2021! What a year! If you are reading this thank God because it means you are alive! It means you survived to see another day and the start of another year!
It may not have been the easiest year but we pulled through- every single one of us! We can all agree that this was not an easy year and it was challenging in more ways than one. As we begin 2022, let’s begin by giving gratitude for ALL blessings. Also take the time to celebrate, reflect and rejuvenate because we need to keep going and we need to take positive energy with us. Here are some helpful pointers!
Decide not to give attention to anyone that caused you pain and do not let their negative energy dominate your thoughts.
Remember to keep living- enjoy life!
Find a positive in every negative.
Move forward- don’t look back.
Keep your resolve!
Use the scissors of life and cut out everthing you don’t need.
Enjoy your journey!
Give gratitude every single day!
Be your best friend- not your worst enemy!
In case you are wondering what musical treat awaits you today then take the time to listen to this!
As you go through the year, take it one day at a time! Also, please remember to do your best to stay safe!
Today a nation cries. Today a country is brought to its knees. Today hearts were broken into pieces throughout the island. Today tears were shed by many and pain, anguish and anger were evident everywhere.
February 4, 2021- the day the body of Andrea Amy Bharatt was found in the Heights of Aripo, her body thrown over a precipice. This is a day many would not forget. Prayers were being said for the young law clerk to return home safely since she went missing on the evening of Friday 29 January, 2021. Hundreds turned out for a vigil only the evening before while several hunters and trackers had joined the police in the days she went missing- many hoping they would find her alive.
The life of a family was turned upside down as this young woman who had done everything she was told to do was subjected to a horrific end. She travelled with a friend in daylight shortly after finishing work in what appeared to be a registered taxi. However she was lured into a trap many others would not have expected as the licence plate was fake. God only knows how her father is coping. To think that she left home and could not return as she left, to think that they could not say goodbye or hug each as they would is the unfortunate reality that her murder has brought.
To think of her last moments is painful and heartbreaking. To think of the scant disregard and respect for her body as she was assaulted and her body thrown over a precipice is beyond disturbing.
Described as an ‘angel’, Andrea was also described as a soft-spoken, pleasant and very hard working young lady who worked towards her dreams and she greeted everyone she met with a smile. She was one who left many with great memories and there has been an outpouring of love and concern since the day she went missing.
To have raised her alone for the last eight years following the passing of his wife, for her to grow up to be the young woman she was it means Andrea’s father did an incredible job. It also means the bond they shared would have been a very close one. To have her snatched from him like this and to lose her like this is unconsolable. More so it means more hearts are continuing to break as many think of the irreparable damage done to him and the constant pain and anguish he is facing.
Andrea’s story is one of the many that has brought pain to many in our twin island Republic. This is not the ‘sweet T&T’ Natasha Wilson described years ago. The stories of the tragic end Andrea Bharatt, Ashanti Riley, Krysta Lackpatsingh, Joanna Díaz Sánchez, Rachel Logan, Cindy Joseph, Hope Arismandez, Emily Annamunthodo, Sean Luke, Jezelle Phillip, Ellena Dial and so many others faced have showed the harsh reality of the times we are living in. We pray for each of their souls. We pray for each of their families.
Ashanti as many would remember left home to attend her grandmother’s birthday party. She was on her way to meet her boyfriend and other family members and together they would go to her grandmother’s home but Ashanti never arrived. Like Andrea she was a beautiful young woman with a beautiful soul. She too was described as a loving young lady who was hard working she too had a horrific end. She brought joy and laughter to many.
Ashanti had spent her Sunday morning at home with her Mom and when she left little did anyone think that she would never return. Ashanti disappeared on the 29th of November and her corpse was found on Dec 4th while Andrea disappeared on January 29th while her corpse was found on February 4th. Her murder sparked outrage and the ordeal she faced in her final hours was surely inflicted by persons with no compassion, no mercy and no respect.
When Krysta Lackpatsingh’s life was taken in 2004 it was on a day when she had returned home early to type up a report on the family’s computer because a computer had not yet been installed at work. Krysta, a Probation Officer attached to the Point Fortin Magistrates Court was found by her parents, Jade and Steve Lackpatsingh in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed at least 18 times. Always pleasant, she loved helping others and she loved life. She was beautiful inside and out. Her laughter could fill a room and she had a special ability to soothe those around her.
What wrong did Krysta do? She came home early to complete her work because it could not be done at her place of work and instead had her life taken in a most tragic way, heartlessly and brutally. Krysta’s death shocked the entire Cedros community.
The torture Andrea, Ashanti. Krysta and each of the other victims endured is unthinkable. So too is the torture their families have endured and continue to endure. When several of these victims did the right thing how can we say they did wrong? Their lives were ended by heartless, cold, unfeeling monsters that are roaming our land. Who are they to take lives they did not give life? Yes, once there is birth, death is inevitable but when that time comes is not to be determined by man.
We need to wake up and look out for each other. We need to be vigilant and careful. We need to take measures for good protection and we need to keep praying. We need to be thankful for our loved ones and for our time with them.
Yes, many of us did not know any of these victims, but it has not stopped us from caring and praying. Do not let their stories be stories which will be forgotten. Do not let their lives be a distant memory in time to come. Do not forget their families. Do what you can to offer them comfort and prayer. In essence, keep applying the golden rule- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
The lives of each of these victims matter! Let us remember what they taught us, how they have inspired many and what they have showed us. The lives of their families matter too! This is not about you or me but it is about every single one of us!
We celebrate each of these Angels! Together they have shown us how inner beauty radiates outward! Together they have shown us how rising in the midst of adversity is imperative! Together they have shown us that the purity of their hearts is something they were blessed with! They were gone too soon but they will never be forgotten!
There are times when you think you know but then you realize that you don’t. You think you need it but then you realize you really want it.
This being said in this post I am celebrating the journey! Where are you on yours? Have you taken the time to celebrate it? Have you stopped to think about it? If not, please know it’s time to!
This is in every sense the myriad of life! This is something we all go through at one point or another. However through it all it is imperative that we understand this is what life is- experience, highs, lows, ups, downs, and so many other forms of contrast other than what has been mentioned before.
Think about it- you are where you are because of where you have come from! You are where you are because you made a decision to start somewhere! You are where you are because you saw something and you put one foot in front the other and started a walk that led you to where you are today!
So it’s not the road you wanted- not the straight path you envisioned. It’s not the road you imagined it would be. Instead there are bumps (unexpected surprises that are not so good), maybe some potholes (disappointments that cause you pain) and winding bends (things that show you the need for added caution).
Stop and think or at least try to think! What is the last thing that made you smile? When was the last time you laughed? Where were you? What were you doing? What prompted it? Who was there? What made you so happy?
Hopefully this begins to get you thinking but don’t just think- feel and experience! Replace pain and sadness with something that is the opposite. Don’t ignore it and don’t forget it but don’t let it get the better of you.
Find some positives that can replace the negatives! Remind yourself of why you started and remind yourself of why you need to finish! Think of what you are sure about and focus on that to help you clear the path of uncertainty.
It may sound tough to do but once you get started it will become easier. Remember too that procrastination may just be a hindrance. It always helps to be your best friend rather than your worst enemy. Similarly it always pays to be true to yourself!
This is your journey and it needs to be celebrated. If you don’t celebrate it then it is highly unlikely that anyone will do it for you! Don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow we can agree is promised to no one!
It’s yours for the taking. The moment is yours for the making. Make the most of it! Live with no regrets because simply put, they are not worth it! Regrets are like weights that hold you back and weigh you down! What’s important is to live without regrets! Learn from mistakes. Try to right the wrongs! Treat people as you would like to be treated! Live each day like if it is your last.
In this post I am Celebrating Truths! The question many may ask is why? The response is that there are things we may avoid saying or listening to but at times we need to in order to prevent others from having to deal with such harsh truths and realities!
Being private does not mean being ‘social’ or ‘rude’ or being ‘stush’ or ‘unsociable’. It is called keeping your personal matters to minimal people which can occur for several reasons:
1. You cannot deal with a lot of people.
2. You don’t want to have to answer unnecessary questions.
3. You don’t have too much time or energy.
4. You don’t have time for the ‘faker-shaker deal’- a term I use for those who pretend, act pretentiously and generally use a façade because they feel they need to for the sake of appearances.
Many may choose to question why people keep to themselves and these are some of the many reasons that they may not understand. Instead they may choose to judge and condemn you. Leave them to deal with the karma they create and remember the important practice in life is treating people the way you want to be treated. Once you do that you will be at peace and you will have peace of mind. Just be sure that you do not let anyone take advantage of you or your kindness.
It is also important to note that with all things given respect goes a long way. Putting up appearances does the most harm to the person putting up the appearances.
Imagine my horror when weeks ago I placed a post and it I got a Ha-Ha-Ha comment to a photo I used which read, “When I look at my students I see unlimited possibilities.” It wasn’t so much that it was Ha-Ha-Ha as it was from someone who has a child of her own. It was nothing short of distasteful but it was valuable insight of the mindset of many who choose to give up on our students and how they can positively contribute to their lives.
The thought that came to mind was, ‘Imagine how horrific it would have been if this is how I viewed my students or my role as a teacher.’ Thankfully it never was and my students could all attest to this. Their progress and achievements is also proof of their determination and their beliefs.
‘Faker-shaker’ may sound neat and maybe even poetic but it is a harsh reality. Being true to oneself is what counts! Life is filled with opposites but those opposites help to create the balance and equilibrium that are so desperately needed. Those opposites help us to find ourselves and help us to appreciate this journey we call life.
Don’t be the person who paints an image on social media of caring but otherwise turns a blind eye and a deaf ear. Don’t be the person who is dismissive who cannot comprehend the negative messages their actions are creating.
Lots of food for thought right? Maybe! All in all it is a reminder to keep your focus, it is a reminder to be true to oneself and it is a reminder that you need to be as real as possible so that the world doesn’t get to you!
Today I celebrate our India Pilgrimage 2019! A little over a year ago we were blessed to be in Mysore! One year ago we were blessed to be in Varanasi! One year ago we were blessed to take bath in the Ganges! As I have said time and time again our pilgrimage to India was the blessing of a lifetime.
Had anyone told us what 2020 would be like except our Sadguru we would have questioned it because a first visit to Mysore Ashrama is a visit that will be followed by other such visits!
No one I believe would have thought that Covid-19 would bring the world to its feet. No one would have thought the travel industry would be brought to a standstill. No one would have thought life as we knew it would be replaced by the ‘new normal’.
Our visit to India was a trip that will never be forgotten! We left Trinidad on September 23 and arrived in India on September 25. We arrived at the Ashrama in the evening after a 3 hour drive. It was scenic and provided a first hand view of India as it really is- a mixture of hustle, bustle, honking horns of taxis and rickshaws, well maintained roads and businesses of all types lining the highway.
The next morning we were invited to join our Datta family from Trinidad (they had arrived a few days before) on a trip to Mekadatu where His Holiness was born. Along the way we saw so many beautiful sights- fields of flowers in full bloom, rice paddies well cultivated and maintained by hard working farmers, a buzz of activity in the marketplace, school children going to school and people in general going about their daily activities with pride and a sense of duty.
Our arrival at the temple where Jayalakshmi Maa stayed was peaceful and tranquil. The humility and the love of the people there is something which will always be with us. One thing that stood out was the peacefulness of the monkey who freely moved from tree to tree.
Had anyone told us that we would be crossing the river in a basket we might have doubted. With the water higher than it usually was, it was certainly an experience and an experience that was guided by SadGuru. There was no time to think of being afraid of anything and the peace and serenity that was with us was incomparable. The sound of the water as it moved, the monkey that moved freely, the small Hanuman temple where we were able to pay our respects and receive Darshan- all memories we will cherish!
We were fortunate to spend the night in Jayalakshmi Puram which is very sacred grounds and has a lot of spiritual significance for all Datta devotees. This journey allowed us to get a valuable understanding of the life of His Holiness and His parents, Sri Jayalakshmi Maa and Sri Narahari Teerthan Swamiji. The next morning we got the opportunity to walk through the village where His Holiness lived in His childhood days and in the afternoon we were able to visit Sri Jayalakshmi Nilayam. Our last stop before returning to Ashrama was Sogala- very sacred grounds surrounded by lush green grass and beautiful well maintained surroundings.
Our return to Ashrama occurred with us finding the Ashrama with a buzz of activity with Navatri preparations well underway. Experiencing Navatri in the Ashrama is beyond description.
It meant seeing the ladies busy sweeping from early morning, doing beautiful rangolis, looking at the ladies who led the procession each day dressed in the colour for the day with the kalasas on their heads, the dancers and singers moving in unison and then those strategically positioned at the front of the chariot carrying His Holiness and Sri BalaSwamiji. It was in every sense truly festive, celebratory and filled with energy.
It also meant seeing His Holiness beautifully dressed every morning on the chariot to Nada Mantapa where the devis would be aartied and gifted, Puja would be conducted and discourse would be given. It also meant bhajans from visiting groups who would have the privilege of performing while His Holiness conducted Puja.
Following the morning programme it meant being able to go upstairs to take the Darshan of the Divine Mother. Each day was a blessing! Following Navratri we were able to visit different parts of the Ashrama and nearby places like the Market, the temples at Chamundi Hills and the shopping area just to name a few. Added to this Divali was a memorable occasion that will always be with us.
Our journey from Mysore took us to Bangalore where the peacefulness, the divinity and the overall atmosphere reminded us of the Ashrama we had earlier left in Mysore. Undoubtedly the divinity, the positivity, the energy- everything provided insight on the spirituality and divinity of these spiritual grounds.
The next day we travelled to Varanasi, a city steeped in history and religion. Different yes, but the walk to the Shivala Ghat the next morning where we took bath in the Ganges was an experience we would never forget. The beauty of the sun over the Ganges is something we also will never forget. The steps that made it easier to step into the water were quite helpful too. It was not just about being in Varanasi but it was about being in Varanasi with His Holiness our Sadguru and with His Holiness Sri Bala Swamiji for the consecration of the Varanasi temple and for the Maha Ati Rudra Yagna. With guidance from both we were able to see holy sites and maximize the extent of our travels! Every day brought something new that was reflected in various ways! Every day provided something to treasure! The experience will always stay with us! It meant time in the presence of divinity, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Vishalakshi Devi temple, visiting the Kedarnath temple and several other sacred places throughout the nearby areas.
If you would like to read more about our 2019 India Pilgrimage please click on the links below. Please also click on the links to the videos above and do also take the time to view the photos that have been included.
In this post I am Celebrating Life’s Lessons! Regardless of how many times your brain may feel saturated, at some point something happens that shows you it isn’t but you have time to take in more.
Every day is a new one and every day brings a new dawn. Let that be your hope that you are not alone! Your Master, whatever name He is called by, is always with you, guiding and protecting you.
Every now and again it may happen and you might be flooded with something unexpected! Every now and again someone may show you something you lost sight of or something to snap you out of the illusion you have been living in. Many may think they have the right to judge but in truth and in fact they don’t. That is a fact that remains whether people want to hear it or not.
Friendship and love should never be mixed with envy. Friendship and love should never be synonymous with being selfish. Friendship and love should never be negative. Friendship and love should never be toxic.
Always give yourself the best chance possible! Always learn not to expect anything from anyone but always focus on being you and focus on being the best you that there is! I made a decision a long time ago that giving up or quitting is not an option at least not for me. Those who know me would know why! Those who don’t can question it but they may never understand why.
Like you I have had my fair share of experiences and I continue to have them day after day. Don’t let life break you and don’t let it trick you into living an illusion or getting entangled in one! Don’t let circumstances get the better of you!
Being in pain doesn’t mean you are justified in causing someone else pain. Nothing justifies being jealous of someone so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for what you have or what you deserve.
Think of every cold shoulder you got, every harsh word you have received, every tear you shed and every ounce of pain you experienced! Thank God you did not let it define you! Thank God you are where you are and Thank God you are existing!
After you do this I urge you to take the time to do the following: 1. Celebrate every challenge you have overcome!
2. Celebrate every time you have turned a frown upside down.
3. Celebrate every negative you have walked away from.
4. Celebrate every negative you have turned into a positive.
5. Celebrate every toxic situation you have walked away from.
6. Celebrate the fact that you have removed every toxic person who is no longer in your life or you are in the process of doing exactly that.
7. Celebrate every opportunity you have grabbed and made the most out of.
8. Celebrate every genuine person who has become a part of your life.
9. Celebrate every time you have done something for you.
10. Celebrate your growth.
11. Celebrate your strength!
12. As you focus on your healing celebrate how far you have come on your journey.
13. Celebrate the success and happiness of others.
14. Celebrate every day you survived.
15. Celebrate every today and every tomorrow you are yet to see.
Can anyone walk in your shoes or feel your pain? Truth be told and in all honesty, they cannot! Life is full of experiences and you can agree, that more often than not, we walk forward, not the other way around. It may be baby steps but it is still a step forward. Look at a flame- which direction does it go in? Upward, right?
Being real and being practical is always important! Do not let anyone make you think otherwise.
Do not expect that what we want is what we will get. We get what we deserve and sometimes what we do not. Every time someone says something harsh to you, they are ignorant of the pain you feel or the hurt it causes. Clearly they know nothing about treating others as they want to be treated and it is not your loss. Instead it’s theirs!
I am not lecturing but always be proud of your achievements and your sacrifice. Be proud of the time you put in and the obstacles you overcame. Be proud of the fact that you had the courage to face it!
Photo Credit: Pinterest
If you need help please use what I call the scissors of life. According to this method it means cut out negative people and cut out negatives in all form and fashions.
Say for example people throw negatives your way- it does not mean you return it. It means keep your faith and don’t give up. Trust that God is always with you and will help you through every situation.
Remember it is not tit for tat. That doesn’t work. Hold firm to your beliefs and be unwavering in your stance.
No matter how small your success may be to you, celebrate it. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Celebrate all the effort and energy you put in to accomplish what you have and know it will in essence make you stronger and it will make you a better person.
As I always urge, it is yours for the taking! Be your best friend and do not be your worst enemy. Do what is right though it may not always be easy! Make today count and celebrate every moment!
Celebrate today! Why should you do this everyday? For starters you should celebrate it today because you are alive and you are reading this! Consider too it is a new week, new month and look to each new day with hope and faith that it brings you one step closer to your goal.
Photo Credit: SGS Posts- Simple Good Sayings 29 Aug. 2019
For those who may think that there is nothing to celebrate, let us focus on what there is to celebrate- life, the ability to make decisions for ourselves, the ability to chart our individual journey, the ability to see things for what they are.
As we celebrate today let us focus primarily on now and let us focus primarily on you. What should you be happy about? Let’s see:
• You just opted to make some time for yourself.
• You didn’t get to start worrying about tomorrow
Photo Credit: SGS Posts- Simple Good Sayings 30 Aug. 2019
The truth is both are important. Firstly you should always make time for yourself as it is a key component of loving yourself. Neglecting yourself means losing out on an opportunity to have the things you need to grow and to be a better you. For example it is what you need for your peace of mind. Have you ever observed what happens to something when you neglect it? Now ask yourself this: What will happen if you neglect yourself? Let the answers you come up with be enough to encourage you to make time for you! Do the things you love, do the things you want to do but even more so, do the things you need to do.
Secondly, why worry about tomorrow when tomorrow is promised to no one? For those who can recall these are three things I always urge you to do:
Always focus on what you are sure about and that will help you deal with each situation. It will in essence help all the pieces fall into place. In short, it will help you to get clarity and figure out how to move forward.
Always give your best. When you give your best there is no room for self doubt. It will help you deal with past actions and it will also help you move forward.
Keep your faith and your belief. Accept that you are unique and you are specially made. If you have no control over situations worrying can only serve to do negatives- you overthink, you increase your blood pressure, you make rash decisions, you may lose your ability to analyze and assess. If you believe in God and in His greatness how can you not trust Him to set your situation right? Once this is done, breathe and celebrate.
What is there to celebrate? There is a lot. Your life, your family, your friends, your experiences, your successes, your challenges, your disappointments, the people who don’t like you, the money in your pocket (no matter how little it is), the hardships you faced, the struggles you have overcome.
With some asking why you should celebrate negatives like challenges, disappointments and some of the other things I have mentioned, I will gladly explain. Challenges and disappointments make you stronger and they help to develop your drive and your determination. It fuels you to persevere and helps you assess whether it is really worth it. By that time you realize how much you want it.
Photo Credit: SGS Posts- Simple Good Sayings 28 Aug. 2019
Celebrating people who don’t like you is not something you should invest a lot of time in. What it means is that you should realize that people who don’t like you either inspire you to work harder or they are not meant to be in your life. That’s where the ‘scissors of life’ concept comes in. Cut out the unnecessary baggage and the unnecessary people.
Agreeably too we can agree that not everything can be celebrated and I maintain that no one can tell you how to feel unless they are in your shoes. Some circumstances are very different and change us forever. I would never ask you to celebrate death but I would ask you to celebrate life and celebrate each moment you share and have shared with your loved ones. Let that be your comfort and let it help you smile.
Don’t give up!
Don’t ever think you are alone because you are not!
Never limit yourself but challenge yourself!
Make every moment count!
Live without regrets!
Use these pointers everyday! Let it help you be a better you and let it help you manage the challenges each day brings.
In this post I am not professing to have the solution but it is my sincere hope that the information shared here will be of help to someone.
Depression is a reality many face. It is also a reality many suffer silently from. It is not something to laugh at or frown upon but it is real and it is something that should encourage us to help especially if we really care.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around the world over 300 million people suffer from depression. To some it may be a harsh reality but it is a stark truth many face and need help with overcoming. It affects the quality of life, the ability to function and the ability to be the best one can be.
Depression can be the result of many causes. Key among them are traumatic experiences and a feeling of loneliness. The question that arises is, how do we help someone who is depressed?
Be there for that person
Remind him or her that there is a lot to live for. Give them practical examples (e.g. family, things to try that they always wanted to do)
Encourage that person to eat, eat on time, eat balanced meals and do their best to be physically active
Make that person laugh
Keep lines of communication open and do your best to always be there for them
Listen and don’t be dismissive
Encourage them to go out and be in the company of those they love (e.g. mall, lunch/dinner, movies, shopping, grab a snack, watch a sunset or go to the beach)
Encourage them to listen to music
I am urging you to do this and make a conscious effort to help someone who is depressed because they deserve the help they need. It is heartbreaking to see those you love and care about hurting but what is even more heartbreaking is being helpless. Caring is a ticket to empowering yourself and empowering someone who is depressed.
Make every minute count!
Make every smile help that person walk the extra mile!
Help that person survive! Let that person remember they are alive and deserve the best quality of life possible!