Category Archives: life

I claim Elder-ship. Will you join me?

I had the great fortune to attend the Women Deliver Conference 2016 in Copenhagen from May 16-19, 2016.  The experience was life changing. I saw and met so many people working on the huge problems that face our world from child marriage to female mutilation to gender violence prevention.

I am very hopeful that the world can heal from these epidemics and that smart and dedicated people are working to solutions.  In my own way, I am also working globally and you can see all about my work here www.maverickcollective.org.

One of the more memorable events was when I met Hina Jilani, one of The Elders.  I had heard of this amazing group of people and never thought I would ever meet one of them, let alone in a small group.  Nelson Mandela created The Elders and said, “The Elders can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes.  They will reach out to those who most need their help.  They will support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair.”

WOW!  Such an amazing mission.

So I became very jealous of THIS mission.

I want to be one of The Elders …. then I realized that I AM an Elder.  I am 62 years old, and that is certainly old enough to be an elder.  I can adopt the mission and work in ways that support the stated mission.  I may not be able to speak to heads of state, but I can speak to the people with whom I come into contact and I can attempt to create a culture of peace.
I can start within my own life, and seek to do no harm in action and word while accepting my humanness and forgiving myself when I inadvertently hurt another.

How can YOU, embody the mission of The Elders in your life?

Can you embody the tenants in your family?

Can you accept your own wisdom and begin to act and speak in ways that support humanity?

I hope to be able to report to you in the future about some of the projects that may come my way that will enable me to be an Elder in thought and spirit and behavior and word.

Love & Light,

Indrani Goradia

Feeling abandoned and unappreciated at work

Indrani wrote a blog the other day about a saying we hear all too often …. “Same ol’ same ol’, nothing ever changes.” You are most likely saying right now, “Yep, I say this all of the time at work.” So I ask you, “Why are you saying this? Why are you feeling this way?”

Read Indrani’s full blog here …..

When I ask these questions to the caregivers at women’s shelters, they often share that they feel unappreciated at work, or feel abandoned by their bosses or co-workers. When they share an idea to make a positive change at work, many times they are ignored. If a change IS made, the work environment changes for a short time, then goes back to the same ol’ same ol’ place.

I’ve also discussed this feeling with administrators and supervisors of women’s shelters and organizations. They have tried to make positive changes for their staff, but the staff members don’t seem to appreciate the changes, and respond with skepticism and criticism. Hmmmm, so where do we go from here?

Speaking from experience of working in law enforcement and private investigations for almost 30 years, I completely understand these feelings on both ends. Every day I went to work, the same problems and issues were a constant battle. Someone would make a positive change for a week, and then it would go back to the same ol’ same ol’ way. So when does the responsibility shift onto us? When do I say, “I’m going to change my attitude and be grateful I have a job, and be the positive change.”

If you belong to an organization that you believe needs our help and training, please contact us at info@indranislight.org. We have a training class called the Caregiver Project, in which we educate and train the staff and administrators on how you can make positive changes in your work environment that can be permanent.

Here’s a short video that summarizes our project:

Please check in with us in the comments below about what your work environment is like right now.  Are YOU trying to make a positive change?  Or are you waiting for others to make the change.  Just curious.

Please share this with your co-workers and friends.  We would love your feedback.

Love and Light,

Amy Dier | Director of Education & Training
Indrani’s Light Foundation

Rum Raisin Ice Cream is My Comfort Food

Rum-Raisin-Ice-Cream-Recipe-ImageI do not recall exactly when I discovered Rum Raisin Ice Cream. I think it was when I was living in New Jersey as a new bride and my husband brought it home from the store. I believe he said, “Taste this,” and he fed me a spoon of this nectar and I must have screamed and yelped, because he looked scared! (My brand of extroversion tends to be loud. I am often over the top in my enthusiasm and I tend to scare people).

So all these years of “sweet married life” later, my hubby will bring me rum raisin ice cream and I still squeal! Often times if we happen upon an ice cream store, he will ask for it on my behalf, while I am reading the favors on the wall.

I LOVE rum raisin ice cream. I also love RUM CAKE! I grew up on rum cake in Trinidad and whenever I think of the glorious cakes my mom used to make, I smile. My brother makes a great rum cake and this is what he gives me for Christmas every year.

Imagine MY absolute delight when I walked into “Neuhaus Company” the other day and saw that they had RUM CAKE ICE CREAM! (Yep! I squealed, in the store, on Madison Avenue, in Manhattan!). My extroversion is always ready to show its enthusiasm.

I was thinking… “Maybe it has raisins it in also!” So I asked for a taste. The sweet young man took a plastic spoon, smiled at me, reached into the appropriate bin and scooped out a HUGE taste. He ceremoniously reached over the tall counter and gave me the spoon. My eyes never left the bulging scoop of ice team balancing precariously on the edge of the tiny spoon. I carefully took it from his fingers and put it in my mouth as I closed my eyes….

And I ran to the trash and spat it out!
It was awful.
I did not like Rum Cake Ice cream at all!
I did not like it on a spoon. I would not like it on the moon.
I cannot tell you how much I disliked that ice cream.
I thanked the young man and bought some chocolates, which I loved, and ate one to get the taste of the rum Cake ice cream out of my mouth. Then as I walked down Madison into the cold and blustery day, I knew I had the makings of a blog post.

So here goes …..

Let us suppose that you meet a great looking guy and he is everything you wished for, and he seems to feel the same way about you. He made you feel safe, secure, protected, loved and cherished. You were all warm and fuzzy inside as you pondered a life with this man.

Then one day, as you two are having a lovely day, out of the clear BLUE …. He hits you, or verbally berates you, and you are stunned!

You look at him and he seems the same, his features are the same, his voice sounds the same but the flavor of human coming out of his mouth is horrible, distasteful and nasty, and you need to escape.

Let’s say you DO leave. You were strong enough to leave. A few days pass and he calls to apologize and gives some very sound reason for his nasty behavior, and you go back to him.

That is like me going back to the trash and picking up that nasty rum cake ice cream and eating it because I have told myself that I like rum cake, AND I love rum raisin ice cream ….. So I SHOULD love RUM CAKE ice cream. I force myself to swallow that distasteful ice cream because of some strange reasoning that I make up in my head.

Let me be clear. I know that a person is more important than ice cream. I also know that YOU are too special and lovely to accept nasty behaviors from ANY person. If you were abused as a child and you think that love looks like abuse, think again.

WATCH my TEDxTalk here:

As an adult you have the power to set boundaries that you could not set as a child.
Set your boundaries. They will protect you. When you have clear and clean boundaries, you will know in a flash what is and is not good for you. Try it.

Love and light.

Indrani

(P.S.  Did you like my TEDxTalk?  Please share it with your friends and family.  Let’s start spreading the word to live in peace within our four walls at home.   http://bit.ly/1SMK1NZ)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/indranislight/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Indranis_Light

Instagram:  liveabrighterlife

 

When it’s NOT your fault…Do not accept the blame.

stop-565609_640I know how to use a pump at the gas station. I have been doing it for 33 years.  So when I pull up at a pump, exit my car, open my gas tank and insert my credit card, I KNOW what to expect.

This is what happens

Is this credit or debit?
Push the button next to the choice.

Enter Zip code on the keypad below
I punch in the Zip code that I have had for 20 years!

I know what happens next ….
The screen tells me to fill up with the fuel of my choice…
Except when it does NOT and kicks me back to the “Insert Card Here” screen.

Oh, I think to myself I must have made a mistake, my brain says, you did not make a mistake… But the screen tells me to start again, so I start again.

Credit or debit?
Enter Zip code.
Screen again kicks me back to “Insert Card here.”

Dear Reader, now I am perplexed, so I try again 3 more times and on the third time I slow down my process at a  s n a i l’s pace.  And I am intentional about each choice and I read the screen out loud, so I look like a crazy person but I am already feeling quite crazy!

I begin to enter the Zip code
Let’s say it’s 12345
I enter
1
The screen says
1
I enter 2
The screen says 12
I enter 3
The screen says
12
YES you read that right
I enter 3 again
The screen says 12
I enter 3 4
The screen says 124 but it should say 1234
Oh, I see, the fault is in the screen and the system NOT with me.
I smile.

Jump into the car, go to another pump and now we are good to go.

As soon as I get into the car, I make notes to myself so I can remember to write a blog about what is and is not our fault.

This is what I wrote…
“Gas station keypad bells and whistles work but numbers are wrong. ”

It occurred to me that this is often what happens when there is miscommunication that often leads to violence.

Person A says ONE
Person B hears Won
Person A says TWO
Person B hears TOO

The sounds are the same but whatever person B is hearing makes NO sense at all…

Won Too?

Who won what? Somebody else also won something, somebody else, won too?

Person A continues to speak and says THREE.

Person B is still wondering about who won what and who else was there and what did they win too…

Person A says EIGHT

Person B hears ATE

Who won what, who ate what, what the heck is going on?

We must be able to recognize situations where things LOOK like they  work, or should work, but in reality things are really quite broken on the inside.

We cannot know that the brand new shiny man approaching us is broken on the inside or that he has a tendency to hit and curse at his “loved” ones because they don’t follow his commands.

Why do I use the words “command?”

I use the word Command, because a true question allows the responder to say a full and complete NO without need for explanation or guilt.

When we say NO, and the receiver of that NO becomes enraged and abusive, it is exactly like that electric screen at the gas station… You have input a value, in this case a NO, and the person who is hearing the NO, cannot receive it or process it, and things get crazy.

Something is broken in that person AND and it is NOT your job to fix it.

It may be your job to RUN!

I do hope that this makes sense to you, let me know what you think.

 

Love and light,

Indrani

My altar to myself

Image makunin via Pixabay

I have never had an altar and I found the instructions of building one for myself just not me, not something I would do.

I looked around and found that, really, my home is my altar and I made that comment to my dear friend.

I felt it was egotistical to say my home was my altar, that it placed attachment to my things.   And perhaps there is some attachment to a few of the items.

My friend reminded me that my house used to be my prison and that transforming it into my altar was a major accomplishement.   I sat with that thought….

My house was not a home for so many years, it was a place to hang my hat.  Home is where the heart is and there was no love amongst the walls, no trinkets of adornment, no comforts with its furnishings or the people who resided there.

As my divorce came and went, the house had become mine to do with it what I wanted. No compromise with others, no decisions made just to please another.   I was and am free to do what I want.  Awareness for what I needed became apparent as the cast of characters in my life stepped off the stage. As I had looked to others in my house of life for the love and acceptance, I had to turn to self-love and self-acceptance.

The walls that held secrets of the arguments, the abuse, the anger and resentment, I had them plastered over. Part of my history that were painful building blocks of who I am today, I’m stronger for it.  Plaster and paint gave a fresh page to a new chapter.  The house is an eccentric museum of my life and the things I hold dear, the memories and experiences which have shaped me in this lifetime. The books I loved reading and those I would love to read. Treasures and antiquities from my adventures. Colors and fabrics that bring me comfort.

Even a toy from my childhood with a hole and a torn eye sits on a shelf, a reminder of family vacations when they were still fun, and I was innocent.

Like an onion, each item is a layer of my life and peeling away one layer only brings about another.

The structure that, in the past, held no charm and had no atmosphere, now welcomes everyone once they cross the threshold.  The energy of my altar is one of peace. It’s a place where every room invites you to stop and sit a spell.  Blow the dust off almost any item on the shelves and there is a story of wonder and discovery to be told.

On the floor are framed photos of people and places I love and one day they will finally find their place on a wall. My tribute to them.

My home is not finished.  It’s a work in progress as is my life.

 

Guest Blogger

When in doubt….reach for your best self

 

Image by Viktor Hanacek via PicJumbo

Image by Viktor Hanacek via PicJumbo

Often in life, (at least in mine) I find myself in the midst of a conversation that started off  nicely, turned a better corner and then BAM, something flies out of someone’s mouth that takes me out of my pre-frontal cortex.

What’s a Pre-frontal cortex you ask?

Well, it’s that part of the brain where language and executive function reside. When you are in your PFC, you are measured, you have the language you need at the ready, you can laugh at yourself and see things as not so personal, etc.

You do all of this and more, without even realizing all the smoothly excited dance moves you are making. It comes from a place of peace and groundedness.

When the PFC is hijacked, by an event such as physical abuse, or by mean spiritedness such as verbal or emotional abuse, the PFC goes offline. It’s like a total black out. You are left groping in the darkness without anything familiar to navigate your surroundings.

In this case it’s really very hard, almost super human, to reach for your best self.

You need some executive functioning to reach for your best self BUT the executive functions are no where to be found.

What to do?

I have seen myself make a bad situation worse, multiple times, by striking out as if my life depended on my response.

Almost as though I have my hands up and pleading for my life.

It feels that urgent….but it has never been that urgent.

I am fortunate that my life has never been threatened in real life, however, the life I have lived in my head sometimes feels like it is being threatened.

Those times, I now realize are the times when my PFC is offline.

I have been training myself to be quiet in those times.

I have been practicing silence in those times.

I offer my practice of silence to you and it needs to be followed up with introspection after the incident.

Introspection can take place with a coach, a therapist, a non-judgmental friend or with journaling.

Write down the incident as you remember using as much detail as you can.

Then also write down a measured response firmly standing in your PFC and replay the scene and SEE yourself delivering the measured response.

Notice if you feel like you want to have many responses, all of them from your best self.

Try this technique out in a few situations over the course of 30-45 days.

Then  begin to notice if there are certain people who are likely to hijack you.

Take note of who they are.

The next time you are with them, begin to notice how they are with others.

Do they pounce on others they way you feel they pounce on you?

Study these people like a private detective.

Begin to speak their words even before they say it (silently in your head).

I know a person who is so very oppositional that if they hear the sky is clear they will immediately try to prove the sky to be cloudy. They LOVE to rile people up….it’s their sport of choice.

When I am in such a situation I have started to say, “Nope, not playing this game today.”

Then I leave the room.

The first few times I did that my heart felt like it was trying to escape my chest.

I was sweating like I was running a marathon in 100 degree heat.

It took a while for me to TRAIN myself to deal with this person in these situations.

I am very good at it now.

Know that new behaviors take practice. You have to be patient with yourself. You have to practice in your head and out in real life.

Practicing in your head is like rehearsing for a part in a play. Your part, your play and YOU are writing the new script.

You know the famous William Shakespeare quote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

Play your part well. Write your own script.

 

Love & light,

Indrani

Rest

Have you ever faced a day/week/year when you have been so exhausted but stuff needed to be done so you just slogged through?
This is what I faced last week and this week. So I did not get my blogs written. I know I can prewrite and schedule them BUT I do so like to write about current events or at least events current for me. This week it is sheer exhaustion!
I had been teaching Yoga and Meditation for Dr. Patch Adams the week of 10/2 to 10/9 and I did not have the energy left to do a blog on Saturday. I let it slide. I gave myself a pass.
Then I came home and got slammed with a cold or something and was chief fire-putter-outer for my household and I had to face the fact that my Wednesday blog was not going to happen. Then I began to obsess about what to write, and would it be pertinent… ummm… is exhaustion pertinent? Me thinks it is!

How can this be pertinent to you? Well for one, the holidays are fast upon us and ’tis the season when we pile more on our plates but forget to take stuff off. Halloween, Thanksgiving ( and God help you if you are a fan of Black Friday), finding the perfect black dress for the holiday party and the perfect professional “thing” for the office bash, then the gifts… Lord the GIFTS, the Tree, the family coming over and staying and staying and staying and….you get it.
Yes that sentence was long and drawn out and that is how this season may feel.
Give yourself a break and just sleep. That was my solution and I got a few hours respite from the fires and the sneezing and the cooking and the fires.
Have a good sleep. You so deserve it.

Are You Trying to Intentionally Hurt Me?… Because When You Speak those Words, You Touch Shame

Two Saturdays ago, I was immersed in Dr. Brene Brown’s work on Shame on Shame and Resilience.  From that point forward, I knew I would be fundamentally changed but I had no earthly idea just how much. This whole week I have been observing my own shame reactions. I had actually thought that I had worked through most of my shame issues. As IF!

Have you ever felt shamed by someone’s else’s words? Do you know what shame feels like in your body? It is really beneficial to each of us to observe our physical reactions to shame. Personally, my throat closes up, my brain freezes, my upper body gets hot, and I feel life RUNNING!

Shame hates to be named, much like Lord Voldermort in Harry Potter. Shame makes us feel so small that we just want to disappear, fight back or flee.  The area of the brain where shame is felt does not have access to language. Our access to language resides in the pre-frontal cortex.

When you are faced with shame and feel confused you are not losing your mind, only your words. The only way to find words to describe what you are feeling is to be able to step out of shame and have the ability to access the descriptive words.

There is no way I can do justice to Dr Brene Brown’s work in this short blog piece. Nor will I even try.  Her work is based on more than 11,000 interviews and decades of analysis.

Suffice to know the next time you cannot find your words, just remember that you have not lost your mind, only your words.

If someone says,
“Are you out of your mind?”
Simply say,
“No, just out of words!”

Want to know more? Read I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame, by Dr. Brown, and come to my Chat & Chai on November 14th, 11am Central, when Dr. Brown will be my guest. You may even have a chance to ask some questions.

Have a wonderful week ahead!
Love and light,
Indrani

Identification please

Drivers license, passport, social security card, voters card, military ID, membership card, marriage license, green card. All these cards and documents to say who we are! No wonders we identify ourselves by titles, experiences, positions, status, you name it. We are in a world where we are identified as who we are by a card or piece of paper.

If by the paperwork you need further identification of this person they tell you:

I am a doctor
I am a mother
I am a wife
I am a foreigner….

I do not understand why at a cocktail party I get introduced “..and I would like you to meet Dr. So-And-So. ” Well so this person is a doctor, if he is at the cocktail party he is not doctoring, so does the title matter?

Then to go one step deeper you discover that the person identifies themselves as:

I am a victim
I am a martyr
I am a survivor….

Do we need all this identification?

Doesn’t just being present identify us?

I think that perhaps we are scared to shed those layers of identity in fear of not finding anything. Kinda like peeling away the layers of an onion. If each layer is an identity, if we shed the layers there is nothing in the center. But really it is not that there is nothing there, if we peel our layers of identification off, its that we have to just face the truth of who we really are. The basic essence of ourselves.

Here is something to try, next time you meet a person can you see them for who they are, just a person, and not the identification or title?

It is refreshing to just be with a person with all the identities dropped.

We are people. We all eat, breath, sleep, etc. We all want to be happy, healthy, peaceful and live with ease.

There is no card for that.