Taking Chances

We teach young kids to take chances from a young age. We encourage them to take the next step and when they stumble we cheer them on. We try as best we can to allay the fears of middle schoolers who are afraid of a multitude of things, some real and some imagined. We ask our teenagers to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves. We recognize when humanity rises to challenges like defeating the Hitlers of our world and tearing down the stupid Berlin Wall and the greatly needed work that so many non- profits do in our ever-closer world.

The thing that still surprises us is when a BRAND like Nike uses controversy to do the right thing (Colin Kaepernick) and when Gillette puts out an ad calling for the males of the species to Be the best.Some people are very upset and vowing to never buy their product again. I am sure many new customers will. I plan to buy razors today to give as gifts!
Some of people are saying that their men are “fine.” Yes, many men are fine and many need to be reminded to be better. We can all be better.

If 1 in 3 women is being abused then as many men are committing the crimes. Visit UN Women for statistics if you want to challenge the above statistic.

We need more brands to use their powerful voices to move the needle on this issue. Now if only the feminine hygiene people could throw their weight behind ending violence to women. Maybe they can put ads on the packaging?

Well, until they do, the rest of us must use the platform we have.

Link: UN Women Facts and Figures

The Challenges challenge and always will

I am absorbing Scott Kelly’s book Endurance. It is thrilling.

On page 108 he talks about that cold January day when he saw the Challenger explode 73 seconds after launch. He reminds us that it was a rubber O-ring on one of the solid rocket boosters that failed. The rubber was compromised due to unusually cold weather.

Ok, so a small thing like a rubber O-ring brought down that massive piece of equipment and killed everyone instantly.

That gives us pause about the little things, right?

But wait, on page 109 he tells us that this was a MANAGEMENT FAILURE.

Engineers working on the solid rocket boosters had raised concerns multiple times about the performance of the O-rings in cold weather. In a teleconference the night before Challenger’s launch, they had desperately tried to talk NASA managers into delaying the mission until the weather got warmer. Those engineers’ recommendations were not only ignored, they were left out of reports sent to higher level managers who made the final decision about whether or not to launch. They knew nothing about the O-ring problems or the engineers’ warnings, and neither did the astronauts who were risking their lives.”

Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with any of us mere mortals.

It has plenty to do with us. We rely on car makers to make safe vehicles and not lie about things like carbon emissions etc, and they fail us time and time again.

We depend on corporations to make their manufacturing plants safe so that we can not only work, but work safely, free from serious health risks, and yet we have many stories of corporations failing us.

We read about intimate partner violence and see the horror that abusers heap on women and children time and time again, and yet, we continue to believe (or pretend to believe) that it’s a private matter and not a public health epidemic. The world loses 5.2 trillion dollars every year due to violence to women.

We continue to hit and physically abuse (and pretend that it’s discipline) our children and wonder why our daughters accept violent boyfriends and why sons do not understand what violence is. (Listen to Indrani’s TedX talk: “Expressing Love With Violence is a Lie”)

Let’s believe the research that tells us about the effects of physical abuse (Take the ACE quiz and read more about Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Let 2019 be the year that we end domestic violence in our homes.

Let us believe the science that tells us our children deserve to be parented with kindness and love.

Kindness and love are the parental equivalent of believing the O-rings will break and our families will be very damaged.

Will we be brave enough to question the status quo and allow the violence to stop?

Love and light,

Indrani Goradia

How to help everyone at once, without overwhelm (SPOILER: You can’t!) – Episode 28

Does this sound familiar: you are rushing to leave for work, helping your partner find their keys, packing lunches into backpacks, trying to put dinner in the crockpot, trying to remember your keys, then finally making it out the door. Once you arrive at work you have a meeting with your supervisor, are asked to get something from the supply room (which leads to three more people wanting something), then one of the residents asks you to talk about a big challenge they are facing.

How are you going to do all of this at once, and make everyone happy?

The short answer: you can’t.

The long answer: listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast and learn some important tools you can use to control the overwhelm of trying to help everyone at once.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Intro
01:16 Scenario
02:36 Indrani – Make a list, and learn to grow your self-empathy bucket
13:52 Discussion
17:42 Amy – using your values to say a positive “No”
28:13 Jeremie – applying these lessons to your organization (and to puppies!)
35:26 Discussion
38:05 Summary and conclusion

Resources

LINK: Kristen Neff’s Self-compassion test

LINK: Dan Siegel’s Hand Model of the Brain

BOOK: The Power of a Positive No – William Ury

Endings are only beginnings

If you are reading this then 2018 is at an end (or gone) and we are welcoming 2019, either eagerly or in some other way.

Please look for a moment at the photo. It is of the meditation pod at Auroville, outside of Puducherry India.

It is known as the Matrimandir.

Auroville, City of Dawn, is an intentional community. It was first envisioned by a guru called Mirra Alfassa. She was a European woman who devoted her life to spirituality.

The City of Dawn, is built on land that was “approximately 20 square kilometers of barren wasteland.”

The earth was unable to support both plant or animal life.

A small group of believers began (what must have looked like madness to the non–believers) to rehabilitate the land by planting trees. When I visited about 4 weeks ago, the area was a veritable forest. Species of plant life that had died out were flourishing. Animal life was abundant and humans from many countries were permanent residents in the village. Permanent residents are expected to work 8 hours daily in exchange for living there.

It seems to be flourishing by all accounts.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by 124 nations who sent delegates with gifts of their earth to be all placed together in one urn. It was held on Wednesday 28th, 1968.

On that day, I was living in Trinidad and was 15 years old. I was actively filling in to be the caretaker of an 11 year old brother and a 7 year old sister. I was in over my head.

I had no idea that on the other side of the earth, a small group of people were gathering to celebrate a vision of a future and that as a 65 year old in 2018, I would be lucky enough to visit.

That 15-year-old, was also unaware that she would go on to do some amazing things.

Things like finish a triathlon and marathon after she turned 50 or get a handle of clinical depression and make her pain the foundation of a nonprofit, or have a wonderful husband and children, or speak at the UN, or (and most importantly) end generational violence in her lifetime.

I was unaware of all of this and more.

As I write this message to you, I am blissfully unaware of what will happen tomorrow, next week or 10 years from now.

I am not worried about not knowing.

I have learned to trust and believe that if I follow my path to end violence to girls and women, I will be fully living my destiny. I also know that when I do not trust my gut, I get burned.

I did not always believe I had a destiny. I believe it now.

I am asking you to give yourself time to uncover your own destinies and to allow yourself to take small steps in the direction of what you know that destiny to be.

Some of the tools to help you uncover your destiny include physical exercise, yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, setting and keeping healthy boundaries by saying No to things that do not support what you know your destiny to be.

How we can help:

At www.indranislight.org/caregiver-resources we have classes to give you a head start of some of these tools. You can find a podcast called Caring for the Caregiver where we take deep dives into real questions by real people and give some ideas to handle life stresses.

I wish you a happy and joy-filled 2019. I wish you the clarity of mind to find joy in the midst of inevitable pain and I wish you the courage to love yourself as deeply as you love the most precious person on your life.

Love and light
indrani

The key to healthy relationships

I stayed at a hotel recently and the key to the room was an electronic gizmo that looked like a key. It inserted into the lock like a key and turned like a key.

I wondered, “why the trouble to make this new technology look like old tech?

Comfort to the guests. We all know what a key looks like. We are all creatures of habit and want to feel secure, so holding a key in our hand is a familiar feeling.

This key was different. It was embedded with the code to get into a particular room. Room 1167 would not be able to work on the lock for room 1624.

Makes perfect sense.

All the keys, however, were able to access the elevators that took each guest to any floor they wanted to visit. I have been in hotels where your room key only allowed you to access your floor, and if you had a friend on another floor they had to let you in.

This got me thinking about the symbolism and metaphors we have for keys:

The keys to our hearts.

The key to success.

The 5 or 10 or 100 keys to ______

The ONE key to happiness

Happiness is key to ________

Food is the key to a man’s heart

I am sure you can come up with other sayings.

When we allow people to enter into our lives, we give them a symbolic key of trust. We welcome them into our private spaces. We don’t say, “you are only allowed to use the kitchen but not the bathroom.We ASSUME that they will respect the trust we have given.

However, when the people we trust take the key we have offered and turn it against us, we feel violated. We may say things like,

I trusted you to not steal my money when we opened our joint account.
Or
I trusted you to not have sex with my best friend when we went out last night.
Or
I trusted you to not bash my face in when you are angry and blame all your failures on me.

Each one of the above sentences represents a situation where we GAVE the key to our hearts and lives to another and they use that key to wreck our lives.

When this happens, we must find the courage to “lock” them out of our hearts. That, often feels quite impossible.

We feel like they know us too well for us to set any real boundaries. Often, they know us better than we feel we know ourselves, but that is not true.

We must find the courage to block the codes they have used to enter our private heart spaces. If we have values of love and bravery and courage, they know our strengths and may say “Well you say you have love as a value, but you can’t find a way to love me as I am. You must be a liar!

When this happens, we may try to prove them wrong by showing them how much love we have and we may stay in unhealthy situations longer than we should.

What to do?

Turn those values of Love and Bravery and Courage back on yourself and show your own self that you have the only key to emotional freedom. Freedom to choose a healthy relationship over one that causes pain.

Love and light

Indrani

The Sewing Machine Worked Just Fine… Until It Didn’t

The other day I was preparing some small quilts to take with me to India for a program I planned to visit. The quilt squares had been decorated by children of the mothers who had been burned by fire or acid. I had met these kids years before and never got a chance to finish up the quilts. I was going to India in a few days so I was inspired to finish them. This work reflected all my hearts passions: meeting the survivors, speaking to the kids, remembering to bring them fabric swatches, saving the swatches for the right time to finish it and of course sitting at my beautiful machine and finishing the project.

All of a sudden, the machine would not work. The needle would not stay threaded.The bottom thread would not catch. I rethreaded it about 6 times and then I yelled, to no one really, “what the F is wrong with this machine?”

I began to hyper focus on the threading mechanism and tried to use a pen to poke the thread into one of the moving parts and of course it could not work. I had never threaded the machine with a damn pen before. Why was I trying to do that now? I have been sewing for 50 years. I used to make my own Catholic School uniform skirts. I KNOW how to thread a sewing machine.

Then a heard a voice in my head say “Indrani zoom out, close your eyes, and use muscle memory to do this. Nothing is wrong with you or the machine.”

So.

I closed my eyes. I allowed my hands to float up to the machine and I held the thread a loft. I mimicked threading motions and saw that my left hand floated behind the presser foot to check if it was in the down position.

I opened my eyes.

I smiled.

The presser foot was NOT in the proper position.
I put the foot down and threaded the machine and finished the quilts.

Then, it dawned on me that this episode mimics what women do to themselves. We KNOW how to be in the world. We know how to be brave and courageous and yet, when we forget a simple thing (like lowering the presser foot) we begin to judge ourselves and we accept the judgment of others. I love that it was the “putting down of the foot” that brought me out of my trance of feeling inadequate and stupid for not successfully completing a task I have done 1000’s of times for 50 years. How can you use this in your life?

The next time you KNOW deep in your heart how to do something, or WHO you are at your core, put your foot down on the knowledge and do not allow any one (even your judgmental self) to convince you otherwise. If others in your life say unkind things, let if go in one ear and out the next. Put your foot down and don’t let others define you with their words. Maybe use a simple phrase like “I am not sure whom you are describing, but that’s not me.”

Believe the words. You know you!

Now, go be the full YOU. The world needs all of you.

Love and Light from Indrani

Managing Fear When Facing Adversity- Episode #27

In this episode Indrani and Dr. Anita Sands share their experiences and the tools they’ve used to manage fear with the adversities they’ve faced. Anita also shares her story of coping with changes in her professional life after becoming a mother.

Episode Time Codes

00:09 Introduction
02:00 Welcome and Introduction of Dr. Sands
5:15 Article Discussion
14:45 Asking for Help
21:15 Advice on Priorities
23:30 How Fear Shows Up
34:00  From Scarcity to Abundance
37:00 Curiosity trumps Comparison
43:38  Wrap Up
46:09 Outtro

Resources

Link to Dr. Sands Article 

Caring for the Caregivers: A Self-Empathy Meditation – Episode #26

Often, in life, you will find yourself stuck between two versions of yourself: the “you” that wants peace and to be satisfied doing the best you can, and the “you” that is crazily trying to do everything for everyone. In this episode Indrani will lead you through a short meditation to help you become a compassionate witness to your own self and your own energy.

00:00 Introduction
00:53 Self-Empathy Meditation
04:21 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: Talk to the Positive Part of Yourself – Episode #25

When you are feeling sad, do you forget about your whole self, focusing only on the sadness? In this episode Indrani will guide you through a meditation to connect with, and embrace, the positive you. It isn’t about changing the sadness, it is about honoring all parts of yourself, and living a whole, and healthy, life.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:57 Guided Meditation
08:04 Outro

Caring for the Caregivers: When Family and Work Values Collide – Episode #24

Making a decision between your family and your work is never an easy task, especially when, which is more important changes with the circumstances. How can you determine when being with your family is most important? When going to work and supporting your clients is most important? In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie discuss tools you can use to make important decisions between your family and your work.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
01:20 Scenario
02:12 Jeremie – Accommodate, Avoid, Attack – How we say NO without saying NO
09:25 Discussion
17:00 Indrani – Your unreasonable “perfect should list”
23:10 Discussion
25:50 Amy – Contradictions between your different roles leading to shame
30:38 Discussion
39:00 Conclusion
40:36 Outro