I cannot stop

Stuti's Kitchen Garden

7 July 2020

My mind is pacing up instead of relaxing. As much as I like to believe that my mind is in my control, I cant really fathom most times whether it is. Times when I suddenly start to feel out of breath on a phone call and I can’t concentrate on listening anymore, all I feel in those times is to cut the call and run back in my unreachable cocoon. For someone who has been active on social media from as young as 12, I am doing pretty great without any virtual interaction with people which includes documenting my life and put it to showcase. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t intend to put Facebook, Instagram, or this blog – for the amazing people I found through these mediums but somehow, my mind has had enough for small talks and it needs break. Funny how I say I cannot stop, when I have stopped so many things is past 8 weeks. I think, my constant attempts to crawl back into the arms of this cozy nurturing space, just to write is failing, because I am too scared to document anything. Cause after all, the more memories you make, the more you have to push yourself to let go. Holding back means weighing down. Letting go means free to fly with no strings attached. I have reached a point where my needs have limited to meals just once or twice a day, I am trying to not eat at night these days. I do feel guilty for falling into the Sale traps last weekend, but at the same time – can I say I am free if I don’t have a lot of needs from the outside?

I am contemplating a minimal lifestyle, but with the bohemian outlook I have towards life, it reflects on my walls, on my bed, in my closet. How does one really start though? To live a life that has only what I need and utilise fully. To be honest, it does sound like fantasy to me, to be able to not hoard – even the saved WhatsApp texts. I don’t really understand though – it does save my life almost half the time when I am in any form of trouble or anything is missing. My hoarding occurs to me as if it is more of a saviour and thus, I go downward spiral from being a wishful minimalist to real time hoarder. And I am not talking about things here, I hoard conversations in my brain, consistently trying to infer whether I was understood or misunderstood – has it made me any better at communicating who I am and what I need? I guess I completely disregard that sometimes it doesn’t really matter how you communicated it because the listener comes with their own coloured notions about you and everything that you do or say will be understood or misinterpreted – completely on the basis of the color of their perceptions. So can I really control that? Does it even make sense to hoard few sentences in my mind, just to rewind, play, pause, reflect – and wonder – was there a better way to put that across?

That also comes to the point where I need to understand why is it so bloody important for me that everyone understands clearly. Where does that need arise from? That need is an illusion because understanding is a two way street and you can only walk your walk and if the other isn’t willing – you can either be patient and wait, or you leave it and begin again. And honestly, you can try as much as you want to make everyone understand, you are simply setting yourself to failure. I guess the right thing to do would be to start understanding yourself better, so that when people misunderstand, you can still be by your side and know that you meant no harm and that it is okay to be misunderstood as long as you have the conviction.

So the great update is, I have been indulging in Kitchen gardening these days. Watched a couple of Youtube videos, this woman called Rakhi Mittal came super handy – learnt a big deal about the kind of soil you need, things at home [basically all kitchen waste] that you can collect and use as a manure. Cost-less and effective at its best. Ordered 15 seeds from amazon and that’s all. As the kitchen waste manure requires fermentation, we mixed the soil with manure [used cow dung, because we also have Shyama at Amrutam Vatika].

I wish I could describe the feeling when you see the seeds germinate, they turn into these tiny little babies. Even though, I have seen plants grow since my childhood, this is my first hand experience of taking care of something from its nascent stage – literally starting from the scratch. It would be feel like nature is the god that all the religions are looking for. It is true magic. I mean, how can something as tiny as 1 mm size grow into these 2 inches saplings? Every time I take a break, or when I am strolling in the evening, I like to watch them, observe them and just feel so much calm. These sapling are my new Instagram app that I keep going back to for no reason. But this has been such a blessing-in-disguise, and unintentional alternative.

Stuti's Kitchen Garden

I do think that taking care of something as fragile as saplings make you more patient as a person. I am extremely grateful that somehow it is giving me more confidence to be a responsible person in my personal life. I do wish to learn more about and start practising a minimal life, let’s see when that happens organically in my life too.

God bless & lots of love,

S

Stuti's Kitchen Garden
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Been a minute or seventeen days

It’s an unusual feeling for me to not have anything to write about. I always have something to say, something that I am feeling far too strongly too contain it in my mind without having to put it in words, almost compulsively and that’s not a secret.

Despite that, the only words that I have written since 7th of May are my to-do lists which partially contains piled up tasks from the past week that keep moving forward day after day – unchecked, untouched, briefly looked at.

Of course I have written other things, too – such as – emails, and random words doodled, destroying pages of a notebook I recently re-discovered lying around in a cardboard box, with things I thought were burnt or thrown, reused or decomposed at least a decade ago. I found 5 slam books, filled with names of people I haven’t heard in a decade – some faces forgotten, some friendships tossed off in a place of my mind which is labelled “residue” and some simply faded exactly like the glitter pens they used to fill the slams with. Some, of course, carefully preserved, and some, painstakingly piled up – just like the tasks that I have penned down, over and over for a week or more – simply because I cannot finish them, and I must. Mustn’t I?

There is a list of things that I need to do but I cannot, soaringly out of plain burden they seem to me, or they feel unimportant, or socially constructed pageants that make you feel for a fleeting moment that all these years that you have put to work are worth it, but 4 seconds later, they don’t matter. Some things are hard to do till the point to approach them, and some things are like putting yourself to fail. One of the things amidst many others that cross my mind at this point is –

An online news publication that wrote to me, they want to feature me and my achievements, hear my thoughts on how Covid 19 is going to take a toll on the world. Now, there are 11 questions [but feel like 110] that I probably know the answer of – and yet, every time I open that doc that I have neatly pasted the questions on, formatting in the font style that comforts my heart, just so I can put myself to answer those questions – I cannot type a word.

The whole process feels far too self-indulgent.

I wasn’t this person before, you know. I was confident, almost to a level of narcissism, but self-praise [disagreeing to the popular belief] has suddenly started to look like an act of low awareness – how can I be okay with knowing only so little when there’s a whole universe to learn about – it is humbling, indeed. I can hardly fathom if it limits me, or shows me that there is no limit. Can I really answer these questions, act like I have achieved it all, when I have only begun my journey? Should I be flattered? How do I put myself to answer those questions before answering these existential ones, you tell me?

Last 17 days,

I wondered how long could I go on without writing, and I felt that I was doing okay, in fact. Gradually, it started to feel like someone broke my heart, like there is a missing piece, like I was in a need of a very long, warm hug.

I had a long day at work, and also had a client session with a person who has recently started therapy with me, so I was fairly tired. I didn’t think I needed anything except lying down in bed at 7:30 in the evening and not feel the slightest of worry for a bit… So I opened WhatsApp, I opened Telegram, I opened Prime, I opened Netflix, and casually swiped away to different apps until it struck me that I needed to do something that was beyond distractions. I just didn’t know what.

This peculiar memory from 2011, first year of my college days, flashed. Writing, for me, is therapeutic. It is like looking at myself in the mirror, just seeing more than you thought you would. How every single time I felt this missing piece at midnight, back then, same way I feel today, I’d always start to write a new post on my old blog, without a single thought in my mind.

How and why did that change when I grew up?

I guess because there’s so much at stake now. Back then I was merely a girl trying to put words together so I could feel light. Now, there’s more conditioning, there’s more to deal with, putting out there to the public eye and being vocal about how you feel – it all seems so risky.

The simple joys of life, like writing, has become such a serious act. Probably, because back in those days, I didn’t think there was anyone reading it. Over a period, letters and emails started to emerge, and to know my words were making a difference made me feel responsible and accountable to what I chose to share.

I collected myself and contained my feelings and shared only that was filtered and processed, and as much as my thoughts were still raw, there was a certain amount of fear that some kid sitting at their home reading this, must not get disheartened reading what I share. But is that fair, now I want to ask myself.

Is it really my responsibility as a writer to protect oneself or another from the reality after all? How do I redeem myself as a writer who’s only work as an artist is to put words to feelings without a bias – leaving it natural, like wet mud after light showers of rainfall, or strong frisky wind in the village at dawn, or dew drops on car glass on a winter morning.

Nature doesn’t worry about consequences, does it?

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

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#LettersToFindMe – Your inner ocean is full of love.

Dear you, I’ve been thinking a lot and I do know that you are too. Now that you’re deprived of the ocean that’s so vastly present on the planet, you wonder about the possibilities of your inner ocean, that is your mind. Well, here’s the thing – your inner ocean exists. It exists subtly. It influences everything with even a slight wave. You are aware of it or not. It is deeper than you want to believe, and has most magic tricks of the world – it’s time we immerse ourselves in it like a child watching a water ripple for the first time. You have run around like a mad child, wanting to show the world what you can do – but what’s the point, really? All the stuff created and acknowledged by the society in its most tangible forms – they are labels that don’t prove anything. You are limitless, just like your mind. Your mind, powerful beyond measures – awaiting attention. How do you attend to your mind if you’re constantly wrapped around ideas of guilt? How do you finally sit with yourself and take a swim in your inner sea, if you’re so glued to numbers – counting the number of people following you till the shore? They are all spectators, and would leave the minute they find something more amusing, but the swim you swim into your mind, the peace that the ocean floor holds for you – that experience makes you grow truly – and it doesn’t rely on others to recognise. You are absolutely free if you consider just yourself as your biggest follower. I believe in you, is that not enough? You want a reassurance from another million people, and why I ask? I understand the dilemma, but hear me loud and clean – your popularity doesn’t define how worthy you are of love. You are worthy of love, regardless. Your inner ocean is full of love. Embrace it. Float in it. Soak it all up. . . #stories #inspirational #life #love #wisdom #letters #letter #india #instagram #ocean #sansebastian #mentalhealthindia #mentalhealthawareness #mind #writer #lightroom #spain #personalblog #poetry #poets #poetsofinstagram #poem #berlinartparasites #womenwhowrite #shotoniphone11pro #writerscommunity

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#LettersToFindMe

Dear you,

Amidst all this uncertainty, that has left you hanging, feeling all kinds of misery and madness – let me remind you of one thing that I am absolutely certain about, The strong ground that you so firmly clench with your toes when you’re anxious, I know it feels like the earth beneath is sliding under your feet – I can assure you that the earth is going to hold you and it is still there for you – in it’s full abundance.

If for a second, you wonder how to be sure about that, observe the way little buds are blooming in spring colors – yellow sunflowers brightening up, green giloy creeping in and red roses bigger than ever. And if that’s not enough, feel the way wind blows after the sun has set, watch the flock of birds making shapes in the sky, and then turn inwards and learn how every single day, all this uncertainty is shifting your perspective about life. Take it one day at a time, helplessly and religiously.

Focus on the things that are in your control, my darling. Do what you can do, and leave the rest to it’s state for now. You can always come back to it. Be certain that this time will disturb you but also can heal you, it will leave you empty, so you know you can fill yourself up by really being with yourself, too. No two days are the same, and as overwhelming as it gets, it’s also a gift to really understand yourself.

Cultivate more awareness about how you feel about yourself and others. Even though you may not have answers to all the questions your mind throws at you, please remember to listen to it quietly. You may feel like you’re swimming in the ocean with no shore in sight, but remember you can sail through this, back float when you can’t deal with it. Be assured your limbs are going to be fine. Be assured there’s a boat, a ship, a rescue plan for you. Sail through it. You got this. I know you got this. . . .

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Simple Things that help Anxiety

1. Calming music

2. Drink cold water

3. Deep breathing

4. Go for a walk (maybe right now – terrace or balcony)

5. Engage all 5 senses

6. Call someone who makes you feel better

7. Write it out

8. Have a shower with some nice smelling body wash or soap

9. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling for a bit and know that you are in control. .  #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #help

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Notes from my therapy | Mental Health

Notes from my therapy: I went in with a flat mood, you know the kind when you’re feeling a bit of everything but they are all mixing up, happiness with tragedy, euphoria with boredom, drowsiness with insomnia – a little bit of everything. So I thought to myself, do I need to be this session today? I mean, I’m functioning fine, and doing pretty alright and there’s no specific incident that happened that I could open up about to my therapist – for that, I’d just call up a friend and bitch about (you know if you had to), but there isn’t anything. This constant need to make everything “worthwhile” stuck with me as I waited for my therapist to come online on skype, where I have the sessions, also the same place where I provide therapy to my clients. And it’s slightly ironic, and maybe also bittersweet that I sit at the same spot for all of it. That little top right corner, where you can peep in a piece of my photos and artworks hanging on my wall. But that’s besides the point. So the session started, and my therapist and I were just talking like two friends, about how corona virus is stirring up the world, and I’m still thinking in my head, maybe I was right, there’s nothing I really had to talk about today.

And suddenly, I remember that I had a live session about Mental Health and how good it was and how I enjoyed doing it, felt a sense of accomplishment by challenging myself and putting it out there…and then, like threads of a sweater, it kept unravelling – I was tangled in it – and there I was, full of tears, trying to calm it down by gulping large sips of water, but all that water kept dropping from my eyes. I was crying as I was telling my therapist about how I had a dance performance when I was 6 or 7, and I didn’t have anyone in the audience who was familiar. And then, I recalled how when I gave my Ted talk, I didn’t have anyone in the audience I knew, too. These two incidents were not something that really scarred me, they just happened and I let them pass, until yesterday when I finally cried so hard about it. What I learnt from my last session was – some experiences and memories are so well suppressed, like neatly ironed clothes that you know you’d never wear but they are too precious to lose, they don’t fit you well, and you could use some extra space if you let them out, but somehow in the rushed life, trying to solve so many problems, with out hands full and our plates full – thay these neatly ironed clothes are hoarded for years. Like these two memories.

I remember not feeling anything, no joy, no sadness after my ted talk, because the impact of anything really multiplies when you have someone to share it with. And I’m not saying that I don’t have people whom I can’t share these achievements with, but sometimes I do feel that those two memories have kind of made me want to switch to different things over and over, learning, achieving a little and changing again and again because I never really get to the point where I can feel that happiness of achieving something. It’s really not always negative, it’s a mix of both good and bad I guess but what I’m really trying to say is – AWARENESS is the first step to a crucial change in life.

I returned to therapy only 8 sessions ago, and I think there’s no better investment than investing in yourself. Hope you find solace in my notes. Hope they disturb you a little. Hope they make you want to learn more about yourself too. There are plenty of ways, and you can choose it for yourself. I don’t know if any of this has a purpose. It is so raw that I might want to edit and make changes, and that’s why I wouldn’t read it twice before posting it. Lots of love, Stuti

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#LettersToFindMe | Stuti Ashok Gupta

 Dear you, I know you are learning so much about yourself and the world every day, and it’s only fair to give yourself some time to let all that knowledge sink in – but let it penetrate only to your skin and not any deeper. If you may wonder why I’d tell you something like that?
It is only because, your skin can take it all in, and then turn itself dry and shed like dust – all that dust you see on the side of your bed, on the back of your living room curtains, all that dust on the roads – what is that dust – if not all the ideas of ourselves and the world that our skin sheds into dust every minute?
Perhaps they were true at one point, in fact, they were definitely true – but all absolute truths are restricted and tied in a timeline. It’s constantly changing and with that – so are you. So instead, all that you’re learning and discovering – always remember – everything is impermanent. And it is. And there’s a pick up van called time, reaching out to clean up the skin you shed. Thank god, it is.
So, if you want to store something in your bones and all its narrow alleys – remember that the sun always comes out in the morning and every new day is a new opportunity for you to learn something more and discard what you’d learnt before. Today, you can be whoever you want to be. Past is a flawed memory & we haven’t seen the future yet, so why worry?
Drench into this beautiful rain that our universe is. Giving in abundance. Let it pour over you. The universe washes away the learnt truths which turn into dead skin, the dust on the roads, too, so you keep learning and unlearning – deconstructing and rejuvenating – all at the same time. Today is the beginning, and this moment is the only reality you will ever know. Make the most of it. Be aware of this moment. Will you?

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Dear best friend,

Dear best friend,

My all time favourite partner-in-crime, you have raised the bar so high – that when I fall in love, I am always aware of how much love I deserve. And when I forget, you remind me. You remind me to never settle, when I sometimes do. You remind me to not be apologetic about being who I am. You’re the one that my parents think I’m the most safe with and don’t bother calling, and you’re the sole reason why I’ve managed to sneak away from the troubles with them almost all the time.
At some point between going head over heels in love and catching up on adulthood, I forgot to thank you about every time you have pulled me out of the shit I manage to get myself in. Believe me, you are my reference point to living life, and even if I had to say thank you every day, it won’t be enough that I found you back then and that you continue to bring so much light, plenty of love and happiness in abundance.
Yours & truly yours,
S
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Women’s Day Note | Stuti Ashok Gupta

Overtime I have realised that something that I truly feel that I deserve to have or to experience – I develop this unexplainable amount of courage, this weird audacious spine for what I want to do even if it is something that was unthinkable at one point of time when I was growing up. And times when I let that guilt of how “my parents have raised me well so I must not speak against them” “they let me do everything compared to other girls or boys, so if they don’t want me to do this one thing, I’m okay with that” and “maybe it is too much for the society to understand” – that guilt eats me up, and I lose my conviction. It’s been a constant battle, believe me. And I’m still a part of that internal conflict of “I want to be free” and “am I asking for too much?” So before I say “happy women’s day” – I want to tell you, and myself too – woman, you deserve to be free; you want to marry, so you do that, and if you don’t want to marry, then don’t let anyone guilt you into it. You want to travel, please stand up for yourself and book that damn ticket. You want to start a business, take smaller steps towards it without letting anyone tell you that “women can’t run a business” – I started a business at 22, in Manali and that still leaves me feeling surprised – how did I do that? Sometimes I ask myself. The only answer I get to that is “because you believed you deserved a chance to do it” and so you did, despite all the odds that were against you, and all that baggage that comes from being a small town girl. It is not easy, absolutely not – but if you start to believe that you deserve the life you dream of – and all the freedom you think you want will rush in, and I am not saying that the guilt ever ends – you will always feel guilty of prioritising yourself – because we have been trained and conditioned over generations to feel that we need to keep their choices second, and others first. YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING. . . 📸 @kyabc #women #womensupportingwomen #womenempoweringwomen #womensday2020

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#MentalHealth | Remember to Scroll through your mind | Quarantine Diaries | Stuti Ashok Gupta

 Just in time to remind you that being at home and working from home, and basically while you’re doing so good at social distancing and self-quarantining – KEEP A CHECK ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. If you find yourself constantly opening and closing Instagram App, or any other social media app, please remember that there’s a whole lot of other things you can do to entertain yourself. And if you really believe that you have done it all – spent plenty of time on your favourite past times like singing, dancing, cooking, painting, creating, writing – here’s a list of things you can do:

1. Clean your cupboard, get rid of stuff you don’t need.

2. Decorate your room. You have all the time in the world now. Stop giving yourself excuses.

3. Sit down, close your eyes, play something instrumental in the background and do nothing. Sit still for as long as you can. It works like magic.

4. Sit with your parents, grandparents and ask them to tell you stories about when they were young. Believe me, everyone loves telling stories if you nudge them a little.

5. Take some time to sleep well, and without guilt. Remind yourself and others to scroll through your mind as often as your Instagram.

Okay? I’m trying my best to do the same.

#MentalHealthAwareness #Covid19 #Corona #CoronaVirus #Life #TakeCare #SelfCare #Minimalism #Meditate #SpendTimeWithFamily #Love #artoftheday #covid19india

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