

In order to change our thinking pattern, we can practice conscious daily Gratitude. It will boost our happiness and make us feel positive. Happier thoughts lead to a happy and healthy body. 

I have been using conscious Gratitude daily for over a year and it has changed the way I perceive life. Gone are those compulsive stressful and worrisome thoughts that made my days filled with anxiety. Now, I can see blessings, beauty, and positivity everywhere I look. 

I am sharing 5 ways to use Gratitude in your daily life so that you can feel happy and blissful. 

1. Count 10 blessings after you wake up in the morning

The best way to start your day is by reminding yourself of all your blessings. You can download a Gratitude App on your smartphone or do this exercise in a journal. Feel thankful for your talents, intelligence, health, home, family, friends, relationships, work, money, good health, food, water and anything that comes to your mind. Feel thankful for the marvels of Nature, music, books, movies, etc. 

When I started this exercise on my Gratitude App, initially I used to struggle in finding 10 blessings every day. But now I can find abundance of blessings. And trust me, you will find that too. 

2. End the day by feeling grateful for the best thing that happened during the day

Before you go to sleep, rewind your day in your mind and notice the best thing that happened. Say thank you for the best thing that happened during the day. With a smile and a content heart, go to sleep. Even on our worst days, there will be a ray of hope, a moment of positivity hiding somewhere that you need to find. 

When you start and end your day with gratitude, you will change the programming of your mind. Like a honeybee, you will start looking for the nectar in everything. And you will find more things to be grateful for. 

3. Feel grateful for being You

Every day, when you look at the mirror, take a moment to feel grateful for being you. It is you who is doing all the wonderful things for yourself - taking care of your health, earning a living, nurturing relationships, showing kindness to the world and so on. 

Instead of self-criticism, start being grateful for all the wonderful things that you do and have the potential to do. Be your biggest cheerleader! 
We need to love and be comfortable with the person we are living 24 7 - 'ourselves'. 

4. Make your relationships magical

Think about the 3 closest people in your life. Now, write down 5 reasons why you are grateful for each of them. When you start doing this exercise, you will feel overwhelmed with love. You can send a card to them listing the reasons why you are grateful for having them in your life. 

Often, we take our family and friends for granted. Practicing gratitude will make our relationships more magical and harmonious. 

5. Say 'thank you' before each meal

Pause for 5 seconds and say 'thank you' to the Universe before having your meal. There is the effort of so many people behind the food we consume - farmers, vegetable sellers, the person who cooks, etc. Feeling grateful towards all those people will help us enjoy our meal even more. 

As kids, we were taught to say a little prayer before having our meals. The intention was to energize the food with vibrations of gratitude. When we start feeling grateful for every meal that we have, we will train our minds to always be aware of our blessings. 

All these 5 practices have been personally tried and tested before recommending. I can vouch for the amazing results they will bring if you incorporate them into your life. Let's make 2020 a year of happiness, health, and well-being. Let's change the lens through which we look at life. Let's wear the lens of gratitude that will generate positive feelings within us.

 I wish you all a very happy, blissful, and prosperous new year!

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every person has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all people have some." ~ Charles Dickens

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Learning Literature with Purba : My Youtube Channel

Being an ardent lover of Literature, I always wanted to start my educational YouTube Channel so that I can share my knowledge on English Literature with others. On June, 2019, I qualified UGC NTA NET English in the first attempt with 63.33%. This strengthened my intention to start the channel "Learning Literature with Purba" so that I can help other UGC NET aspirants and students of English Literature.

I did my Bachelors in Microbiology but realized that writing is my calling. I pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing in English to hone my writing skills. After penning down 3 novels, I realized I want to study English Literature to have a better understanding of my craft. 

That was the moment I enrolled myself for a Masters in English course in IGNOU. The beautifully designed study material of IGNOU and my zest for learning helped me in understanding the various literary works, theories, and criticism.

After completing my Masters in 2018, I decided to devote 6 months of my life in studying for UGC NET English so that I can have a better and comprehensive knowledge of English Literature. I decided that when I will qualify for the exam, I will definitely start an education channel so that I can help other aspirants. Being an educator is indeed an enriching and humbling experience. 

The first video on T.S Eliot's "The Waste Land" is live on the channel. A new video will be uploaded every weekend on a literary work/author/literary movement/literary theory/literary device. 

If you are a lover or a student of Literature, do subscribe to my channel for amazing videos every weekend. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Serene Umiam Lake, Meghalaya

"I have Nature and Art and Poetry. And if that is not enough, what is enough?" ~Vincent Van Gogh

When we were traveling from Guwahati to Shillong, we encountered the beautiful, clean and serene Umiam Lake on the way. Umiam Lake (also called Barapani Lake) is a gorgeous man-made reservoir that is located about 15 kilometers from Shillong. 

We told our cab driver to halt the cab so that we could take a good view of the lake. Our cab driver told us that Umiam Lake was formed in Meghalaya after the construction of a dam for generating hydroelectric power. 

The mesmerizing blue Umiam Lake is surrounded by verdant East Khasi Hills. The beautiful panoramic sights is a treat for nature lovers like me.

As I gazed at the lake, I was bewitched by the serenity of the place. I could spend hours admiring the hues and sounds of Nature. 

The lake is encircled by dense coniferous forests. The colour of the sky and the lake were magically identical. The lush greenery amidst the cerulean blueness was like a beautiful embroidery work of Mother Nature. 

Visitors can also take a boat ride in the beautiful lake. As our cab was waiting, we had to cancel plans for boating. We decided to spend a few minutes, inhaling the immaculate beauty of the place. 

The native often comes to the Umiam Lake in search of grass and twigs. Our driver told us that during the summers, the shores of the lake are embellished by Gulmohar trees. During the winters, the water level of the lake recedes and the lake turns azure. We visited Meghalaya in December and so we were lucky to see the color-coordinated sky and lake.

Umiam Lake is untouched by chaos and cauldron. Therefore, if you surrender to the magic of the place, you will feel a plethora of peace and beauty washing over you. 

The biggest pollution that we suffer from, in the 21st century is the pollution of the mind. And when we spend a few quality minutes in such peaceful places, we get rid of the pollution and chaos of our own mind. Nature is indeed the best therapist a person can ever have. 

I fell in love with Meghalaya after spending a few minutes admiring the beauty of the Umiam Lake. It was like a soothing welcome hug from Mother Nature. 

I felt so blessed and peaceful for having one of the most tranquil experiences of my life. The true nature of our soul is Peace. And I felt so close to my inner Self. It was like a meeting with my own self, my own soul.

Finally, it was time to leave Umiam Lake and move towards Shillong. But I was happy with the realization that when I would be returning back to Guwahati, I will be able to visit the Lake again. 

We got into the cab and watched the Lake pass by. We soon reached the beautiful Shillong, endearingly known as Scotland of the East. I was excited to explore the beautiful places of Shillong and Cherrapunji in the forthcoming days. 

 Have you ever been enchanted by the serenity of a place while traveling?

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Exploring the Mawsmai Caves, Meghalaya

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." ~ Joseph Campbell

I have always wanted to go on a cave excursion to see what lies within the old caves. Being with Nature has always taught me something or the other. So, I could envision that an underground cave excursion would not only be an adventurous experience, but also a metaphorical journey. When I heard about Mawsmai Caves of Meghalaya, I was determined to explore the cave. And so was my father. So the next day, we both planned to explore the cave system of northeast India.  

Mawsmai Cave is located in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, about 6km from the main town of Cherapunji. 

It is one of the most accessible caves in Meghalaya that travelers can explore even without a guide. However, a sane mind and a courageous heart are needed for the underground excursion. 

Before taking the staircase to reach the cave, we had to buy tickets from the ticket counter. There was a board on which instructions to the visitors were clearly given. The map of the Mawsmai cave was also included on the board. 

We had to take the staircase to reach the cave opening. Plenty of tourists were taking photographs outside the cave. Seeing the spacious opening of the cave, no one can tell that it would soon squeeze into a narrow lane.

If there were 50 people outside the cave, a maximum of 5 people went inside the cave to explore it. We were told that the Mawsmai cave is a one-way narrow road. Tourists need to enter from one end and keep walking until they reach the other end. 

Although the cave looked gigantic, I was determined to explore it. We were told that the cave is lit with electricity. Therefore, we do not need to carry candles with us. Moreover, it meant that we can observe the colors and patterns of each and every rock formation. 

The cave looked beautiful and inviting. I saw a few college-goers entering the cave with a lot of enthusiasm. My father and I followed them after taking a few pictures. We knew that as the light inside the cave would be minimal, it will perhaps not be possible to take many pictures.

The weather was quite pleasant as it was a sunny day in December. I was excited to embark on the thrilling adventure of my life. 

Once we entered the cave, we noticed that the pathway is getting narrower. At some places, we had to bend and squeeze our bodies in order to get through. 

I realized that obese people would have a hard time exploring the cave because some passages are too narrow. Fitness is an important criterion to get through the smaller openings of the cave, without getting hurt. We also had to climb a few rock formations in order to walk forward. 

A few rock formations looked like the gigantic feet of elephants. There was no option of going back. The only way was to move forward with hope and courage in the heart. 

The rock formations glinted beautifully in the light. We could find water dripping from the tips of the rocks. Mawsmai Caves helped me understand the powerful force of Nature that created such hard limestones. 

As the realization dawned on me, I surrendered to the beautiful, mystifying force of Nature. And once I surrendered to it, the rest of the journey became much easier. 

I was no longer being desperate to come outside the cave.  Rather, I observed each and every stone formation without the fear of being trapped inside the cave. Yes, I was able to overcome my fear with every step I took. 

Although the length of the cave is only 150 meter, it feels like a long journey due to the narrow passages and gigantic rock formations that do not allow a person to walk faster. 

Finally, we noticed a beam of sunlight that made us squeal with delight. Once we came outside the cave, we couldn't help celebrate our successful cave excursion. My father and I took a selfie with the cave. It was indeed an unforgettable experience, a metaphorical journey that taught me so many important life lessons. 

When we are trapped in a problematic situation (cave), we often feel that it will never change (never-ending journey). But if we walk forward with hope and courage in the heart, we will notice the ray of light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time, if we enjoy each and every scene that we come across without cribbing about the problem, we will have great stories to tell later. 

We explored the nearby forest after the cave excursion. I knew that this underground experience will always stay with me, making me a better, patient, courageous, and resilient human being. I have always believed that Nature has answers to all our questions. Exploring the Mawsmai Caves gave me not only a beautiful experience that I can talk about but also provided answers to the questions I was contemplating during that time. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my cave excursion. In my next travel post, I will take you to another beautiful place in Meghalaya. You can also check out my photo essay on Laitlum, the Grand Canyon in Meghalaya. 

Have you ever gone for a cave excursion or embarked on any other adventure while traveling? 

Do you feel Nature is the best teacher?

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Photo Tour of Laitlum, Meghalaya

It was a beautiful December morning when I visited Laitlum grand canyon in Meghalaya. It took around 90 minutes in a cab from Shillong. Laitlum is located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The minute I alighted from the cab, I was mesmerized by the landscape in front of me. The curelean blue skies and the verdant greenery were bewitching my soul. I stood, mesmerized and speechless. The soothing wind pampered my hair and whispered softly in my ears to live the moment. 

It was the first time I ever visited a grand canyon. Laitlum means "end of hills" and this place offers the view of breathtaking azure mountains and steep winding stairways snaking their way down to the gorgeous valley. The sky was a beautiful canvas of fluffy cumulus clouds. 

Laitlum was not at all crowded. It is an ideal place for trekkers can explore the canyon by trekking from one end to another. It is extremely difficult to capture the raw beauty of Laitlum in camera. The place is nothing short of paradise. One needs to see the beauty through one's own eyes to believe that such a soothing place exists in North East India. 

As I kept looking at the azure mountains and the deep valley, I was overwhelmed with powerful emotions for the Creator who created this beautiful world. I could feel a sublime connection with Mother Nature. I could sense a deep harmony with every element of Nature...the mighty mountains, the modest valley, the jubilant sun, and the healing zephyr.

I felt blessed for the five senses that allow me to grasp the beauty of Nature. I felt immense love and gratitude as I kept gazing at the landscape. 

I thought about the villagers who stay in Laitlum. Such a peaceful existence they have! They are fostered by the raw beauty and spirit of Nature. William Wordsworth had rightly said in the poem Tintern Abbey: "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."

In the cities, we destroy Nature carelessly and selfishly. And what's the end result? Depression, Stress. Anxiety.

Whereas the people who live in the mountains and hills are so happy, peaceful and content. They allow Nature to guide them at every step. The people of Meghalaya give high priority to cleanliness. The roads are extremely clean. The people are polite, patient and hardworking. The women of Meghalaya run their own business and are sometimes, assisted by men. At every tourist stop, I could see independent women busy with their work. It was a heartwarming thing to witness. 

I love adventure especially when I am traveling. So, I trekked till I reached the white rock-like structure from where the view was incredibly magical. 

I fell so much in love with the place that I felt like staying there forever. I felt that I am wrapped in the arms of Mother Nature, safe and secure. Wherever my eyes traveled, there was only beauty and serenity. 

Such places are perfect for soul searching. As I inhaled the beauty of the place, I contemplated the journey and purpose of my life. I felt so blessed that this experience of my life will find its way in so many of my poems and stories. After all, as William Wordsworth had said, "Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility."

I was reminded of the theory of transcendentalists, a literary movement headed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. A human being must have three relationships in order to live better: relationship with one's own soul, relationship with Nature and relationship with the Super Soul/Divine Energy. How beautifully true! That's what I felt at that moment in Laitlum...perfectly at peace with my sync with my own soul, Nature, and Super Soul. 

Almost 2 hours passed in Laitlum and I must say that those 2 hours are one of the best hours of my life. Even now when I close my eyes, I can visualize the beautiful valley beckoning me. I had to travel to the next tourist spot, but I felt like staying for a few more minutes. My heart was not ready to leave the place. 

I sat on the grass and gazed at the mighty mountains and the modest valley. I have fallen so much in love with the place. I knew that no matter wherever I go or stay, this place will always stay with me. And a part of me will stay in this place.

Wordsworth had coined a beautiful term called "spots of time" to define a moment when time seems to stop, senses get heightened and life gets a deeper meaning. I am sure that I experienced one such moment in Laitlum.

I was rejuvenated with positive energy. Every cell of my body felt healthy and happy. What a joy it felt being alive at that moment!

Someone has truly said, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away." With a jubilant heart, I said goodbye to the beautiful grand canyon of Meghalaya and headed towards my next destination.

I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of Laitlum. In the next travel post, I am going to take you to another beautiful place of Meghalaya.

Have you been to Meghalaya?

Which is your favorite place in Meghalaya? Let me know in the comments below. 

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