Slower Pace Anyone?

I have often heard people say that it’s difficult to find friends after college and I’m starting to agree with them more and more. Even when I meet new people or reconnect with old friends, I feel like everyone is in a rush.

I’m sure the east coast ny/nj pace has a lot to do with it. The last time I was in LA I ran into someone from the mid-west. He complained that the pace in California was too fast. I told him that I felt like everything moved in slow motion!

Looking back, it makes me happy that the West Coast is this in between pace. I like getting things done but when it seeps into my personal life, I pump the brakes.

Two weeks ago I got an email from a yoga studio in the District of Columbia. They sent me an email wishing me a happy anniversary since it had been a year since I first joined them.  It made me smile, but also a bit sad that I still don’t live there.  Keeping this in mind, when I saw a free yoga weekend at a local Princeton studio I jumped at the chance.

It started with a movie night on a Friday. We watched a documentary called Y Yoga. I found it so fascinating that it was screened at the Democratic National Convention. A lot of problems I have with the west altering the delivery of yoga also seemed to be resolved within the doc. You have to understand that I have been a yogi since the age of five. That was back when I could reach my toes no problem!!  I guess these asanas are the one set of poses I don’t really want to see changed. Save that for random dancing:) I’ll join you for that too. I can dance battle, and I have dance battled with the best of them.

In any case I was so moved to see yoga teachers in the movie, who taught so many different populations of people. One teacher even worked with children who were forced into prostitution.

The next morning after the movie, I attended a gentle yoga class and I felt so in love with life. I’m still gushing a week later. Something about that space reminded me of the DC studio. I have tried so many different yoga places in central jersey but everything about this new place was similar to the other one I like. Even the shelf in the corner of the room was the same.

I forgot to mention that there were 55 people in the class with me on Saturday morning. The sense of community in the room was amazing. Sometimes I feel like just being in the room with good people restores my faith in a slower pace in everything.  What we want to accomplish still gets done, and we are healthier and more joyful after.  The human interaction is really different in yoga since we are all on separate mats, but the pressure is off to perform.

One of the best articles I have read in my life was in a yoga magazine back in 2006. A woman wrote about how she was pushing herself to do a hard pose and then finally just unraveled and gave up. Yoga isn’t supposed to be about being the best. A good teacher will tell you to make it your own practice and to listen to your body.

Well to be honest yoga isn’t about any of the poses. I read the Yoga Sutras in college and found out that it’s about stilling the mind. The poses are only four lines in the whole book! Really the exercise we know and love was created as a tool to prepare the body for meditation. The hope is that we reduce the chatter in our minds to a minimum.

I find reducing the chatter harder to accomplish when change feels so constant.

I hope you find comfort and positive human connection in your daily life. I hope you are making time in your schedule to do what you enjoy. I hope you find a slower pace in the spaces you desire it. I hope you feel so much in love with life that it is practically indescribable because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

-Sangeetha

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Unlimited My Future Is, Unlimited!

In 2006 my favorite literature professor asked me if I was a singer. She told me that I have a very nice speaking voice and encouraged me to take voice lessons. While I have been taking lessons for some time, I was thinking about quitting after making so many mistakes last week.

I still practiced because I promised my voice teacher I would. Now today is the day I can add Italian Opera Singer to my resume. With a little bit of confidence, lots of practice, & breath support I now have a vibrato (vibration in my voice) that is coming out naturally/more consistently.

I’ll be honest, I was very cranky during the holidays because my throat hurt like hell from all of my failed attempts. But feeling the joy I felt today for finally mastering something so difficult was worth the wait. Thank you Rekha for your enthusiasm and belief in me. You planted a fantastic seed that has helped restore confidence in myself years after our initial two-minute conversation.

Work/Life Balance: Have you ever watched the show Heroes? Their main villain, Skylar always freaked me out, but the concept of where he got his energy from is simple. For years this character fixed clocks. He had a knack for listening to a watch and knowing exactly what it needed to function to its best capability once again.

When I mastered my first Italian opera song earlier this week, it was like adding oil to the wheels in my brain. I have been flowing with ideas and confidence since Tuesday night. Please understand in context earlier this week I experienced massive rejection. First on Sunday night, again on Monday morning, and once more on Tuesday morning. My spirit was very low.

My surprise lesson was about why work/life balance is so important. I got renewed energy and a leap in confidence from my singing breakthrough- two unexpected benefits just by doing something fun for myself.

Vacation Guilt: On Wednesday I decided to take a day off from my job hunting. The job search as you know can be a full-time job itself! The guilt that I acquired was not new to me. It took a lot of rewiring of me not opening my computer every time I wanted to send an email or go on linkedin. A group meditation I attended a few months ago talked about letting go of acquired guilt. With everything I did on Wednesday I tried to be in the moment and also reassure myself that what I was doing was not wrong. The main thought that kept creeping up was that I would lose momentum if I rested.

Suddenly I remembered the last time I felt burn-out. My mentors at the time urged me to get some sleep. They saw emails from me at odd hours of the night. When I told them I had to keep going, they said that if I didn’t rest their wouldn’t be much of a functioning me left to stay in for the long-haul.

Self-Love & Love of the Arts: The best part about my Tuesday night accomplishment was that I felt like I was in love. There is no better feeling in the world when you have a crush or are falling in love. It always sounded a bit odd to me when people talked about loving yourself. Now I know how fantastic it is!

I forgot to mention that I also went to my writing group after singing. For the last three months I have only been writing in isolation not sharing my work. By attending the group I heard laughter when reading my ten minute response to a prompt about “being chased by the police”. Talk about instant gratification!

Community of Yogis: The yogic way is to find spiritual growth on your own. The truth is we all really need each other. For me personally my work/life balance is a collaboration of being with my own thoughts at times, and being with other people. The reset button is usually positive interaction from another person and then I feel like I can accomplish anything on my own. Really glad my yoga teacher had “the community tree pose” in her class. Nancy always told us that we all need each other to function in the world. So the most solitary activity of “stilling my mind” is where I learned the positive influence of community? My mind is blown!

Meditation Revelation: During my mediation this morning I realized how much the pain of the past has held me back. Reviewing the cruelty I experienced from bullying since pre-school and the places I have felt stuck, I always felt limited. Even in my interactions with people this week, I found myself pulling back. It was like I was too shy to fully enjoy other people’s company. My fear of course is that every cruel thing said about me was true. Just like compliments can stick with us and last a lifetime, some mean comments were really shading the light I wasn’t letting fully in.

I hope I can lift 1000% of the pain from the past. This week was a glimpse of how my future is Unlimited! (In addition to Italian Opera I’m also singing the song Unlimited from Broadway’s Wicked, Stay by Rihanna, My Heart Will Go On from Titanic, and Can You Feel The Love Tonight from The Lion King).

My plan to lift the pain is to:

*Continue being present from moment to moment

* Do as many creative activities as possible

*Work-out to release stress- I love zumba and kickboxing!

*Take vacations- not just talk about them:)

*And keep watching inspirational videos like this one about being blown off http://www.marieforleo.com/2014/01/getting-blown-off/

The cherry on the sundae this week? A contact I have been coaching on interview skills just landed her first job out of grad school. In just two weeks of working with me, she said she felt so much more relaxed in her interviews. I feel we all have the ability to achieve what we want. It’s just a matter of securing the structure to gain the skills required for the task at hand, and then marketing that experience in the way that makes sense to the person we are seeking a partnership from.

Need a Coach?: Know somebody who needs job coaching? Want to write a book or complete another creative project but need structure to finish it? E-mail me at capturingthecreativeprocess@gmail.com and let’s see if we can work together. Maybe I’m not finding my dream job, because the obvious is to keep finding wonderful people to motivate.

If you consider yourself non-creative I hope you find a teacher that proves you wrong. I hope you find ways to incorporate fun activities in your life.

I hope you find ways to lift & eradicate the pain of the past because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

Under Pressure

No matter where we are in our lives it seems we cannot escape the pressure that other people put on us.  I could take this conversation in so many directions but I’m really talking about pressure related to our personal lives.

First we are asked, when are you going to get married, then when are you having children, and even after the first baby comes along the nosy people ask about baby #2.

The thing I don’t understand is if most of us do not enjoy these super personal questions, why are so many others still asking?

To the person asking: Remember you might be hitting a serious nerve. Hitting these so called milestones are not like graduating high school or learning how to drive. If the person you are so curious about wants to share something with you, they will. If you are trying to find that line between what is appropriate to ask and what isn’t here is a tip. Is what you are asking about in this person’s control? While I myself am a planner I know that I can’t predict how most milestones in my life are going to pan out. Even now when I am applying jobs, I have no clue when an employer is going to think I am the right match and make me the offer. 

To the person being asked: Try to remember that people are often socially awkward. Yes the asker is intruding but they could also be stuck for conversation. And most likely they are trying to either prepare themselves for how the change in your life will impact them, or make sure they are included in your life as you keep evolving.

The wonderful movement in our modern times is that a “happy ending” doesn’t just look one way anymore. There are couples with no children who lead satisfying lives. Same for single people. Same for other combinations I am not thinking of.

As long as each of us finds out what we want, and we do our best to make it come true, nothing else matters. Now imagine if we could just channel all that pressure into helping each other make those dreams come true. That seems like a much more peaceful pace to live by.

I hope you find ways to deal with the pressure in your life. I trust you will create heaven on earth to the best of your ability. I hope you find ways to create boundaries with all the askers in your life because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

 

 

 

Something to Consider When Creating a Resolution

What would you do next if you weren’t scared? Fear can be so crippling that this question is often the best exercise I can do for myself.

My wish for the world is that we all experience more positive face-to-face human interaction. This year I learned that some people are emotionally fragile. This is to the point where one comment can impact their whole mood for a long time.

The opposite extreme is the person who can let anything roll off their back. To them it’s not a matter of quick resiliency per say, they just never found the instance to be unsettling to begin with.

Neither of these are a bad or good thing. It’s just an observation I have made between a few friends and colleagues.

For me, empathy starts with understanding other people’s anxieties.  When I don’t understand why someone is doing something, I try to understand what is bothering them.  Even for myself, in my own efforts to reduce anxiety it has been helpful to take a step back. I wonder why is this bothering me, what can I do to fix it, and what do I really want in the grand picture?

I really love the concept of creating a New Year’s Resolution. My resolution for 2013 was to live my life without fear. Or to be more precise it was to not let fear dictate my action. Every time I told myself no I’m not doing that, something in my back of my mind was going, but your resolution!

The results were amazing. I did in fact connect with top executives at major companies. My gut was telling me to go for it, even though a part of me didn’t want to bother. Out of all my outreach 90% of them gave me the audience and some wonderful advice! Other fun activities were also pursued keeping my year’s theme in mind. Not everything turned into something grand, but my mission was accomplished. My dance classes for example were fun but I didn’t learn anything new I can use at the next wedding I attend. So I might not become a pro on Dancing with the Stars next season, but I did dance with J.R. Martinez in 2012!! Plus I’m still working on my television production skills so maybe I’ll get to work on my favorite reality show behind the scenes.

In 2014 I plan to dance more. Singing and writing were my focus in 2013, but dance has been on the back burner. In all honestly as much as I create action plans with steps to execute them, my heart is full of wishes.

I hope I find a spectacular travel buddy and visit amazing places- and soon!

I hope I find more like-minded people to collaborate and enjoy life with.

I hope I sustain a joy for life everyday.

My friends, I hope you find outstanding company, create a dynamic resolution for yourself, and that you kick fear to the curb.

I’m not sure how to invite wishes in our life when they involve other people, but I know I cannot be the only one who is looking.

We are all exactly where we are supposed to be (in a good way!)

About a year and a half ago, I was gifted the opportunity learn from a Dale Carnegie Training.  When this was first presented to me, I was not aware of the rich history and impact Dale Carnegie had on so many people.  When I was still debating if I should attend, my co-worker explained to me that her grandfather’s life was changed by this training.  The positive impact was something he still shared with his family decades later.

Grass is Greener on our Own side: At the time, I was upset that a few people in the office were attending a conference I had wanted to attend for years.  I didn’t understand why I wasn’t invited to join, even when I was willing to pay my own way.  Ironically enough, my co-worker was upset that she had to miss the leadership training that I was invited and able to go to.

When I started the training, there were a few familiar faces in the room.  Every class we voted on our favorite speaker of the day.  It took all five weeks for me to give a speech I was proud of.  I won the award for best speaker the last day along with a team member.  During my acceptance speech I felt so bonded to everyone.  We had gone through a journey that I wasn’t sure was going to move me any which way.  The bonds I formed with the people in that room still sits with me today when I don’t feel so great about the world.

Remembering myself as a leader in the world, and not just a leader in one role: Somehow, we were able to reconnect with ourselves as individuals in the world. It wasn’t just about our leadership at our jobs, but how we as people could evolve and re-energize.  Dale Carnegie wrote a book called, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living.  The concept is simple- instead of worrying take action.  Worrying doesn’t help us move forward. It is not a productive use of our time. Action is a the only way to regain control and resolve our issues.  50 cent said this in a different way to Oprah, “Pray or worry. Don’t do both”.

Winning the best speech award meant something special to me, because at the time I was really struggling with public speaking.  When my classmates awarded me with the honor of the day, I told them that they all inspired me start publicly sharing my writing.

In the last 18 months since my proclamation, I have written a novel, a song, several short stories, a tv pilot, started this blog and am finishing a non-fiction book.  Today I started writing my first musical and I have never been happier to listen to my imagination.  I had more fun writing a few scenes for the musical than I have had in a while.

I still don’t understand why certain pieces of my life aren’t clicking. But I can’t help believing that we are all exactly where we are supposed to be. Just imagine if I wasn’t in the right place at the right time with regarding the training?  In that moment, I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but something much better came along. The training opened doors in my mind and breathed confidence in me that needed to be restored.

I hope you  find ways to stop worrying and start living, because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

I hope you find your way to positive emotions because I cannot be the only one who is looking

It happened again. I went to a meditation group yesterday morning and started crying during meditation. This hasn’t happened to me in a year.

Interestingly enough, the thing that triggered my tears was a certain type of music that did not agree with me.  The music was almost violent in nature.  I found it disturbing and parts of it reminded me of terrible memories I would not like to be reminded of.

It is important that I let go of memories that are weighing me down. So I suppose releasing some frustration can only lead to me feeling lighter.

When I reflect on my life as a whole I know I have a lot of great amazing wonderful moments to be grateful for.  At the same time, my realization this week is that if our emotions weigh us down, it can feel like we don’t have much to be thankful for.  Our emotions can create a whole different story. Only perspective can let a different narrative take over.  Only perspective can help my emotions bring me a wave of peace, serenity, and hope.

 

I’m still figuring it all out but I guess I need to resource positive emotions.  I went several weeks feeling really good and now it feels like I am coming down from a high.  I feel exhausted and my brain is fried.  Perhaps I’m burnt out from trying to make the stars align.

Friday I took a mental health day. I went to a free art museum with my friend. We also had a great lunch and did some shopping.  I made sure to not reply to emails until today.  It felt good to just be out and about with some company.  The rest of my weekend however was terrible.

I have been putting some pressure on myself to really enjoy my weekends.  My weeks have been filled with so much activity that I am probably expecting too much out of two days.

Not sure what the answer is on how to recover.  I know the root problem is a sense of hopelessness. Inspiration, where you at?

In the meantime, I trust you will find your way to positive emotions because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

 

 

 

Diversity Production Contest: Need help funding your short or web series?

Check out our friends at Wish Me Guts! Productions and see if they can help you achieve your fundraising goals!

**Before submitting, please note that this is a separate competition from the Rahway Film Festival. Any submissions to this contest will have no advantage over submissions to Rahway Film Festival.

Wish Me Guts! Productions is seeking to produce dynamic stories celebrating authentic images/stories of minorities.

If you have a story in mind and need help securing funding, Wish Me Guts! Producer Sangeetha Subramanian, is currently reviewing submissions.

If your short or web series is selected, you will work directly with Ms. Subramanian, who will help you secure capital through your network.

Projects selected must share executive producer duties and credit with the producer, Sangeetha Subramanian and be willing to fundraise through their own network of friends, family, and contacts. Ms. Subramanian will be in contact with the top candidates directly.

**Please note that Ms. Subramanian will not be making any direct solicitations on the winners’ behalf. She will help guide and run the winners’ campaigns to secure necessary funding.

Second round candidates will be asked to submit the first five pages of their script by Monday December 2nd.

If you are interested in this resource, please submit a treatment detailing your idea and estimated budget to capturingthecreativeprocess@gmail.com by October 30th.

Second round candidates will be contacted by November 12th. The first five pages of the script will be due by Monday December 2nd at 5:00pm EST.

If you have any questions please email Sangeetha Subramanian at sangeetha.subram@gmail.com.

This announcement was first posted on

https://www.facebook.com/RahwayFilmFestival

Consistency where you at?

In my life, I am happiest when I have structure and consistency.  Two years ago, I started a group with my friends. The three of us met every other week and we had to bring one problem to the table. The other two people in the group would then offer solutions and everybody had homework to do!

The concept was simple. We had to meet each other every other Friday and not miss a beat in order for it to work. We had to take action steps towards the problem. Action is the best way to get rid of worry.  Most of us want to take action, but are unsure how to move forward.  That’s why perspective is so important. That’s why with a little bit of structure and accountability we were all able to move mountains with each other.

The group worked so well, that one of us got married and moved to the mid-west.  I’ve been longing to form a group like this again, but it just hasn’t clicked.

Maybe I need a group to help me solve this problem of forming a new group! In any case, I have had some luck forming structure in my day to day life.

I meet with a creative buddy once a week. We talk specifically about our writing issues, and then do our various projects. I’m learning quickly that I enjoy creating new work but am not a fan of editing.  It is a necessary evil, I’m afraid.

The other thing that I’m discovering is that I have not been able to successfully blend my comedy and serious writing in years. I used to be able to strike the perfect balance of discovery and humor.  Lately, I either crack myself up or I just get really deep.

Emotions are a tricky thing.  Especially in creative work when you are almost forcing or channeling them to keep moving.

The things I have in my control is writing once a week, going to zumba and walks, staying in touch with my friends (voicemail counts because it’s me trying!!), meditating first thing in the morning, showing gratitude for all good things in my life before sleeping, and making sure I work fun things in my schedule.  I can at least blow some bubbles in the park:)

It can be so painful when we are waiting for others to validate us. It can be agonizing hoping that people include you. All I can do is execute what I can make consistent and treat everything else as a bonus.

I hope you find joy and feel gratitude for the consistency in your life, because I cannot be the only one who is looking.

Rejoice, rejoice: Quenching Spiritual Thirst

Progress: Sometimes we make progress and don’t even realize it.  I have been making progress on so many different levels. On my quest to build a personal life, secure a professional one to my liking, and to quench a spiritual thirst that I feel lucky to be aware of.

The key to a good week, is a good weekend! Last weekend I had such an amazing time. Friday I had lunch with a friend and we cracked up like crazy. Saturday I spent most of the day in Philly. First at brunch, then a board game, and finally great conversation at a garden.  Sunday jazz festival in Princeton, time with extended family, and dinner with immediate family.

Because I was in such a good mood, this past week was so full of progress.  I had a teflon coating around me because of my weekend glow. The weekend made me feel like I am living the life I want to be living. How powerful is that???

Loving Me, myself, & I: So in all honestly, a few years ago, a weekend of this description wouldn’t have been coming from a peaceful place.  Before I was too anxious to be still with myself that I needed to do things to avoid my own company. This isn’t the case anymore.  Now I sit still a lot, and I like myself.  My thoughts are amazing when I don’t let fear creep in and create spiderwebs in my beautiful brain!

My First Novel: Another significant conversation I had was about the first novel I wrote. Yes that is correct, I completed writing my first fiction novel.  I am repeating it so I don’t hide…that’s right I’m being consistent!!  Instead of telling a few people in passing, I pitched my book to a friend.  She got so excited that my enthusiasm grew.  It feels wonderful to have this piece of literature birth from my thoughts and made up world.  I haven’t been bragging about it because it doesn’t feel like my best work.

Honoring myself: The best way I can continue to honor myself is to reduce the perfectionist in me.  Or redefine my definition of perfection.  Lately my new version of perfect is being present and appreciative of where I am.  The other part of my new version of perfect is understanding that I have to start somewhere.  For some reason this story wanted to be told.  I know this might sound strange coming from the author. The truth is part of the story took a life of its own.  The process of writing it didn’t feel fun. It felt like a self-hate exercise because of the emotions I was reliving.

The most crucial way I have reduced the perfectionist in me is to not seek other people’s approval. There is enough room for me to build a life without worrying about other people.  There will always be someone saying something to me.  At the end of the day, they don’t have to feel the emotions I feel.  I also have to have empathy for them because they cannot see everything I see.  I am standing in the middle of my universe and I see all the stars aligned.  From their perspective they are standing where the sun is being eclipsed.  It can be exhausting spending our energy on explaining ourselves.  Only do it as much as your faith allows you to.  If I explained myself outside of the boundary of faith I have created, then my bubble will burst.

I need a bubble to keep momentum up.  Imagination has so many enemies.  Don’t let them win.  Imagination is the way we are going to go beyond the realm of possibility.  Imagination is the key to forward progress and sustaining hope.

Release Creates Room: While writing my novel, it wasn’t always fun to be that vulnerable on paper. Whatever the case, I released it.  Any release good or bad, creates room.  After I was done, I found room to write my first TV pilot.

Weak Ties: When I let go of fears I had with networking, I created space for powerful human connection.  One of my mentors often says to me, “Way to reach out!”.  I just kept repeating her voice in my head every time I felt nervous reaching out to a weak tie.  It helps also that I have heard a few times now (including from a TED Talk) that weak ties are the path to getting what we want.

I guess this is how we can even describe the online dating phenomenon.  It scares me that so many relationships start from a virtual standpoint, instead of in person communication. But on the same note, online dating is pulling together a bunch of weak ties.  And it’s just one way, it’s not the only way. Now this isn’t me telling you to go date online, I am just  processing this conclusion out loud:)

This weekend I set out to see the sunrise. I woke up at 5:12am and was out of the door by 5:30am and on my way to the beach.  Now some houses were blocking the sun, so I missed it this time.  But I’m sure I will catch it next time, because I cannot be the only one who is looking for some sunshine and inspiration!

Building a Tolerance for Pleasure/Good Times

I have been building a tolerance for emotional pain like most of us going through the waves of life.  I had an epiphany three weeks ago.  I have dedicated my career to helping people.  But instead of worrying about how I’m not currently helping (still on my job search), I thought…hum. Maybe this year has been a service year to myself!

What a powerful thought! If I can learn to enjoy my time now, truly see every day as a gift, I will be present on a whole new level.  If I can find my way to life’s pleasures and allow myself to accept fully how happy I am in the moment I will be a master of life.

It is so easy for me to say, “Oh, I’ll do that when I get a job.  I’ll work on that extra stuff when I’m settled”.  These points are valid but I’m just pushing my life to be in some distant land.  If we are always talking about doing things in the future they never come within reach.  I have also been guilty of putting things off when I do have everything I need.  When I was working I put off fun creative things that I wanted to do. “Oh I’ll get to that when I have more time”.

The best action step we can take is to make a list of all the items we want to do in the future and figure out how to do them now! I had this bizarre fear that I would have nothing to look forward to if I completed them.  I’ll tell you as a new master of life…I say this in a humble tone and with a smile on my face…other wonderful ideas will come in your head. Just do everything and as each item is crossed off, show gratitude for all the fun in your life and say please bring me more in a peaceful and joyful manner!

Since September hit, I have been feeling a new wave of hope.  One of my creative groups is gearing back up.  More companies are hiring now that August is over.  And I am having patience with myself as I learn to tolerate blissful moments.  I know this sounds strange, but when I feel happy to be alive I am overwhelmed.  I want to start to cry because I’m so beside myself at how utterly hopeless I could feel in the not so distant past.  I’m tearing up now…

I will say one last promise to you.  Life always gets better.  If you look at the functions of the world seasons change.  Even our bodies go through periods of rest and periods of being awake.  There is a natural order to everything.  As Herme Hesse says in Siddartha, “Like the river, everything returns”.  I believe this applies to emotions also.  Good emotions flood back to us.  It’s so hard to know this when we are down.  There is a sort of blindness that occurs when bad times happen. 

I for one, like the tide am still going back and forth between the currents of hopeless and hopeful outlooks, but I’m sure I cannot be the only one who is looking for land.

Until then, I will be building a tolerance for pleasure because I deserve it, and so do every single one of you.