Did you know why I picked ‘abundance’ as my theme for February’s gratitude post? Last night, I started writing down my list of things to be grateful for this past month and what do you know? I couldn’t stop!
When January ended, I wrote a gratitude post listing how my month was, in relation to my vision board. Just the act of writing the post filled me with such joy that I wondered if I would have anything similar to that in February. Being a shorter month, I assumed there would be lesser to be thankful for. Oh how wrong I was! If anything, February has given me far more than I ever anticipated.
I started writing it all down and I have 17 things to be grateful for. 17! I figured I should stop there before it turns into some sort of an epic like the Ulysses or the Mahabharata!
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February marks 17 years since I met V. I’ve written a couple of times about what this relationship means to me and I am always, always grateful that we have made this work for over a decade and a half. If it weren’t for him, I’d still be this screaming banshee and life at home would be a miserable, stressful zone!
Gy has been in a theatre hobby group at school for the past year. It’s something she valiantly resisted joining at first but with a bit of coaxing, decided to give it a go. Earlier this month, she performed a role play of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at school, in the lead role as Dorothy and was appreciated for her dialogue delivery and expression! Then later, her whole team performed a street play on stage where they absolutely knocked the audience for a six. My heart is filled to bursting today.
Still not managing a regular routine on this front, although it was slightly better than January. However, there is one thing I have observed. My approach to exercise should be for health, not weight loss. It’s been such an eye opener.
Being mindful about what I eat and how many steps I get in daily on my FitBit (which has stopped syncing again!) have both helped in changing my view of health. More to come in the months to follow. Extremely grateful for the forces that help this happen.
Speaking of food, we discovered a couple of new places to eat out, as a family, in Bangalore and I loved everything about them! The food, the ambience, the service- all top notch. So gratifying to see the commitment people pour into their passion.
And still speaking of food, I learnt something very interesting. Stay with me while I explore this. Cooking isn’t my passion. As in, it’s not the first thing I turn to when I am worried or stressed. I usually clean and like a fanatic! But this month, I began to view food with interest. I’ve always loved working with recipes because the precision calms my brain. I also love planning so I learnt to plan my weekly menus. This shifted my approach to food! Did I say I was grateful?
Although I cut back on daily writing on Medium, I never stopped writing this month. I was either writing in my diary or on the notes app on my phone daily. At some level, I wanted to go back to writing for the joy it brought me and that happened beautifully this month.
The good news? I got ideas a-plenty for blog posts, a novel, newsletter content and even social media posts. Who knew that writing would trigger other aspects of creativity too?
*Psst: My newsletter goes out on the first of each month. Sign up here: Shailaja’s Newsletter. You will LOVE it. (At least I think you will).
I finished one book this month, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely Fine’ and absolutely LOVED it! This book is a debut by the author and you wouldn’t know it if you read it. Each word is so beautifully crafted and so eloquently expressed! I was in love! (Kindle version here)
Writers, creative people, artists: GO BUY THIS BOOK! NOW!
All that feeling about being blocked, unable to write, wondering if the creative life is for you? You NEED this book to break the shackles on your mind. I have highlighted so many parts of the text that my Kindle may start frowning at me soon. Nice Kindle, good Kindle, don’t do that, okay?
February was fantastic on the friend front. I managed to meet 4 people, one each week and caught up with a few over long, beautiful phone calls too.
Each meeting reinforced in my heart, why I am friends with these folks. They are each, in their own way, kind, understanding, compassionate and supportive. I grew up with very few, close friends and today, when I look around me, I am blessed to know so many friends, thanks to my work online.
If this isn’t a sign of goodness and humanity, I don’t know what is.
A crucial habit I began this month, was leaving my phone outside my room at night. It gets charged in the study while I sleep without disturbance. Therefore, it’s not the first thing I see in the morning or the last thing I see before bed. For me, this was a big step and I am so happy to have made this happen!
If I learnt one important thing from February, it was my ability to grow up and let go. I was telling a friend that I have stopped taking offence at what people say. She snorted in disbelief. And I don’t blame her, because it’s hard. It’s very, very, very hard.
But it happened.
What I may perceive as a slight/curt reaction from a person only shows me that fraction of a second of their day. I have no idea what triggered it. I have no clue what battles they are fighting. How can I then, take offence at what may have been a mis-directed bit of anger?
A lot of reading and speaking with my dad on this topic has helped me grow on a personal level. The one thing I have the power to give is love. Love, compassion and understanding. Why should I deny anyone that, even the ones who disagree with me?
Life is short. It’s important to focus on the things that matter. Don’t you agree?
Blogging and Social Media
I’ve left the best for last, because, honestly, I love my blog and what it’s been doing for me these last few months.
I took a deep breath and plunged into the idea of doing Live videos to answer blogging-related questions and oh my goodness, people loved it! The success of that pushed me to start my own YouTube Channel to post blogging tips and right now I am wondering if I am crazy or stupid, or both.
You can subscribe to my videos here, if you want: Shailaja V on YouTube
Tailwind’s Plus plan, which I migrated to at the end of January, has done wonders for my blog’s traffic as well as my productivity, since it frees up my time to focus on other things. Oh and I landed my first-ever referral through the site just yesterday! yay!
I also broke through a huge mental block and created my first-ever PDF for my e-mail subscribers in February and now I am all set to work on more in the coming months!
A couple of people have reached out to discuss blog/social media related opportunities and I am so excited at what’s in store!
A very dear friend told me something about how my strengths appear to lie in the way I connect with people and that, for me, was probably the best gift from February.
So now, it’s your turn. How was your February? Did you find good things to be grateful for? I certainly hope so. Let me know.