November 3, 2012

Creating Space For The Things We Love

Sunset Porch, copyright n.sandhu



  1. Activity done for enjoyment when one is not working.
  2. The action or process of creating something again: "the periodic destruction and recreation of the universe"." 

Maybe it's time to find new meaning in the word "recreation". 

On Re-Creating The Whole Self

Queen Anne's Lace, copyright n.sandhu

Perhaps, by participating in the activities we long for, we allow ourselves the time and space we need to re-create ourselves. I am not talking about some kind of forced makeover with crazy expectations, I am talking about the real you. That piece of  you that was a sparkle in your eye as a child and still lives today. You know what it is. You can feel it when you close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and think...

What are the things that you love most? 

What did you love to do the most in your late teens and early twenties when you didn't feel like you had to work as hard? If you had to grow up early...think back to times even earlier in life. What makes you feel like a kid in a candy shop? Which past times create a similar sensation or emotion that you experience when you think about a beloved friend what you have not seen for a long time?

I encourage you to think about how you can rebuild and re-create your whole self outside of work. It's taken me about a long while to realize that by not living my days as I would like, I am only wasting my lifetime as Nishaan Sandhu. You are only you once (well, maybe). Why spend so many hours of your life doing things that you cannot stand? Of course many albatrosses around our necks for a life lesson, but, even then, over time, true happiness can prevail.

Holy Basil back garden, copyright n.sandhu

A happier way of life with less work hangovers.

I really feel like the time we take to restore our energy after work is a part of the work itself.  Let's call it a work just lose a certain amount of productive time because you over estimated your abilities to process the ____________ (whatever comes to mind). If you feel exhausted all the time, maybe it is time to think outside of the box when it comes to your income. 

There may be a way to a happier way life by doing what you love for less.  You may have to find ways to spend less money, but, believe me, it is not the end of the world! If you have more time on your own, you have more time to "do it yourself" at home, and, therefore, fewer reasons to spend money. You may also increase quality time with yourself, family, and friends.

 Really, what is the price that you pay for working as hard as you may right now? Have you considered changing jobs, downsizing your lifestyle? Ever considered seeing a life-coach to help you to discover what helps you to shine in life? You can find a way to make it happen... a way to take back your barometer of contentment. 

Facing facts and making changes.

The bird nose, copyright nsandhu
So, it has been a little over three years since I started building my private practice as an aromatherapist, bodyworker, and, herbalist in Lexington, the city I live. I can tell you that for the first year, it was practically all that I thought and talked about. Thank you to my friends and family for all of your support during those days when all I could focus on was work. 

You really hung in there for me when I was likely an overly chatty person to be around.  I wouldn't change it for anything, it was a part of my process, but, I still feel for you, ha.  As a whole, birthing a holistic health care business from scratch and on a shoestring budget was not an easy process, I will not lie, but, in the long run, it was so well worth it. 

With all of the hard work and focus on the 'succeed in career' aspect of my life, I found that I became a lopsided version of myself. Through my business brain building, I had to feel out many new areas of myself as a person. There was public speaking, networking events, accounting, marketing, publicity, etc. All things that pretty much make me cringe. 

Yes, there were times where I did things that were out of my comfort zone. All worthwhile lessons in helping me to realize who I am, and, even more so, who I am not. I realize that I am sort of a natural networker (something I would have been very reluctant to say in the past).

It is not that I like to schmooze, I energetically gag at the thought.  I more so just get so excited for other people's passions and I truly want to support their projects in any way I can. Also, I like to talk with people, and try to be as true to myself as I can. I am clumsy with words, movement, and etiquette at times and I consider it a part of my charm.

Plus, It's also a good barometer to weed out the uppity judgmental folks. If nothing else it's fun to watch them either squirm or relax a little in response.

Nepeta, copyright n.sandhu
I realized that even though I operate a business, I am not the average business minded person. 

So much of my philosophy relies on faith, trust, giving, and lack of competition. It was when I really came to grips with this that my business began to grow in ways I wanted it to grow.

 I didn't have to be "a straight lace professional" to be a successful business owner. I just had to be me. 

I found it was best to simply ignore external social influences that made me feel like I should be someone else. 

 I had to ignore the basic foundations we were taught in our school systems: competition + rising to the top + loads of attention + praise= success. That never felt good to me and, for some time I felt poor for not being that person. What a crock!

My point here is, what if your work-life situation is offering you similar life lessons? You don't have to work for yourself to recognize what you do or don't care for.  If you ever feel that your work is cramping your style, sucking your soul or goes against your own grain, maybe it is time for a change...maybe it is time to  listen to your heart and think outside of the bread box.

Which hat shall I wear today? 

I love my work. Much of the time, it barely feels like work. It feels more like a life path and so comes naturally and with little effort. At the same time, owning a small business taps into a part of my brain that I prefer not to work as hard as I have to at is an ever going growth experience that I enjoy.

The Renaissance woman in me is ever-entertained by a constant changing of hats. Being my own boss has allowed time and space for an endless variety of interesting tasks. The designer in me loves to decorate my office, build my website, and daydream about aromatherapy blends. The thinking, feeling, intuitive me delves into a world of meaningful relationships that have gracefully woven together a community I enjoy being a part of; fellow practitioners, clients, and new friends. 

And finally, the shy, introverted, and, often worrisome me, has (just begun to) overcome a silly fear of having confidence...a confidence that has blossomed through the sheer creation of my practice. That whole inner dialogue where I hear my mother say "Nishaan, you can do anything you set your mind to!".... Actually made it come true. Only, It took me feeling like I had no other choice but to move forward to believe it. I was white knuckled and anxiety ridden for the ride at times, but, hey, that's what builds character, right?  Right?!

Following your path with passion

Asparagus maze, copyright n.sandhu
If changing your life in order to make space for your whole-self seems like an impossible task, please please, think again! 

At least allow your heart and mind to day dream. Imagine that it could be real...and see where it goes from there. 

My mother at the age of 40 something left a high paying executive job in New York to move closer to her parents in Kentucky. 

She always wanted to be a chef and after the move she finally went back to school to follow her dream job.

Many of her friends and family questioned her decision making...why in the world would she do something so crazy?! 

Well, you know what? When she talks about making that decision, you can see in her eyes that it was one of the best she had ever made. She happier as a chef than I ever recall seeing her as an executive--and to be honest, I can't imagine her any other way. She was truly always a chef. I there a calling in you  that is ever so obvious in which you must tend to? 

What if you perceived this life as a time where you had no other choice but to move forward and follow your dreams? 

A Few Self Care Tools 

  • Write A Manifesto--Take a piece of paper and begin to write down the changes you wish to see in your life. It can be anything from exercise habits, to getting out of debt, to building better relationships, or following through with a job or educational goals. All is fair game. Put your heart into it and date it. I like to roll my manifestos into a scroll with pretty string, or tuck them into a pretty envelope. I place them on the bookshelf next to my journals, which also happens to be my altar. I think it's a nice idea to treat your manifesto as a pile of wishes that will come true. Then, one or two years down the road, take a look and reflect. You may be surprised at how incredibly well setting an intention works. I have written a manifesto about once every three years or so. I am a big fan of always trying to improve my being-ness, and, I find that I tend to roll on a three year cycle of personal attempts of evolution. 

  • Find your biggest supporters in life. Listen to their positive feedback and ignore the naysayers. For years I spent time with naysayers. When I was younger (about 22) I recall taking quite some time to gain the courage to share my longing to help people heal with herbs, bodywork, and energy work when I grew up. He actually made fun of me! At the time it was semi-crushing, but, I soon realized he was toxic, and his doubt in my abilities fueled my fire to follow my heart. This may be ego petting, but, I like to think back to that memory, and see how far I have come from being a timid girl with a hidden strong will to a woman who follows her dreams. 

  • Try Hypnosis! Yes, hypnotism.  It can be amazingly effective and very gentle. You are simply tapping into your own capabilities and using them to a fuller potential. Never are you unconscious under hypnosis. I find that with hypnotism, my favorite sessions are the ones where we create affirmations specific to my own language and goals. I have to say that I was completely surprised at how effective an immediate my results were. Because I have a creative mind, I sometimes feel cluttered up with all of my thoughts, ideas, and ambitions. It can be hard to focus on birthing a single idea when they all want to hit the ground running. Hypnosis has truly helped me to better organize my time and space. Partly in setting my affirmation on making time and space for the things that I love.

In the past when feeling overwhelmed I would only tend to the things in my life that had a concrete deadline by default. A BORING :(  and easy way to let everything else in your life control your life, but you. I was totally impressed with myself in the midst of several tasks I had put off for months shortly after my sessions. Not only was the therapy helpful for getting things done, it also helped to shift not-so-helpful perceptions of myself and how I interacted with the creative world around me. I highly suggest trying it out. I have been working with Russell Windam in Lexington, KY. He is highly professional, has integrity, and gifted at what he does. You can read more about him on my Local Resources page for a link to his website.

Time Well Spent With (Or Without) The Whole-Self

Dahlia, copyright n.sandhu
Now that I have my practice up and going, during my days, much time is spent with wonderful clients who seek non-conventional ways to help relieve their bodily pains, high levels of stress, or to simply to find a higher quality of life. All of which, I may add, are very highly rewarding and fulfilling work scenarios.

The most important thing to me in healing is self-empowerment. A connection to the real self--listening to your body, feeling what it is you need mentally, emotionally and spiritually, thinking about what you love to do, and,  finding a balance between the three.

It's all about finding the whole-self.

This is something that our modern day culture takes little time to address, let alone embrace. Quite often happiness is seen as something we earn through working terribly hard.

But, shouldn't happiness be simple? I have decided that, no matter what, true happiness is being able to be your whole self.  This is something I have read about during some midnight reading binges through my late teens and early twenties with Carl Jungs musings on dreams, archetypes, and the soul. took me about a decade to actually have it sink in.  I realized at some point, though, I thought I was completely fulfilled, many things were missing. Well, they were there, just buried underneath paperwork, emails, phone calls and to-do lists. I was putting out lots and lots of energy without taking the time to receive. My way of receiving during that time was through bodywork, therapy, energy work, bathing, and, plant medicine. All which I wholeheartedly believe in. Although, there is a very different kind of receiving that occurrs when I am allowed to create. A kind of receiving that leads to a deep and internal happiness. A gift of happiness that comes from within.

The simple things, copyright n.sandhu

Choosing to Create Space--And Sticking To It.

If you are serious about your work, it is likely that no matter how much you love it...over time it can swallow much of your time and your whole-self with it Over the past three years, I realized that some deeply expressive aspects of myself were silenced. I had buried them up with never ending to-do lists, long work hours, and countless reasons why I should put off the little things that make me happy so that I can tend to my practice. And, you know what? Sometimes out of stress I don't allow myself to do the things I most want to do because I feel I don't deserve to. That is ridiculous! But, really, how many of us do this all the time? 

Craziness!! Yes, I love my work deeply. I also love just being me outside of work. There is a ton of carry over between my work self and home self--but, I am still working on integrating the two more gracefully. I had a daydream of a certificate that says 'Certified Nishaan Kaur Elizabeth Sandhu'.

It was in reflection of how so often I stumble when people ask me what I have been up to or what I do for a living. I become like a deer in headlights, I stumble on my words...I have a hard time finding an answer. In my head I think: "I have been up to so many things. Too many to focus on just one. The only one that comes to mind is working and then there are spiritual and esoteric thoughts that are not quite coffee talk, so, I will just say "oh, you know, the me about your week! (so that I don't bore you to tears or so you don't find me wacky)!".

Quite often, they tell me a great story about themselves, and I am think, "dang! Do they have like a stockpile of answers rearing to go before they leave the house?". That's an idea. A basket full of little note cards that list 'things I do'. I can grab one before I head to a social event as a reminder that I do more than work....and so I digress.

A. Schedule Date With Self

B. Lower Socially Imposed Expectations of  "you"

How many of us feel tired after work, and, have little time for life, but to sleep, eat and rest? Tons. I mean, I imagine it is about 3/4 of the population in the state of KY. Yikes. That doesn't sound lifelike at all. It sounds like a ticket to miserable bitterness land. I am an optimist (at times) and think there has to be an answer here for all of us:

Rule #1. Lower the expectations you have in accomplishing your piles of mini-to-do lists. There is only so much time to live. Would you rather look at a pile of things you have to do, or engage yourself in something you love to do.... Therefore having more energy and skip in your step to do the "to-do's" after your fun-do list is over?

I have walked through so much of my life with a lens of wild creativity: music, crafting, intuition, nature, and time spent alone with tea, astrology and color therapy books, my thoughts and a notepad. I know, wild, right?  Ha. I's wild to me like Ivy in that it is organic, flowing, my real nature, pervasive, genuine to my spirit and deep in my soul. 

Why is it that as I have grown older, I have let many of those wild musings fall to the wayside? As a kid I thought growing up was all about freedom and getting to do what I wanted to do! Yet, in this society, we are bred to believe that growing up means doing what you have to do. To have to do something and to want to do something are very different flavors when it comes to our psychological appetite. 

We don't HAVE to do anything, particularly those things that everyone else around you finds themselves doing, but, not knowing why. 

Example: Mowing your lawn. WTF. Really? Why not take a summer to start a kick ass garden that you no longer have to mow? It will be beautiful, you will save tons of money on gas and oil, you will not be that  neighbor who ruins a quiet weekend afternoon, AND, you will have more time on your hands to do what you WANT to do. Not what you "NEED or HAVE" to do. Yes!!!

Plus, there are tons of  "weeds" in your yard that would likely make effective plant medicine for your friends, and your family. No more guilt either or shame in letting the grass grow. What a fundamentally crazy fad. While I am on the subject, please consider not watering your lawn. It's a waste of water. If you had not cut it to begin with, it may still be alive. If it makes you feel any better---more than likely, all of your neighbors' lawns are brown. You don't have to be an exception. No one cares. 

Schedule a date in your day timer, google calendar, wall calendar, or whatever other calendar you may have. Schedule a date with yourself and stick to it. My Aunt Rita taught me this. If someone asks you for a date during your time, you can say you are busy and leave it at that. It is liberating. Once you write it down, don't negotiate. Otherwise, you will find it has lost its way our of your day-timer and into the hands of another. Yikes!

Creation As Silent Meditation

Sunset blue, copyright n.sandhu
I have always loved painting. Not like an artist...more like a person on a ladder with shorts dappled in color from the ghosts of walls past. For me, transformation and creation are my meditation and fuel.

When starting to work for myself, it was my goal to get to a point where I would make time to do the things I love: decorating, sewing, making magical plant concoctions, late night collages, writing, super slow hikes where I stop every few steps to photograph lichens, ferns, and insects...making little surprise packages for friends to find on their doorsteps.... Listening to music just for listening to music...geez, the list goes on and on. 

Do you know what I did when I began to work for myself? I magically found ways to make more work so that I wouldn't have time to do the other things I loved for fun and for myself. As rabbits hop out of the many hats I wear, I slowly loose track of the rabbits and then my mind (carnival music here).

Take a Moment to Make it Happen...

Take 30 mins before bed to daydream about what you love.

So, for my thirty-first birthday, which was last week (yay!),  I decided that from now on, I choose to make space for the things that I love! Much of which includes silent meditation. I set up my craft and sewing table, made botanical perfumes, pressed out organic tinctures, cleaned the house, made a Halloween mask of the Green Man for my boyfriend. I organized all of my thoughts and ideas!  I finally made up a binder full of them so that I could abandon my scraps of recipes on the back of bank statements I had stuffed  in the waaay back of my day timer. From now on my brainstorming notes stack up in the front of my day timer. 

So, this blog post is made up partly to hold myself to keep up with my spirits need for creation, and partly to  inspire you to tend to your inner longings. Cultivate beauty!

Really, if you have any questions at all about any of this, email me! I am so happy to share any resources. In my heart I know that we all deserve to be happy, healthy, and inspired. Remember to remain curious in life and not to let anyone convince you that you have to be anything but your true, whole-self. There is a whole world out there and many niches to be filled. Pick up a pen and write your manifesto, just a small step towards making it all happen. 

Lots of love and wishes for all the best to you :)

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