Between two Valleys

A Poem by me

How can you remember me every time
Through the changes in seasons
And time, my spirit and my mind
The wind that caresses my skin
Has always been there for me
I feel free in a field of a thousand daisies
In the laps of the natural world
There is nothing to worry about
No one to think about
Just you and the whirlwind
Of thoughts and of
The sun and the wind
Every time I hear a shatter
Of my heart
You better believe
There’s always something to put it back together
That’s the art

Of all those things that breathe the clouds
Drink the rain
Live under the sun
Through the pain
They rejuvenate under the stars
We are all the same
If they can bloom time and time again
Why should I be so afraid?
Sometimes I feel a spark of a little doubt that starts in my fingers
It travels at the speed of light through my nerves
It turns into a fear then explodes into a panic
Its the oldest story of my childhood
But being suspended between two valleys

The scariest of the winds inspire me
And they don’t scare me they start a movement in my toes
And I know where this goes
The fear disappears
There is only a serenity
I have the natural energy

Around me
It sets me free
And it binds me

I’m always tethered to the ground
But my head is in the clouds.

(This is a poem that I wrote for my spoken word poetry podcast. Link in the menu. :D)

Ways to become one with nature .

Nature is a thriving prosperous entity all around us. And because it is always around us, at times we can get so deep in our own heads that we forget about the healing power of nature.

Nature can make our lives so much easier.

Just think about it when you see a beautiful sunset or a picture of a serene lake you always feel better. The beauty of nature is a universally delightful melody. And when we harmonize with nature, everything will start to make sense. Mother Nature has answers to all of our problems no matter how tiny or how grand they may be.

6 things to think about when you’re down

  1. You are heard and communicated with, at all times. (You just have to listen)
  2. Think of seasons, no rainy day lasts forever, so whatever is hurting you at the moment remember it will change it has to, by the eternal design of nature it has to, there can be no other way.
  3. Think of your favourite element, windy days, soft rain, beautiful ocean, sitting by a fireplace or walking in a forest. Just close your eyes and think about any of these scenarios whichever one makes you the most calm.
  4. Think of all the flowers that whither and the leaves that die and fall, they always come back, they always flourish again, so can you.
  5. Think of the summer, it never fails you, it will get you going there are always warm memories. Think of nature they’ll come rushing back and uplift your mood.
  6. Get inspired. Just walking in a park or wandering in a garden can bring out ideas that you never knew you had. And if you have an idea but don’t know how to go about it, nature will tell you, though her signs are subtle when you open yourself to this earth you will never again be oblivious to the forces.
In New Delhi, Photograph by me

Here are ways in which you can start to become one with nature.

  • Observe Nature even if it is for 10 minutes, go outside or look out your window and just observe, what is the colour of the sky today, is there sunshine? What do the trees look like today? Is it raining? What sounds do you hear? Can you hear birds chirping? Just observe.
  • Listen to Nature– listen to the different birdcalls throughout the day, if you live in a city like me it can be hard to listen to anything but traffic but every now and then, usually around 4 pm all the birds start singing and they are always singing at dawn. When you try and start to listen, soon your energy will align perfectly with nature and you won’t even have to consciously try, you will just hear nature in its glory.
  • Show Nature that you are no longer oblivious- Just touch a tree, look at the sky and walk in a park and respect your surrounding environment.
  • Add a little bit of Nature to your house- Buy a small plant that is fairly easy to care for, or add floral scents to your home, paintings, drawings or pictures of beautiful landscapes. Be aware of this beauty at all times. Keep reminding yourself so it becomes part of you.
Somewhere in Switzerland- Photograph by me

When you start aligning with nature, something in you will shift, a lightness, a form of heightened sensitivity and a greater appreciation of beauty. You will become grounded, calm and more creative.

It will ensure that your health is better, your mental state is more serene, your habits will improve and you will feel lighter. And when you become this way your vibrations will raise.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”

Henry David Thoreau

“The Earth has music for those who listen.”

William Shakespeare

“Nature is imagination itself.”

William Blake

Nighttime Rituals for beginners

Rituals can be hard to stick to, it’s like you’re riding high when you first plan out your routine and then get demotivated to keep it up, as the stress of the day gets in the way.

But little rituals can bring such calm and tranquility if you stick with them. They are this moments of peace that you give yourself, something you reward yourself with each night.

Here are a few starter ideas for an easy ritual for anyone looking to start one.

  1. An hour and a half before going to bed wind up emails and social media habits. Light a candle and start getting ready to enter your zone of slumber.
  2. Dim the lights and put on some music, any kind of music that brings you peace-jazz, classical, folk whatever soothes you.
  3. Slip into something comfortable and carry out your nighttime rituals- brushing your teeth, taking off makeup or taking a shower, moisturizing etc.
  4. Make some chamomile tea, chamomile tea is an incredible nighttime tea, it has a very subtle aroma and doesn’t really taste like anything but chamomile is said to be a calming ingredient. Or have some red wine while listening to your calming music.
  5. When you finally lie down in bed, be grateful for at least one thing. Start slow be thankful for one thing and when you get into this habit start being grateful for at least 5 things in your life.
  6. Wish the sky goodnight with its waning or waxing moon.

I know this can seem like it’s a long routine but it isn’t it can be compressed all you need is 20 minutes, if you can’t find that much time you can do this in 10 minutes as well with 3 key elements. Turn off social media, have some water, and skincare that’s it if that’s all you have time for.

You can be grateful for at least one thing even as you’re dozing off, just whisper thanks..

Three books to escape into….

Books can be a great way to explore themes, lands and feelings we haven’t yet explored. Sometimes we read just because we have to or because someone told us “you have to read this” I personally can’t stand that, because that story may not be for me. But when you find a book that marks you, a story that transforms you, writing that transports you, you often wonder- “how have I not read this before?”

Here are a few books to escape into, (with short summaries) so you can decide for yourself if that’s a story for you. (If you haven’t already read them of course.)

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again

Daphne du Maurier

The most beautiful part of this book is the atmosphere it creates with its words. The beauty of nature, the estate Manderley in Cornwall, the silent eerie and mysterious vibration that is sensual in its writing. It will transport you.

It is cinematic in it’s progression and that makes sense as it has been adapted into movies, it just has that cinematic quality.

Summary: A young American woman (the narrator) on holiday in Monte Carlo marries a wealthy Englishman Mr. Maximilian “Maxime” de Winter, after a brief encounter. She is often told by the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers about Rebecca, Maxime’s first wife. By being compared to Rebecca again and again the narrator feels less than, and isolated, she constantly tries to impress and please while being psychologically pressed by Mrs. Danvers. The story and its characters are haunted by Rebecca and her unseen presence.

There is an air of mystery around Rebecca and the lives of all characters in the book, a strange montage of lurking past and obscure future, it is a great book to sink into.

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

This is my favourite book. It can be a slow-read even though it is a short book. But there is no comparison to any other book. This book stands at the top of lyrical writing that just plays with the heartstrings. It is a classic for a reason.

It creates a theatrical background and you can’t help but get deeply attached to how human the characters are. Whether they are good humans or bad they are so flawed that it makes this story that much more heart-wrenching.

Men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Summary: This book follows the lives of Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanon in an entangled story about love, wealth, class, glamour and dreams. It is a whole world in its own right. It is sheer poetry and a statement about class, new and old money and glamourous 1920s lifestyle. The hero Gatsby is a hopeless dreamer, romantic who builds himself from the ground, looking for the lost love of his life-Daisy and navigating the high society, trying to build real relationships and gain real respect.

  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf (1931)

This book is harder to describe as it doesn’t really have a plot. But it is a kaleidoscope of memories, the sea, lives and feelings in soliloquies by the 6 characters. This will be hard to read if you do not enjoy stream of consciousness, however, if you do, this is a great way to escape.

I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.

Virginia Woolf

Tip: you can enjoy The Waves better if you don’t try to make sense of everything, see it as a thought process and let the words paint you an experience.

Best fragrances with Jasmine at their heart.

Jasmine is a beautiful flower that grows in tropical and subtropical regions. It has a very strong and heady scent making it a perfect accord to perfumes.

I get a warm, dizzy feeling with this scent, it feels like being in a late July daze. Because, it has a part in my childhood, I can recall summers filled with this scent in the south of India.

Every flower has its own symbolic significance. Jasmine has its symbolism rooted in romance, love, beauty and sensuality. These little flowers bloom at night. Perfumes that have very dominant jasmine notes are perfect to wear at night. It especially has the vibe of balmy summer evenings.

They are a great reminder of summer as they’re tropical flowers and they have a warm scent emanating the essence of summer heat, making their scent a sensual and cozy fragrance to wear in winters as well.

Here are 4 fragrances with prominent jasmine notes

  • J’adore by Christian Dior

This fragrance was made in 1999, it is very strong and heady and has Jasmine at its heart notes. It’s a feminine and sensual fragrance. There are several versions of J’adore including an Intense version.

  • Gabrielle Essence by Chanel

This fragrance came out in 2019 and it also has Jasmine as one of it’s heart notes, it gives a very warm feeling, its indescribable in how sensual it feels on wearing it on a gloomy day. It’s strong but delicate enough to wear it during day time as well.

  • L’Interdit by Givenchy

This fragrance was originally made in 1957 for Audrey Hepburn. It is noted in several fashion, history and cinema icon books that it was her signature scent. There have been several new versions of this fragrance.

  • Chanel N0.5

This is the most celebrated and popular fragrance. It came out in 1921 and is the most sold fragrance of all time and It has Jasmine at its heart. But this one is stronger than all other Jasmine fragrances. It’s very concentrated and is immediately recognizable and a very intense fragrance. A classic.

There are many other perfumes with jasmine notes, however, I find these particular ones to be the most sensual ones.

If you are someone not big on perfume but do love the smell of jasmine. Several natural essential oil roll-ons can be used instead.

Every perfume smells different on everyone -which one will you like the most will depend on your skin and your natural scent, but all these perfumes have an intense jasmine essence.

10 positive poems to relax and read

Poetry is the most beautiful flare that language can have. It’s a writer’s most creative tool. It’s the most sentimental that words can be. There is a poem for everything. For seasons, for a gloomy day or for a random Sunday. There is nothing too unpleasant or strange to put in a poem. The right poems with the right moods just fall in harmony perfectly together.

So, when poems are describing or exploring things and concepts that are beautiful to begin with, it makes reading them that much more lovely.

Poems that explore the subject of love, dreams, or when they describe the sheer aesthetic beauty of nature or a person it can really bring a smile to your face.

photographed by me

Here are 10 poems to read when you want some beautiful words just for yourself.

  1. The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

This poem creates a calming visual imagery, I find poems with nature imagery to be the most beautiful as they immediately play in our minds like a painting.

“And I shall have some peace there,

for peace comes dropping slow

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow….”

2. I Wandered Lonely as a CloudDaffodils‘ by William Wordsworth

This poem creates a beautiful image it paints with words of the obvious beauty that nature has to offer. It’s a light read and creates just the most delightful image.

“For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

3. The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is another poem with nature imagery but it is not about a person looking out on nature in marvel but nature itself flowing with it’s timeless divinity. It is a sublime poem about things much bigger than us much more powerful than us, forces that have eternal beauty.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
   To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
   But I go on for ever.

4. Song of a Dream by Sarojini Naidu

This is a meditation in poetry. It is composed in such a delicate and positive way you can’t help but feel calm when you read it.

“And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,
And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,
And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed……”

5. Que serais-je sans toi? by Louis Aragon

What would I be without you? is a lovely, romantic French poem. There are many translations available and videos reciting this poem in French with subtitles.

“Qui parle de bonheur a souvent les yeux triste

N’est-ce pas un sanglot que la déconvenue

Une corde brisée aux doigts du guitariste

Et pourtant je vous dis que la bonheur existe ….”

Translation:

Who speaks of happiness often has sad eyes/isn’t disappointment a sob?/a broken string in the fingers of a guitarist/ and still I am telling you that happiness exists..

6. “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

This is a motivational and sweet poem about hope.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

7. Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? by William Shakespeare

This is one of my favourite poems as this speaks of summers. It is alluring in the atmosphere it creates.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;….”

8. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

This poem will empower you, it is strong and a force in the way it reads. It’s great to read for some motivation.

“Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise…”

9. Dreams by Langston Hughes

This is a short but powerful and positive poem from the Harlem Renaissance.

” Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.”

10. A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

This is a short poem about love and the happiness that comes with being in love.

“My heart is like a rainbow shell
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
                  Because my love is come to me.”

All of these poems are widely available online. These are short and sentimental to read again and again. They are filled with beautiful poetic tools and of course many interpretations.

Poetry can be calming to read and poems like these that have something positive about them are lovely to read before going to bed or after waking up.

Scents of Tranquility

We all feel low from time to time. When I feel the blues I find aromatherapy to be a quick fix, an instant mood booster. Though it may be temporary but most of the times what we need, is few hours of serenity to calm the mind to brainstorm solutions and a relaxed state of mind helps us think better and panic less.

I personally found that aromatherapy calms my mind, lifts my mood and helps me deal with my anxiety and panic-attacks.

Beautiful scents immediately take us to a specific time in our lives. I like to describe it this way- scent takes us on a journey to nostalgia now it may be good or bad but, when a good memory associated with a scent comes to us it’s delightful to be taken on the trip of aromatherapy . A specific cologne or perfume can remind us a specific person, a specific place, specific memory from childhood etc.

Note: Only do this if you are not allergic to fragrance. If you are on medication or have a specific health condition, please consult a professional.

Here are a few truly calming scents perfect after a stressful day.

  1. Lavender

You knew this was coming, lavender is the first scent that comes to mind when we talk about aromatherapy. Lavender is believed to calm down the nerves and promote sleep. It can help with stress. Personally this scent works perfectly for me it sends me in a daze. It’s subtle but it works like sleep it slowly comes to you overpowers you and can make you feel calm. But it can be heady so, start slow with how much lavender you incorporate into your nighttime rituals.

2. Eucalyptus

Often used in balms and incense. It can promote relaxation, and help with a blocked nose and cold symptoms. Eucalyptus is quite strong so a little goes a long way. A lot of yoga studios use this during power yoga sessions.

3. Rose

Rose is the fragrance that most people have some memory with. A very common flower, a symbol of romance and beauty. So, if you’ve gotten a whiff of fresh roses on a beautiful day and it made you feel calm then, this would be a good choice. It can help with headaches and enhance mood.

4. Neroli

This is a bit rare because it’s such a specific scent that you may not have a memory with yet, however, it has a great relaxing scent that can help in enhancing mood. It is used a lot in spas and aromatherapy specific massages.

Blush Flowers-Photo by me.
Lavender From Canva

How to use these fragrances

  • The most common way is by using Essential oils and diffusers. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil and dilute it in two spoons of water pour it on the top of the oil burner and set the tealight candle inside. Slowly it will heat the oil and water solution and spread the scent in the room. This is the best way to start using aromatherapy as you can figure out from a distance if this works for you.
  • Perfume, wearing perfumes/colognes is a personal form of self expression but if you find a specific scent that really calms you down then you use perfumes or perfume oils.
  • Pillow Sprays, these are a bit more subtle and faint but spraying them on your pillow can create a very delicate sense of aroma. Ideally all natural/organic and clean pillow sprays are recommended. Like natural distilled waters with lavender/rose extracts. Because they are safer for the skin.
  • Candles are the most common accent in aromatherapy as they are easy to find, last long and look aesthetic as well.
  • Bath or shower products if you enjoy taking showers or baths before going to bed then soaps, shower gels, shampoos with calming scents can make your bath experience feel like a spa. But this isn’t great if your skin is allergic to fragrance but if not. It can definitely help.
Photographed by me at the Fragonard Museum in Paris.

Scents are personal and your senses will immediately tell you if you like something or not and if it works for you or not, as scents create an instant emotional reaction. Scents add a great feeling of personality and calmness to the home as well. We can all use calming down and any way that helps even a little with calmness is worth a try.

Rituals for Winter

There are days when you feel down and not up for anything. When days feel like evenings and evenings like night. The days when you can hear the loud winds and rustling of twigs. It can feel unsettling and lonely. But it has it’s own kind of beauty. I have always disliked winters but appreciating them makes me enjoy summer that much more it elevates the real joy to greater heights.

It’s almost always worse when it starts raining on a cold winter day. You can feel a shiver down your spine. Here are a few tips to make gloomy winter days comforting.

Somewhere in London photograph by me.

Rituals for a Gloomy Day

  1. Lack of sunshine always brings me down, makes me feel irritated and uncomfortable, so on days like those it’s important to remember and remind yourself with gratitude of the warmth you have in life. The comfort of home.
  2. Great time to try out some winter delicacies like warm soups or spicy recipes to change your day.
  3. Grab a good book or watch a great movie you’ve always wanted to stream.
  4. Surround yourself with warm colours. Red, Maroon, Burgundy, Plum. This is also a great way to get into the festive season.
  5. Create an ambience of warmth and comfort with soft cozy lights, scented candles, music.
  6. Do any ritual that reminds you of your childhood.

Here are some great songs that go with gloomy days

I’m not including Christmas tracks because that is a dedicated list in its own right.

  • California Dreamin’- (any version is good but I personally prefer Nancy Sinatra’s version)
  • Stormy Weather-Harold Arlen
  • Solitude-Billie Holiday
  • La Javanaise- Serge Gainsbourg
  • Old Money- Lana Del Rey
  • Various Storms and Saints- Florence + The Machine

Winter can be a lonely time especially these days but moments like those can be inspiring to create art. Think of things that help you to feel warm and as a result others as well.

Self-care tips for Winter

  • Take care of yourself by drinking lots of water and keeping hydrated in winters we tend to drink less water but we need it that much more.
  • Try to add spices to your cooking, baking and beverages. Add spices like pepper, paprika, turmeric, nutmeg and ginger.
  • Do cardio to keep warm or go for a run.
  • Take warm showers/baths moisturize and add some great winter scents. Warm woody perfumes with spicy accords or powdery perfumes with notes of sandalwood or go sweeter with Christmas themed scents like vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine and read a good book. Or watch classic comedies.
  • Dress in your best winter style there’s nothing like a cozy sweater.
In New Delhi photographed by me.

Usually in winters I read about summer and reminisce about hot July nights but lately I’ve been trying to embody the spirit of each season so I find myself reading about winter even more, listening to music inspired by winter, and trying to find the best ways to make winters as comfortable as they can be.

Candles and warmth photo by me.

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.

Victor Hugo

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

Remember no winter lasts forever. This way you’ll find the best in it and note that Spring is always waiting to greet you.

take a walk right now…

Walking is such a simple yet effective form of exercise not just for the body but for the mind.

Walking is a great way to be somewhere and nowhere at the same time. A moment with yourself. There’s nothing a power walk in fresh air cannot solve.

Reasons you should consider taking a walk right now……

  1. It’s an incredible step towards a healthier life. Walking for the sake of walking makes you energetic, active and refreshed.
  2. Inspiration will come to you. I can’t count the number of poems and song ideas have come to me while on a walk. So whatever it is you need inspiration with it will come to you.
  3. Being in nature is a form of accessible therapy, a cathartic tool you carry with yourself wherever you go.
  4. You will feel more aware, more present in your body.
  5. It is a sensual experience, you can feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your cheeks, the drizzle on your skin, the grass beneath you, you can smell the flowers or the petrichor if it has just rained, you can listen to the sound of the birds and obviously see all the little pretty things nature has to offer each day.
  6. Zone out, I used to walk just to listen to music, and listen to music just to walk, It is a great way to zone out and decompress.

A little afternoon interlude

Can you feel your energy draining around 3pm? We all get that hazy feeling when we start to feel lazy and want to drift into sleep, especially these days when most people are working from home or are in lockdown.

You may feel “I’m going to take a nap” and then you end up waking up in the evening, feeling lethargic, lazy and lacking in energy to do anything especially exercise.

Here are a few things to do after lunch to avoid that afternoon haze

  1. Right after lunch, have some green tea don’t lie down. This is a healthy habit to feel alert and aid in healthy weight loss. It can be tempting to lay down and drift into sleep but this disrupts the sleep cycle, by falling into this cycle you will find it harder to fall asleep at night and as a consequence wake up late and repeat this pattern all over again. I’m trying to break this pattern right now and it’s hard and it needs dedication however, I have done this before and it really works.
  2. Around 4pm indulge in your dose of caffeine, this is a good time to have coffee or tea, as it won’t keep you up at night. This is what has helped me from napping.
  3. However, don’t be worried to take a nap if you really feel like you need it. Keep it short, no more than 30 minutes. Naps are beneficial and they refresh and reset your brain however, sometimes we don’t really need them we are just tempted, so our naps turn to a long period of sleep that can slow you down.
  4. Plan an evening workout, cardio, or slow stretches, walks, dancing whatever makes you feel energetic.
  5. When in doubt look for music or short clips online that interest you and motivate you, something so interesting that you forget about your laziness.

You will feel so much more energised with this little change, and find time that you forgot you had. Afternoons can be calm and beautiful, plenty of extra time to do the things you never find time to do. Especially during these times…